Wednesday, March 26, 2014

#psuaged16: Olivia Murphy-Sweet's Spring Break in Haiti

Olivia Murphy-Sweet, 2016 Student Teacher 
Penn State was represented all over the world during the week of spring break this year. Many Agriculture and Extension Education majors spent their break helping others, learning about agriculture and being a positive agent of change in a variety of places. Olivia Murphy-Sweet (@OSweetMurph) was one of those students. Olivia, a member of the 2016 student teaching co-hort (#psuaged16) spent her spring break in Haiti with the Project Haiti Club. She helped out at an orphanage in Hinche, and did work at a mission house and throughout the community.

The orphanage was home to over 250 children who were without places to live and without parents. Olivia and the other Penn State students she traveled with, spent time with the children playing soccer, basketball, cards and so much more! The trip was also a great educational experience for Olivia. She got to spend time walking through the local markets in Hinche and got to visit the oldest Catholic church in the western hemisphere.
Olivia spent time working at an orphanage
in Haiti

When they were not working at the orphanage, Olivia and her fellow team members went to the neighboring village of Jacsonville. While there, they worked to help build a mission house and clinic. Olivia stated, “I did jobs such as moving over 100 logs for the clinic, moving rocks to help build a foundation for a cement building, helping with the garden in a tree nursery, and painted inside the mission house. It was nice to help out in the little ways that I could!”

Her greatest take away from the trip was the interaction with the people there and listening to what they had to say. One of the most memorable moments was when the leader of the Mission work in Jacsonville told her “You have to plan your dreams and then fight for them. The only one in your ways is yourself.”  Olivia said this quote and the many experiences she had on the trip will benefit her future in agriculture education because it “made me more aware of what is going on in the world, helped me to realize how important international agriculture is, made me think about more than just myself and pushed me to be that positive agent of change!”

While the trip presented some challenges like not being able to shower for a week and running into more rats and tarantulas then she had planned on, Olivia would do it all again in a heartbeat and urges students to take any opportunities they get to travel abroad. She said “I believe that everyone needs to experience that people can survive without technology and live on less. It’s great to see a world that is totally different from your own. The life lessons you learn on these trips are countless and unforgettable.” 

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

Laura Metrick
Student Blogger
2015 Student Teacher

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