The Lutheran World Federation is an organization whose focus is to provide aid to those who have been displaced by disaster. After the Haiti earthquake in 2015, the organization made it a goal to create a community that could eventually sustain itself. The "Model Village" in Gressier is the result of this goal. Sitting atop a large foothill near the coast, the village provides an example to other communities in the country that are still attempting to rebuild. The village is composed of 151 houses, each which has its own solar panel. The village also has a nursery, sparse library, community center, and playground. Board members lead the community and are voted into their positions by those living there. The criteria for living in the village is 1) having lost their home in the earthquake, 2) having a steady income, 3) having paid an initial fee, and 4) being willing to contribute to the community. The residents own their own house, which goes a long way in empowering the people and motivating them to keep up the community.
Before coming to the "Model Village," those chosen to live there received counseling in coping with trauma, as well as learning how to become a better community member. The ultimate goal is that, once Lutheran World Federation leave, the community will continue to function smoothly. Our class discussed the importance of teaching and providing knowledge, as opposed to being dependent on others. We were saddened to learn that the LWF will be discontinuing the "Model Village" this year due to a lack of funding. The sad truth is that donors like drama, and other crises around the world have received more media attention, and thus turning funds elsewhere. They do not foresee any building in the future (unless another crisis occurs).
Although we learned a great deal during our time at the village, we also had the chance to play and interact with the locals. Despite the heat, an international soccer match ensued, which the Luther team lost. Quinn also introduced them to American football and it was wonderful to watch the children discover a new sport. Some of the little girls also enjoyed posing for pictures and getting piggy-back rides from the students. Overall we were impressed by the organization and cleanliness of the village, as well as the friendliness of its people. For the two of us this was the best day of the trip so far.