Loras students prep for Haiti service trip - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Loras students prep for Haiti service trip

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A group of students in Dubuque have been preparing for months to make the trip to Haiti. The latest disaster has the group anticipating whether their trip is still possible. It's a trip has been a tradition at Loras College for years.

Senior Michele Gelaude has been preparing for a service trip to Haiti for almost four months.

"I've been fundraising for this trip we were supposed to fundraise. And I've tried to tell people about Haiti but now it's one of those things were people are coming to me saying 'I know all this about Haiti and it's not because of me it's because all the news coverage,'" said Gelaude.

After Tuesday's earthquake, Gelaude has been tuned to the news. She and about nine students are taking the trip to Haiti at the end of the month. This is video from two years ago. Students typically spend a week on the campus of Louventure Cleary School just outside of Port-au-Prince.

"The truth is right now we're actually ascertaining whether the students can actually be of help down there. Obviously if they can still be of service then we'll send them down. The Haitian Project is still working to see whether the roads are clear whether we can get in and out of Haiti. Whether our group can provide the assistance they are looking for," said Dave McDermott, Peace and Justice Coordinator at Loras College.

McDermott has traveled down to Haiti before. He says the images in the news are heartbreaking.

"They all remind you of your time that you spend there. Most of the building that you see in Haiti are exactly like you see, concrete, cinder block so when they crumble you just try to imagine everything that you saw and how it would effect the houses, the buildings. It's just devastating to watching," said McDermott.

Already the poorest country in western hemisphere. And an 80 percent unemployment rate.

"It makes everything complicated in an already complicated country," said McDermott.

But for those who've already been to Haiti, like McDermott, they can't help but remember the hope in people.

"The Haitians are a resilient group of people. No one deserves a natural disaster of this type. Really the only thing that they can do is hope that they can improve, work through this and try to rebuild Haiti," said McDermott.

The Loras group leaves for Haiti on January 24th. They are taking donations for their trip. If you'd like to donate items or money you can contact Loras College Campus Ministry at 563-588-7650.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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