Name: Melaney Brown
School: University of New Hampshire
Class year: 2017
When and how did you get involved with YSI? I got involved in YSI in 2015 after I saw a post about YSI on Facebook and went to an information session.
Which expeditions have you gone on?
I went on the January expedition in 2016 for one week, and again in 2017 for two weeks.
What is your current position? Can you describe your main responsibilities?
I was a university leader at UNH and helped my two co-leaders recruit and educate new advocates. In Haiti, I was a community development leader.
What is your favorite memory from your trip(s) to Haiti?
One of my favorite memories from my trips to Haiti involves the Benoit family. Emily and I had met their daughter, Malica, earlier in the week and, with the help of Chris, we confirmed that she had a heart murmur. We had been working with the family to try and get Malica to the doctor to find out what exactly was wrong with her heart. One day, we showed up to their house to tell them that we had found a doctor to see their daughter. Before we had even told them anything, Malica’s dad welcomed Emily and I with hugs and praise. Once we told them we could take Malica to the doctor, they showered us with thank yous and blessings. It’s moments and memories like these that remind me why YSI’s work is so important and worth every ounce of energy our advocates and leaders put into the organization.
Why did you choose to become more involved with YSI?
After the first time I went to Haiti and Kevin offered me a leadership position, I did not hesitate to say yes. My first expedition was so amazing and life-changing that I couldn’t wait to recruit more people and give them the opportunity to experience such a beautiful country and help the amazing people in the Haitian community.
What is your biggest takeaway from the experiences that you have had with YSI?
My biggest takeaway from my time with YSI is happiness. Day after day, it surprises me how happy everyone in Haiti is, despite their economic hardship. It’s one of the things I always bring up to people when they ask me about my trips to Haiti. After seeing how happy everyone is in Haiti, despite how little they have, it amazes me that anyone in the United States could be unhappy. If only everyone in the world could have the happiness that exists in Haiti.