Today is day 1 of the month long writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I am ready and eager to begin!
Education = Hope – A Photo Journal of My School Visit in Haiti
Last month I traveled to Haiti. The trip was a five day whirlwind of hiking, driving, and boating here, there and everywhere. On our first day we had the opportunity to visit the parish school that we support. As an educator I was most interested in what the Haitian schools were like and curious to learn more. This school visit turned out to be one of the most amazing and thought-provoking part of my trip to this country.
The school building itself is constructed of concrete block with open windows to allow the breezes (and mosquitoes and flies ) in. The tin roof keeps the students dry during rainy season but it seemed to keep the heat in. The rooms appeared rather dark due to the lack of electricity in the rooms. None of the students seemed to mind.
These slates are primarily used by the younger grades, while the older students use pens and journals and a few workbooks. All of the classrooms had a large green chalkboard at the front. These boards were utilized in all the rooms we visited. One of the requests from the school leaders was for our church to help fund devices to allow the high school students to begin to learn research skills that would help those interested in furthering their schooling. I was quite surprised to discover that despite the sporadic electricity in the village there was internet access in the area.
Outside in the school courtyard kindergarten children were playing on the new playground equipment that was recently purchased by our parish. It was wonderful to hear the joyful sounds of children laughing and playing amidst the familiar squeaks of the swings going back and forth.
We were greeted warmly by all the students in the school. In many of the classes we visited, our tour guide and pastor Pere Didier, would call upon one student to greet us in English. The “volunteers” were always gracious as they fluently spoke their hellos. I later learned that all high school students leave high school having learned four languages: their native Creole, English, French, and Spanish.
I left the school filled with such a mix of emotions of pride, of wonderment, and of joy. We were all animatedly discussing the amazing experience when we spotted this sign with the wise words of Nelson Mandela painted across the middle: “L’education est l’arme la plus puissante pour changer le monde” or “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
I found promise in the sign and in what I witnessed. In a country that is plagued with such poverty, I left feeling hopeful about the future of these students where education is a priority. After this visit I am more committed in knowing that education, no matter how or where, can truly make a difference. Education is the key to changing the world!