Haitians is nothing new for Versailles woman
children living in poverty in Haiti is in Aimee Cornetts
blood. She has been following in her fathers footsteps since
her first trip in the summer of 1998 to the Children Training
and Nutrition Center in Gonaives. Her father, Harry Lyness, Bright,
has been going on mission trips to Haiti since 1980.
According to Cornett, she started the trip with a lot of picture
knowledge from her fathers previous trips. But, she
soon learned that there was so much more that the pictures did
You dont hear the noises from the taxis beeping their
horns continuously., Creole music blaring from the streets or
the roosters crowing and the dogs barking at all hours of the
day, she said. You also dont get the smells
of burning trash and charcoal.
But, the most important thing that pictures cant give
you is the love in the eyes of the kids at the home, their sweet
smiles, contagious laughter, and their warm hugs, she continued.
This past November, Cornett again returned to Haiti to the childrens
home bringing her childhood friend, Stacey Pruitt, an optometrist
in Indianapolis. The children greeted the group with songs, hugs
and kisses. They are so sincere and thoughtful, said
Cornett. You cant help but hold on to every single
one of them.
Cornett had tried to prepare her friend on the conditions of Haiti.
I didnt know if she would be able to handle seeing
all the poverty and despair with her own eyes, she said.
But she soon learned that her fears were unfounded. As dinner
time came around, Cornett looked for Dr. Pruitt and found her
with a child in each arm and more surrounding her. Aimee,
I cant get away, said Dr. Pruitt. I just want
to love on them.
Several days were spent in Gonaives and the surrounding towns
providing eye exams to the residents. They learned that many would
walk several miles just to see the doctor. I was reminded
how fortunate we are in America to have medical services available,
Cornett told The Versailles Republican.
According to Cornett, there are 70 children at the Children Training
and Nutrition Center. Some of the children have parents, but others
only have one or even none. She said the children cannot be supported
by their family and are not considered for adoption.
Many of the children attend the local school or the vocational
training school to learn a trade or skills that can be used in
Cornett noted that the school was not damaged by the earthquakes
in January. But donations are used to address the immediate needs
of the children. Hearts and Hands for Haiti in Raleigh, North
Carolina partner with other organizations to distribute donations
to the childrens home. You can visit www.heartsandhandsforhaiti.org
for more information.
The Cornett family attend the Tyson United Methodist Church in
Versailles where the youth group sponsors Welly and Darline, two
of the children from the home. Each return trip to Gonaives gives
Cornett an opportunity to catch up with them .
Cornett plans to continue to visit Haiti each year. Plans are
in the works to take some of the older members of the youth group
on a mission trip to visit the school and the children they sponsor.
Aimee lives in Versailles with her husband, Jeff, and their three
children, Jackson, 9, Jay, 7, and Lydia, 4.
Despite enduring several hurricanes and earthquakes, the
people of Haiti have continued to smile and have hope. The Haitian
people have nothing compared to us, said Cornett. They
live in grass huts on dirt floors. They dont eat three or
four meals a day. But, you cant deny the hope you see in
Pictured from left are Dr. Stacey Pruitt,
Aimee Cornett and Jessica, a girl from the training center
in Haiti. Pruitt and Cornett traveled to Haiti to bring
help and hope to the Children's Training and Nutrition Center
in Gonaives, Haiti, where Cornett has been involved in an
on-going mission project for several years.