Posts filed under Haiti Visit

april 2015 visit.

Published April 2015.

Bob and I are just wrapping up a week in Haiti…I sit here with a Rebo coffee and a chocolate croissant in the Port au Prince airport, trying to capture the events of the past week.  What fun to finally experience this adventure with my hubby…it is really impossible to explain until you live it on your own.  We have shared many conversations over the past 7 days regarding life, choices, perspectives, poverty, racism, education, family, faith, opportunities, work ethic, aging, gratitude, frustration, hope, joy, America, Haiti….so.much.talking…so.many.questions.

Just as it was impossible for me to explain to him all that I see and feel when I visit…it is so difficult to capture our experience in words here too.  We had the opportunity to spend much of our first day with Gladimy – English Teacher that runs the English Institute as our school…attending church [well over 1,000 in attendance, sitting in stairwells, standing, packed in for the service-yet we were given seats right up front of the congregation.] Visiting the children’s church was a highlight – hundreds of children in a large classroom, spilt by age levels. Bob jumped right in with these little ones – completely in his comfort zone.

Following church and a lunch stop at Epi’dor, we went to Gladimy’s neighborhood of Delmas 24, meeting his father and brothers – such a privilege to meet his family and visit his home. We walked the neighborhood, visiting with boys that had constructed their own kites with sticks and plastic bags, wandering the market filled with goods to purchase-rice, beans, vegetables, and piles of fresh chicken, goat and beef.

Our guest house was lovely – Pastor Ernso and Gina of Eucapyptus Village made us feel so welcomed (relaxing pool and dinner for two on the patio!)…and meeting other guests was an added bonus. Shout out to Team Tassie-Vivien, Trina and Danielle and their connection with Tony Sanneh of the Sanneh Foundation (retired pro soccer player doing great things with soccer players in Cite Soleil with the Haitian Initiative PLUS the students of Saint Paul Public Schools! Love the crazy cool connections that occur when I show up.)

Monday brought us to ANA Primary School. All of my favorite little people showed up! Even though this was Easter Holiday week, they came to see us….with a welcome sign, classroom decorations, songs and recitations! Once again, Teacher Bob was in his element. He met with each class and taught them math games with cards – 7-up, High/Low, War. And while I held a teacher meeting to plan for the June team trip, he lead all 50+ students in Red Light/Green Light, Kaboom, thumb wrestling, and hand clapping games. At one point, Teacher Jonas needed to ask him to “keep it down out there” as the kids were cheering and yelling and laughing so loudly.

Plans were made regarding the hopes and plans for the summer team trip, the year-ed Spektak, the development of a computer lab, expansion of two classrooms for the 15-16 school year. The teachers are hard-working and responsible – seeking to hold students to a high level of rigor, challenging them to succeed. I always leave here humbled, inspired, and anxious to find ways to meet the needs and press on to make our little school a success for these students.

Following the work – we took time to play. In recognition of our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary, we chose to relax at the beach (and give the tourism industry at little support!) Wahoo Bay has been a day trip for me several times, so this time we chose to spend a few nights. Owner/Manager Jennifer was darling – taking the time to visit with us. We lounged by the pool, soaking in the ocean breeze, scoring a sweet snorkeling deal with George and Michel for $10 and a fresh grilled crab on the beach for $12! Bob love a good deal! There were scrabble games at sunset and morning runs around the tennis court, as other guests played soccer on the court. We recharged and are ready to face reality again. Until next time! Orevwa!

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under Haiti Visit.

october 2014 visit.

Enjoyed a quick visit with JP’s Haitian family – Junior and Guerline…Published October 2014.

60 hours in Haiti.

Gosh, where do I begin? It has been a whirlwind trip once again to my favorite little island nation. I took advantage of a few days away from work to connect with the children and staff in Port au Prince, Haiti. There is soooo much to share…I think I will just let the pictures tell the stories.

Connected with ANA Director Rock Cayo regarding the paperwork for one of our students seeking a student visa…Brought Creole Storybook Bibles for the boys. They read and read…and fell asleep with open bibles every night…Held a parent meeting with Director Rock and Administrator Roselaure…30+ parents attended!  Each family received a Creole Storybook Bible (thanks to the donation from Celebration Lutheran in Sartell)…Observed the water distribution system – thanks to the initiative developed by my niece Avalon to make water more readily available to the students each day…Interviewed 13 new students with Administrator Roselaure and Interpreter Stanley (he filled in when Rock needed to make an airport run)…Savored some sweet moments with these beautiful children…Checked out the division of the rooftop classroom into 2 rooms for grades 4 and 5. While I was up on the roof snapping the pic, neighbor girl and student, Rolande waved to me!  Love to see the children in the neighborhood...Enjoyed a quick visit with JP’s Haitian family – Junior and Guerline…Taught an English Institute Class and joined in the worship session/English lesson as students practiced their language skills while singing Ten Thousand Reasons…(lighting is dark, because the lyrics were projected on a man-made screen on the wall)…what an awesome experience…Led a three-hour Teacher Seminar – Agenda: vision, student needs, brain research/differentiation, backwards design/planning, news and announcements     *adding a weekly English lesson for our students, planning a spring field trip, the Spektak is scheduled for June 18th…Conducted a Finance Meeting with Accountant Edelyne to negotiate the budget – good thing I am taking a finance class in grad school!  I needed to translate Haitian goudes to US dollars and question the # of lbs of rice to purchase…Introduced Flat Stanley to the real Stanley and gave him a quick tour of Haiti…Shared some fun conversations with “waiting families” back home…gotta love technology and Facebook Video Chat. Now we just need to get them home! And best of all…bonded with these buddies of mine.

