Bursting my bubble
Over March Intensive Janet Daniels, Isa Barrington, my mom and I went to Haiti to do volunteer work. We stayed in a small village called Bois d’Avril in the mountains above Port-au-Prince. We stayed with Deb and John, a Canadian couple, who have a house in the mountains. In the village there is a small school building which is divided into three rooms for certain ages. We taught the kids English, played games with them and sang. We also taught the people how to sew and knit so they could sell their work to make money. It was an amazing experience, and I did not want to leave. I fell in love with the people and their culture because they are such loving and down-to-earth people.
On one of the days we went to a bigger village which was down the hill from the one we were staying – about a mile and a half away. In the bigger village there were more people and there was much more action. There were motorcycles and trucks driving by every minute, and there was a market going on. We saw people’s houses and saw them doing their daily tasks as we walked by. As we went by one house, there was a woman braiding her daughter’s hair and there were some teenage guys hanging out. In that village, we also visited a more improved school where there were five sets of classrooms, one for each grade. Visiting the villages in Haiti was such a different experience from any other part of the US that I had ever visited.
I felt very safe in the smaller village because of the people’s willingness to welcome us and I hope to go back soon. I realized how lucky I am to have a house to live in and easy access to water and food. The people in the village don’t have what we would call a house “here”. They live in structures more like sheds which are built with bricks and clay. When we were coming into Port-au-Prince I remember seeing tents where Haitians who still don’t have a house nor job live since the earthquake that hit four years ago.
In the mountains the views are beautifully breathtaking. In the evenings, it would sometimes get cloudy, and since we could not see the mountains, it felt and looked like the ocean was stretching out in front of the house. There was so much to see everywhere.
This year in the Helping Haiti Club we have been raising money to let the kids in the village who can’t afford to attend school. That’s why – as you may have noticed – we have been having bake sales once a month. It costs $75 dollars for a child to go to the school in the village for a year. When you think about it, it probably does not seem like a lot to pay. But it is a lot for the Haitians because it’s hard for these people in the village to make money. One way they make money is by planting. They only make about $2,000 a year which is not very much at all compared to wages in our community.
I realized something that is also really important to let everyone know, especially here at Hanover. Not everyone is able to receive an education, but in Haiti the people are very eager to learn. It was so inspiring to watch the younger kids in the school in village try their hardest to understand not just English but also everything else that their teachers were teaching. Some of the kids in the school walk two hours to get to school everyday! Seeing these kids and their parents working hard together, made me want to help them so much more.
We are working much harder to find ways to raise money for the club. We are very thankful and open to donations anytime at the Helping Haiti Club. Come and stop by on Monday, Activity Period in Mrs. Miller’s room if you are interested or would like to find out more.