Omprakash is proud to call itself the supporter of so many diverse and talented volunteers. Contributing a voice uniquely her own to the Omprakash network is Sahadia Auguste, a passionate and thoughtful woman from the US.
Auguste graduated from Florida State University with a double-BA in International Affairs and Political Science and an active engagement with international philanthropy. Hungry with questions about her family’s homeland of Haiti, Auguste connected with Omprakash and headed off to her current volunteer position with Haiti Communitere in the capital city Port-au-Prince.
Hait Communitere is an eco-friendly community development network with the goal of inter-connectivity among grassroot networks in and around Port-au-Prince. Auguste is providing consultation services, supplemental education courses, and extracurricular activities for students and orphans in several different sections of Port-Au-Prince.
Auguste plans to create a short film to document and share her experience in Port-au-Prince upon her return. Please enjoy our recent interview with Auguste.
Omprakash (Omp): You mention that you have questions about Haiti. What are they? Why did you choose Haiti as your locale to volunteer?
Sahadia Auguste (SA): Haiti is a mystery. Almost everything I’ve heard [about] Haiti described it in a negative context, but for some reason, this only increased my interest on the topic. I just really wanted to understand why so many people seemed to think so negatively about the country my family was from. I love my family, the food, the music and I couldn’t comprehend how all of this could be a bad thing. I [wanted] to familiarize myself with Haitian lifestyle, beliefs, daily occurrences. I chose Haiti because this is where my roots lie. I decided to follow my interests and could not be happier; it is my first time here and things seem to be falling into place for me.
Omp: What is your favorite memory of volunteering?
SA: So far, my favorite memory would be traveling to Thomasaint, Haiti to assist one of the orphanages in moving to another location. The area was absolutely beautiful with stunning old age architecture, a mountainous terrain and fresh, cool air. The day consisted of back-breaking labor; we were tasked with breaking down all of the bunk beds, classroom benches, furniture, and clothing. We carried each item down two very steep hills to load [it all] into the back of a school bus. I have videos and photos to commemorate the operation. The children made it all worthwhile - their smiles and efforts are heart-warming, no matter how many times you see it. We loved laughing with them [and] working for them.
Omp: What or who inspires you to volunteer?
SA: I began volunteering with the International Nurses for Health Foundation in the summer of 2006. Since then, I have always been drawn to the prospect of involvement in international communities. Volunteering came to be my way in for this kind of involvement. My extensive travels given me the sense of a global community; by that I mean, I like to think of myself as a world citizen. Now, I volunteer to give back to my community--my global community--not that I feel obligated to, [but] only because I’ve realized the need for it. I definitely find that the benefits outweigh the [costs].
Stay in touch with Auguste during and after her stay in Haiti. Read her stories and find out how you can get involved with Haiti Communitere and other great organizations. Want to be featured on the Omprakash blog? Register as a volunteer at www.omprakash.org.