Junior Jacob Fierman Lends A Helping Hand In Haiti Junior Jacob Fierman Lends A Helping Hand In Haiti
  BY JACOB FIERMAN Boarding a 30-person plane, I prepared for an experience like no other as my flight headed to Haiti. In America,... Junior Jacob Fierman Lends A Helping Hand In Haiti


Junior Jacob Fierman helps move books into a library in Haiti. Fierman held a book drive and collected hundreds of books to donate to Haitian children.


Boarding a 30-person plane, I prepared for an experience like no other as my flight headed to Haiti. In America, people hear all about Haiti on television and see pictures of the country in the news, however there is nothing like seeing it up close in person. Before my journey, I had no idea what to expect, as my expectations were based solely off of what I had read about or seen on television.

Earlier in the school year, I collected about 1,400 books for kindergarten through twelfth grade Haitian kids who lived in poverty. The books were collected through a drive sponsored by NHS. Through generous donations both in and out of school, I was able to donate these books to a Haitian library that was created by a church. The books were sent over by cargo ship.

Once I arrived in Haiti, I took a car from the airport to my hotel. In the short drive to the hotel, I witnessed what Haiti truly is like. Driving on a road that was composed mostly of broken asphalt and dirt, the ride was anything but smooth. Throughout the streets were hundreds of people, selling items ranging from beds to soccer jerseys. The people were literally pushing their belongings in carts as they wandered the streets, looking for people to buy their merchandise. Making my way through the busy streets, I soon arrived at my hotel. I checked in and put my stuff down and headed straight to the library. The trip to the library was quick because it was only a couple of streets over but even in that short period of time the many faces of desperate men, women, and kids ran through my mind as I passed them by.

Once I arrived at the library, I was greeted by the Archbishop of the church who gave me a firm handshake and told me how much he appreciated my donations. The library was brand new. Throughout the room there were 8 computers, a television and book shelves that were ready to be filled with donations. I helped place the books on the shelves and met other people who commended me on my work. I was even interviewed for a Haitian news station. All of this was an incredible feeling because very rarely do people get to be recognized for their work by such important members of a community.

As I left the library, it was time to go back to the hotel. On my way back again I noticed people, some carrying water in Clorox jugs with the lid cut off, some mothers bathing kids, and some just plain begging for money. As I sat in a room that was virtually empty, it gave me a lot of time to reflect on the country I was in. It was so different from America, the people, the businesses, even the food, which tasted very good. That night I ate at a popular restaurant and tried as many new dishes as possible. That alone was an experience in itself because of the many different flavors that came from the unique dishes. After a long day full of traveling and organizing, I immediately fell asleep when I returned to my room that night.

The next day I woke up and it was time to go back to the airport. I said goodbye to various people that I met along the way and boarded the plane to head back to Miami. As the 30-seater plane took off, it felt as if I was leaving a completely different world. In Haiti everything is more tightly knit, the people are all friendly, and everyone has a role that they play in society. Though to me such an experience was completely brand new, to the many people who live there, this was part of their everyday lives.

Once I got back to Miami I began to reminisce on my trip. Before I went, all I knew about Haiti was that it has been devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes. Yet I learned that Haiti is a place that has been fighting for many years as it struggles to get by on a daily basis. Haiti is a place like no other, because even though it is constantly being held down, just like the people, it never gives up. Everyone works hard for a living and they do what it takes to get by, and that alone taught me some very valuable lessons. My experience in Haiti made me realize how fortunate I was and how the people of Haiti need everything they can get, whether it be books, toiletries, or even tools. My trip to Haiti made me realize that the country is so different from everywhere else in the world, and in a way, that’s what makes Haiti so special.