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!