December 07, 2015
A few months ago, I got an email from Alex Newbold at Every Mother Counts, a organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns that funds maternal health programs around the globe, which we've been partnering with recently on the Maman Je T'Aime tote. He asked me if I'd like to join them on a trip to celebrate the opening of a mid-wife clinic in rural Haiti that they had helped build. I was thrilled and immediately said, "Yes!" Then I had a second thought: the trip would mean so much more to me if I could bring my sister, Ann. She's been a nurse in labor & delivery for the past 25 years and I knew it would be a very special trip for her, and having her there would make it more so for me. I emailed them right back asking if I could bring my sis, and much to my delight, they responded promptly, "Of course." The trip was everything I hoped it would be and more. Below are a few of my favorite images. xocv Everywhere we went, I was struck by the beautiful women, most of them all (very impressively) carrying their goods balanced atop their heads. Wherever I travel, I'm always in love with the hand-painted signs. Haiti did not disappoint, I could do an entire coffee table book on them - and I loved that they were in French, like this one, the "I Love You Studio of Beauty." We were riding in a van at this point, but I still regret not stopping the vehicle to jump out and buy one of these striped tank tops. Again, just a hand-painted ad I was in love with (also loved the shadow of the guy in blue sitting underneath it). I had fun trying to read the Creole everywhere, too. If you sound it out, it's often French phonetically written out. After the blessing of the clinic ceremony, we hung out with the kids in the village of Cabestor, where it is located. We gave them some candy and this little cutie pie stuffed it in his breast pocket for later. The little girl in the middle with the handbag stole my heart, but all three are incredibly precious. The boy with that Guayabera shirt and little mesh undershirt?? Stop it. So handsome. This photo was taken outside the hospital in Hinche, which we'd just toured. I was watching the people go by and kept being stunned by the families piled on the motorcycles. The Pompidou barber shop was one of my favorite signs. Interestingly, someone commented on my Instagram post of this shot that these barber shop images are imported from Mali and other West African countries. I have no idea if this is true, but thought it an interesting concept. :/ The dudes of Haiti love them their motorbikes. Everywhere we went, we saw them pampering, washing, shining them up and then hanging out on them in groups. Little pink and green house on the way to Cabestor. I mean... Again, no words necessary. I love her so. This woman wanted her picture taken. A lot of the people had never seen an image of themselves, so we'd take the picture and then show them and we'd laugh together. I, of course, loved her little bag as well. The school girls getting ready to sing at the mass, where the clinic was given an opening blessing. My little friend with her crossbody. We locked eyes with one another and had a connection. A girl with her handbag. Chic. A beautiful little girl - mixing some good patterns. Back row - from L-R: My sister, Ann Gilligan, Jennie Joseph, Maria McManus, Cara Caskey, Christy Turlington Burns, Isabel Rose, Angie Barocas, Cyn Rossi. Front row: Simona Volpi, me, Christiane Lemieux, Clancy McCarty, Alex Newbold. Shop these CV items, with proceeds benefitting Every Mother Counts! To learn more about their amazing organization and the work that they're doing to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere, click here.