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My experience of Haiti and its people made me realize that I am at once thankful and challenged to live in this country of plenty. Thankful for material blessings, more aware than ever of my need to share them, and challenged by its comforts that despite their allure, I would have the wisdom to seek peace and fulfillment.In our culture, it is easy to become distracted by things. We want a new pair of boots, a nicer dining room table, a European vacation. We take for granted what we already have — our home, our health, our freedom. Being in Haiti filled me with an overwhelming sense of humility. Everywhere I looked, I saw people with none of the things I had, yet they seemed happier and more fulfilled than I am or the people whom I know. Children in cute plaid uniforms grinned from ear to ear, filled with joy to receive a simple bag filled with pens, pencils and a single notebook. I try as hard as I can to hold on to that feeling, to know that it is not the possessions I own or the number on my bank statement that define who I am; it is the person I am inside that matters. The people I encountered in Haiti taught me that lesson and it’s one I won’t soon forget.

By Julie Roche