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Kansas Students Help Rebuild Haiti

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two years after a devastating earthquake Haiti continues to rebuild. Thousands of volunteers make those efforts possible.

A group of students from Baker University helps with those efforts. Eleven students and an assistant professor packed their bags and spent half of their winter break in Haiti. Their two main goals were to assist and empower.

"It is a very strong and proud culture, but lacking resources," said Asst. professor Dr. Jacob Bucher. "My goal was to be a resource."

Dr. Jacob Bucher accomplished that goal thanks to senior Molly Schmeidler and ten of her fellow students.

"Every one of us on trip gained from experience," Molly Schmeidler said.

Dr. Bucher made sure it was a hands on experience helpingĀ  people in the devastated country. Even though relief aid and efforts continue, Dr. Bucher wanted his students to do something meaningful.

"I wanted them to give of themselves," Dr. Bucher said.

One of their projects was digging and pouring the foundation for a new classroom. They also taught an English class.

"I wanted them to learn the culture bu experiencing it, not seeing it and being a tourist," Dr. Bucher said.

The only exception was Molly's video camera. She wanted to capture as much as she could. She taped events like a parade, her fellow students teaching and how Haitians remembered the two year anniversary of the earthquake.

"We had ceremony outside of our compound with some people from the village, it was quick, a little ceremony but it was powerful," Dr Bucher said.

Haiti is far from the way it was before the earthquake but Dr. Bucher says it's getting there. Things are moving forward the way the Haitians want, with a helping hand and not a handout. Bucher says the country will eventually come back better than ever and most of the credit goes to the Haitians themselves.

Dr. Bucher says two weeks was a little long, but it was a success. he hopes to take students on similar trips in the future.

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