Ryan Shiba takes life-changing trip to Haiti

(06-14-2011)

Article by Lace King

After ten days in Haiti, volunteering with a variety of service projects, Ryan Shiba, assistant director of Adams State Academic Instructional Technology Center, said his life will never be the same.

In May, Shiba traveled with nine other volunteers to feed, educate, nurse and care for ailing children of Jubilee Blanc, Haiti, as part of a faith-based mission. When fellow Adams State alumnus, Alex Toth '09, suggested the Shiba '05 accompany the group, Shiba said he could not come up with a reason to stay home. "I feel we are called to help our brothers and sisters in need, whether locally or around the world."

Pastor Greg Johnson, of the Living Water Bible Fellowship Church in Alamosa, organized the group which included Alamosa community members Cheryl and Dennis O'Dowd, Rita Carlucci, and Stacy Bervig teamed up with Pastor Wayne Kidd, Susan Tate, Mikki Running, and Joel Morey of Red River, NM.

Once in the impoverished Gonaives suburb of Jubilee Blanc, they fed 250 to 300 children a plate of rice and beans every day. For many of the impoverished and starving children, this was the only meal they received that day. In addition to the food program, several group members helped with the children's clinic and school, and painted an orphanage.

In addition to working in the food program, Shiba and his fellow volunteers visited an infant rescue center in Port au Prince, Faith Hope Love Infant Rescue. "This was one of the highlights for me," Shiba said. "Each of us was affected in a way that we will never forget." Spending time with the children was the best part of the trip for Shiba and the most memorable moment was holding a little boy named Manius. "He fell asleep on my shoulder and each time I went to put him down for a nap, he gripped tighter."