Hazard woman shares what Haiti was like as protests broke out

Published: Jul. 29, 2018 at 2:03 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WYMT first told you about Hannah Claussen

a Perry County native, she was doing mission work in Haiti as protests broke out. On July 19 she was able to safely return home. Claussen has been doing mission work for many years. In 2012 a mission trip to Haiti sparked a passion for the country.

"My heart just absolutely fell in love with the people there," said Claussen. "It kind of just makes you really think, 'wow we have it so easy here in America.'"

This summer Claussen wanted to return back to Haiti through an internship program with Children's Lifeline.

"Something was just calling me back to Haiti and I knew it was God and he was calling me back there," said Claussen.

She spent her days doing various work, she helped kids of all ages have better lives. Not long into her trip, protests broke out across the country.

"All of a sudden our driver, who's Haitian, came down and said we need to leave immediately and we really didn't know what was going on," said Claussen. "He said 'get in the truck we need to go ASAP.'"

The protests were caused by high gas prices. Many people living in the area make only $2 a day. Claussen recalled her drive back to the compound she was staying in.

"We had passed a gas station and we started to see things stir up and happen," said Claussen. "If it was a few minutes later we probably would have been stuck. I definitely just kind of put my faith in God and just said 'well I'm here for a reason and this happens for a reason.'"

Claussen was staying in the small town of La Digue, about 10 minutes away from Black Top, an area where protests were breaking out.

"There were things going on at the Black Top I had heard," said Claussen. "It was a little rowdy at night, you could hear some things but it usually kept pretty quiet."

Seeing a break in the protests about a week later, Hannah says the decision was made to send the group back to the United States.

"Being back it was kind of a bittersweet feeling, my heart is in Haiti and I would have loved to been there longer," said Claussen.

She said the mission work people do in Haiti is crucial to the area.

"There are so many people there that are just unhappy with what's going on and my heart just goes out to them because they don't want to go through this. They have families, they have little kids, they don't want their kids to grow up in this kind of environment," said Claussen.

She hopes continuing to do mission work in the area leads to a brighter future. Claussen says she is grateful for everyone who reached out to her family while she was in Haiti who prayed and hoped for her safe return.