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under Haiti Visit.

classroom observations, student successes and selfies.

Published April 27, 2014.

The recent trip to Haiti was intended for securing details for the upcoming Kozefò Team trips in June and July.

Guesthouse √

Transportation √

Daycamp Plans √

Outings √

Building project measurements √

Success.  And yet, there was sooooo much more.  I had the opportunity to sit in all three classrooms to confirm sponsored students in attendance…as well as to observe the creative teaching that was occurring.  Much of Haitian education is focused on recitation and memorization…and on this visit, I saw creativity in activities – kindness and encouragement – collaboration as students shared and worked together.  There were lessons on geometry and grammar and French reading instruction – complete with visuals to aid in comprehension.  I took notes and had the opportunity to share my findings with the teachers [we ALL need to be encouraged and affirmed.]

There was also an incredibly sweet walk through the neighborhood, as I viewed construction options, met neighbors and parents of students, and discovered one of our students who had been sent from school due to his destructive behavior.  The teachers explained to me that he was “sick in his head.” He had been defiant and willfully disobedient.  I happened to see him across the way in a home…so I called him by name and waved him over.  Our handyman (my interpreter for the day-he has taken a few months of beginning English) translated for me…I think. The incredible blessing is that this young student showed up for class the next day!  He was welcomed back…and when he stood to read aloud, his classmates cheered for him and his teacher exclaimed “Bravo!”  Success. Pray for continued success.

Friendly neighbors…certain to make me feel loved…

Students walking home after a day of classes…

The boys and their English Instructor Jonas…

And finally…everyone enjoys selfies!  At least we did! Hope you do too.

 

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under Haiti Visit.

humbled and grateful.

Published April 23, 2014.

Ended my quick jaunt to Haiti today hanging out in classrooms and snapping pics at recess. (Will share more images later this week!)

This time away…with the boys waiting for their forever families…with the students in classes…with the teachers and staff…fills my heart to overflowing. For all they are doing.

To live as an orphan, waiting and wondering as days go by…such an unfathomable place to be. We video chatted with their moms in the US this morn. So sweet…and also so heartbreaking, as those on both sides of the sea wait.

To attend school in the heat, in crowded classrooms, walking or traveling from a ways off…coming from homes filled with many, many members…at times living with an aunt or grandparent, since the parents reside far into the countryside with few options for schooling.

To teach with energy, compassion and love in that same heat and cramped conditions. To inspire and encourage students day after day.

I am humbled and filled with gratitude

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under Haiti Visit.

september 2013 visit.

Published September 2013.

back to school prep…in port au prince

School supplies have been donated and packed up.

Photos from classrooms at L’etoile Du Nord French Immersion have been printed and are ready to be shared with teachers.

Flights are confirmed.

Airport pick-up is set.

Luggage is packed.

I am so excited to see the boys at the orphanage, the school children and the staff!

Thanks to all for encouragement and support.  It truly takes a village.

All I need now is prayers.

productivity x 3.

It has been a complete whirlwind these past three days. I am both physically and emotionally exhausted…but in the very best way.  Roberson and Cynthia picked me up this afternoon, so I will spend the night at the guesthouse…share dinner at Pizza ‘Amour! (sounds delightful) and attend church with them in the morning before flying back home.

With the fatigue I am feeling, it may be best to let the pictures do the talking.  Thank you so much for the prayers for productivity…they WERE felt!watched a little tv with the boys (yep, Soul Surfer in French), delivered new flip flops ( tennies were too big for now), interviewed new students, hung out with ANAC School kids, met with ANAC teachers, observed an English Lesson with Jean Janel Toussaint, met with Accountant Edelyne, coordinated efforts to begin the English Institute with Gladimy, listened to the boys sing “Juanito” songs with neighbor Eddy, hung out with these sweet ladies…Miss Nahomie and Miss Rosita, painted two rooms and organized a bookshelf, hired a local man to weld our broken chairs and paint ALL of the school furniture, hired a new teacher for grade 4, ate delicious Haitian food, practiced my Creole and their English, helped the boys call their families in the US, and said farewell for now.

Posted on June 11, 2017 and filed under Haiti Visit, School Update.