WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In Washington the State Department is urging Americans not to travel to Haiti.
A Wilmington Woman who has a personal connection to the country is encouraging others to heed that warning.
Becky Graves has had ties to Haiti since 2012.
She’s a missionary with the organization, Haiti Awake, and has traveled to the country numerous times over the past decade.
An American nurse from New Hampshire and her young daughter are still missing.
Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter were offering medical care and education to Haitians when she was seized.
Conditions in Haiti have gotten increasingly unsafe over the past few years with high crime rates, kidnappings, civil unrest, and limited access to healthcare.
Steeve Derard, a Haitian citizen, who is visiting Southeastern North Carolina right now said Haiti has lots of beauty and culture.
“I’m 42. I’ve spent my entire life in Haiti. This is my country which is the place I love so much. One of my favorite things is hanging out with my friends. I love my community where I grew up,” Haiti Awake Ground Director, Steeve Derard, said.
With this being said, he thinks the travel advisory should remain in place for now.
“Haiti is not safe, truly. To be going to Haiti is not safe. Like, different other places n the world they are not safe. But this is where I live and if it’s not safe for me, it’s not safe for other people,” Derard said.
Becky Graves is the Executive Director of Haiti Awake and she couldn’t agree with Derard more.
“Despite all of the wonderful things about Haiti. Right now, Haiti is not a tourist destination. If a person does not need to be in Haiti for a legitimate reason, they really shouldn’t be there,” Graves said.
Graves said she will continue to visit Haiti in an effort to fulfill her personal commitment to the country. But she will do so with extreme caution.