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Maturing in Haiti

Billy Horwitz is a 20 year old US citizen who joined IDV in Haiti from February to June 2011. He was just 18 when he arrived in Port au Prince.

During his time in Haiti, Billy managed one of our largest construction projects and was recognised for his work with an award from Youth Noise. We asked Billy a couple of questions about his time in Haiti with IDV.


 What did you expect from volunteering?  

I wanted to volunteer because I wanted to experience the world and gain insight, maturity and wisdom, but I wasn't really sure what to expect once I actually got to Haiti. I guess I thought it would feel like “work”.

Actually, working with IDV was a lot more fun than I would have expected. I thought that we would be solely dedicated to our tasks but in actuality there was time to explore the culture and enjoy the visit.

What is your clearest memory from Haiti?

That would be difficult to say because I spent a total five months with IDV. I would have to say that building classrooms at the Foyer d'Orelph Orphanage was a big deal. No one image sticks out but thinking about all this is making me kind of nostalgic.

Do you think volunteering has impacted you in the long term?

It is hard for me to tell what is different about me as it was a slow transition. I think other people might notice the change more than me. However, what I have noticed is that I am more focused, friendly, and self-aware. I am more responsible and have more initiative.

Being in Haiti taught me the joy of hard work and devoting yourself fully to the task at hand and slowly accomplishing that task. I also feel that I understand the world a little better and know what I want to do in my life more than I did before. This was a huge change to take place in just five months.

You can read more of Billy's reflections on Haiti in his interview with Youth Noise (now called