RVA in Haiti: New experience for longtime volunteer

FERMATHE, Haiti – For ten years, Richmonder Dr. Lerla Joseph, an internal medicine doctor, has been volunteering in Haiti. She had never been able to make it to this special place — until now.

“I’m happy I am finally here and I’m happy we have such a large team, because they can tell about what we are doing here,” said Joseph.

In our last report, 8News told you about Wings of Hope, one of the only safe havens in Haiti for orphans with a disability. There are 31 kids and young adults here, not nearly enough room for many others out there — with no place to call home and no families to count on.

“Some of the time some of them they have parents who don’t want to deal with them, either they will drop them at the hospital or leave them on the street and someone who knows us say do you have the space, and we say yes,” explained Jacky Asse.

But in October, the orphanage will be able to take in even more children. They’ll be moving into a new, bigger facility with a trade school.

The walls here paint a picture of many volunteers who’ve visited. The group from Richmond is now a part of that storyline. And, a repeat volunteer from Charlotte, N.C. believes that when new volunteers leave, that’s the beginning of a new chapter.

“They go home and they carry a piece of Haiti with them everywhere that they go,” said Michael Roden. “That’s our goal. To remember the impact that the people at Wings had on you while you are visiting, and hopefully you go home, share that love with everybody you meet and they can come back with an even bigger group next time.”

Over the years, Joseph has brought about 150 volunteers to Haiti. Some in this most recent group say that they are determined to come back and volunteer at Wings of Hope.

A week flies by quickly and on Friday 8News will have one last story from Haiti.

Follow Ava-joye Burnetts adventures on social media using #RVAinHaiti.

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