|Sandra and fiance Abdias|
Hometown: I grew up in Warrenton, VA. But I've been around the Beverly, MA, area since college and that has felt like home for the past few years.
Education: Bachelors degrees in Biblical Studies and French from Gordon College. Master of Social Work from Salem State University.
Family: My parents, sister (Beka) and extended family are all in Virginia and Maryland. My fiance, Abdias, and his family are in Haiti. My church family is in the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Hobbies: I used to knit and I brought knitting supplies with me to Haiti to try and get back into it. I like a good story to read or listen to. My mom gave me a copy of Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. It takes place in Haiti in the 18th century. I started it a long time ago but I'm just now getting into it. Also, the past four months I was doing (or attempting - haha!) CrossFit where I was living in Beverly. Really tough, but really kicked me into shape!
How did you first get involved with PID?
I always had hesitations about short-term service trips, but my friend from Gordon convinced me to volunteer on a service trip in May of 2010. Gale was there at the same time as our team, and I was sold on their model of partnership and their transparency as a service organization. A few years after that, I ended up interning for about 11 months for PID in Haiti.
What were you doing before you became the field director?
I just finished my MSW degree at Salem State University at the end of August. It was a long ride, but I learned a lot. I also worked as a case manager for a social service organization, which taught me a lot about what low income families face in the US.
Why did you decide to come on board full-time with PID, and what are you most excited about in your new role?
If you've ever been to PID in Haiti, or spent any length of time there, you know it’s pretty easy to fall in love with the people and their mentality and resilience. The work PID does can get complicated and there are some very hard aspects (at least it seemed to me as an intern), but I see the fruit of their commitment and I know it is all really, really worth it! I am most excited about working with the same people and lots of new staff as well. I was there for the better part of a year for my internship, so I know a lot of the people who work there. The laughter among staff and the culture of the clinic is pretty irresistible. I know that the relational aspect of how Haitians approach work will make the harder parts of the job worth it.
You're now about a week in to your new position. What has surprised and/or challenged you so far?
So far so good! The hardest part and most surprising part has been driving here; it takes all my concentration and I feel like the roads are a maze. But it hasn't been as hard as I've though.