Vanessa Sweet is the first professional volunteer from América Solidaria U.S., who after a long and intense preparation and selection process, began her year of service on April 3 in the town of Boutin, Croix-des-Bouquets. There, she will be in charge of the third phase of the Cholera Project, which aims to improve the environmental sanitation/health and quality of life for the 2,000 plus people residing there. We remember that in 2011 these conditions generated more than 4,700 deaths, according to figures from the Haitian Ministry of Health.
Alongside the group in América Solidaria Haiti, the Pan-American Health Organization, the Haitian Ministry of Health, and local leaders as well as acting agents we seek to continue working to prevent the spread of cholera and other infectious diseases in rural areas most affected by the epidemic. In order to achieve this, the project is comprised of three areas of intervention: (i) nearby and safe access to drinking water, (ii) a reliable system for the disposal of excreta and waste and, (iii) a strong component of community education and training for the local leaders of Boutin.
Vanessa was born in the town of Lake Jackson, near one of the most populous cities in the United States, Houston, Texas. When she graduated high school, she continued her education at the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Texas- San Antonio, where she received her Bachelor of Science and Masters in Public Health.
It was a conversation that Vanessa had with her mentor, a Peace Corps volunteer, about her interest in signing up for an overseas volunteer position which ultimately led her to sign up for América Solidaria. Listening to all her stories, and the passion and emotion with which she remembered them, confirmed that regardless of the differences that each story may have, the impact and testimony that it has on each individual is clearly visible in the eyes of the whole world.
And this was precisely part of what Vanessa was looking for in América Solidaria. “An opportunity to share and be of service to others with my education and professional experience, and at the same time for there to be “another” ready to share with me what will allow me to learn and grow both professionally and spiritually speaking.”
“América Solidaria is a unique opportunity to learn from a different culture and share my talents and skills. I look back and think that today, after my studies and years of professional experience, this is when I can contribute the most and probably everything new I know and learn would be impossible to achieve while in the United States.”
If you want to follow Vanessa’s year of service as the first volunteer from America Solidaria U.S. in Haiti, we invite you to visit her blog at: http://thesweetestv.blogspot.com/