UT student, friend stuck in Haiti now back in Tennessee

Local News
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Two Greene County women who were stuck in Haiti following violent protests are now back in the United States.

Kori Smith, a University of Tennessee student, and Alicia Phillips were with a group from Light of Life Missions.

The group went to Haiti to help an orphanage with more than fifty children.

Over the past few days, violent protests over fuel prices forced flight cancellations and other problems in the country.

News Channel 11’s Justin Soto video chatted with Kori Smith and Alicia Phillips during their layover in Atlanta waiting for their flight to Knoxville.

The two are in good spirits and happy to be heading back home, but the people they left behind are still fresh in their minds.

“We both I think felt a lot of peace. We’re tired coming home, but we feel good,” Phillips said.

The two were there two days longer than they were supposed to be. They’ve been coming to Haiti since 2014 but have never seen anything like they did on this trip.

“We’ve never seen the roadblocks in action, and seeing the smoke from standing in our compound, you could see the smoke on both sides of us and hearing multiple bangs throughout the day and the night,” Smith said.

Smith and Phillips hoped to help the children at the orphanage get their minds off the chaos around them.

“We had a girl’s night. We did a spa night with them. We did face masks, just treated them to let them know they were beautiful and God made them beautiful,” Phillips said.

After seven different flight plans and drives two and from the capital, Port-Au-Prince, they finally made it home.

They’re grateful for their safety, but they’re thinking about those they love back in Haiti, those they call family.

“The Haitian people are awesome. They’re beautiful people, I mean it’s just like America, you have good people in America, and you have bad people in America,” Phillips said.

Smith tells us she’s heading back to Haiti in just two weeks to continue to serve.

Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti requested additional U.S. Marines and state department security personnel.

The state department also updated its travel advisory for Haiti to Level 4: “Do Not Travel.”

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