When Courtney traveled to Haiti from the US several years ago, she never expected to meet so many people that she would develop a lifelong connection with.
“I know an American family who used to live in Haiti and I went with them for the first time a few years ago.
“I met Pippin, who is now my godson, and his family in April of 2012 on the island of La Gonâve. Since then, I have made many other friends there and I return to Haiti every three months.”
Despite visiting often, Courtney admits that main barrier to maintaining these long-distance friendships is lack of communication.
“There is no mail service on the island of La Gonâve and not everyone has a cell phone including several of my friends there.
“The people who do have phones are not able to use them often because there is limited access to buying cellular minutes and service.”
The lack of communication services on this small island off the coast of Haiti makes keeping in touch difficult but Courtney does her best to overcome this by sending her friends small amounts of mobile recharge.
“This is why Ding has been so helpful for us,” she says.
“I usually try to communicate with my friends and family in Haiti at least once every week or two.”