It’s been a day of celebration and sharing from beginning to end today.
We all made it to mass with Father Romel at the Emmaus Retreat Center at 7am where the entire liturgy and song was in French. During the consecration of the host, the four Haitian priests sang the prayers together in a harmony that captured the solemn nature of the action and what we are doing in Jesus’ name.
After eating breakfast with Father Romel, he showed us around his campus and some of the future things he wants to build. He’s done so much and has a beautiful vision of more to come.
Eventually, we hopped into a van and went to Hinche to have lunch and meet with the normale school’s teachers. We spent hours chatting with them and listening to their successes and hardships at the school. It was a real hot for all of us to be in this room together and feel like true partners in improving life here through education. Similar to the United States but even moreso, the most common difficulty that the teachers faced was that the students arrive at the school at different skill levels for each course. For example, in French, many teachers have to give extra lessons to get them proficient at speaking and writing in French even though they were supposed to have been learning it for 14 years of education!!
Following the meeting, Gene spoke to the students about the water quality of the well and sampled more water to improve confidence in their well. He even drank the water in front of them to prove the point (the students were shocked).
We then proceeded to the library to go over more of the Internet-in-a-box but with more students. The students themselves setup the system and had it up and running. We then gave them a demo of its capabilities which are as follows:
- Wikipedia in Creole, French, Spanish, and English
- Over 2000 Ebooks in Creole, French, and English
- Instructional video lessons in French from Khan Academy that cover many subjects ranging from math and science to history and language.
- Typing lessons
- A world atlas and maps
- Haitian geography
- Health videos
The students were very eager to learn more and we could tell they simply wanted to expand their knowledge! We have high hopes for this and so does everyone here.
Finally, our night concluded with attending the school’s weekly Sunday Night Open Mic night. These students are a talented bunch. They played original songs, jammed together and improvised the beat, danced to traditional music and drums… The list goes on and on. Clearly, the students are extremely talented and we were all honored to see how much fun they have on a weekly basis. The joy was palpable and infectious.
Because this week marks the start of in-school teaching for the second year students, the night ended with a powerful prayer which they sang in unison. They had a beautiful harmony and the feel of the prayer was both pleading and somber since many were nervous.
I can tell that this school takes their profession very seriously and so do the students. Future kids in Haiti will be blessed to have a graduate of the papaye normale school – that much is clear.
Thanks for keeping up with us and for sending your prayers, he’s working through us every moment of every day.