I am in Haiti again. So many of my posts begin that way.
The school year started last Monday. Political unrest and the COVID crisis broke up school last year. The year before more unrest. And the year before… you guessed it, unrest. Since I have been a part of the society here, there hasn’t been one straight year of calm or one completed school year. Exams are difficult for kids to pass when they didn’t get taught all the material. Yet some pass despite it all.
Meetings with teachers, preparing materials, and the school buildings consumed the week before school. Looking into the faces of our seven professors, I can’t help but wonder if they are feeling inadequate. How do you get kids to focus on learning when the world around them, and many homes, is a blur of chaos? How do you teach kids who have grown up believing the world is flat, that we live on a sphere held together by gravity (used as an analogy– while this is not a typical belief in the Haitian society, there are many beliefs of the sort)?
This year the motto is slow and engaging. We are creating an atmosphere where kids can escape the hard realities of life for just a moment to open their minds to the wonder of written language. To advance beyond a life of survival in their little farming community of Boyer, students must learn to read. They must learn to write. They must learn to learn.
Because of so much instability outside the gates, we are homeschooling the kids of Grace House for a time. This way, if roadblocks occur throughout the year, their education will continue. Already there is progress in this smaller class setting in the stability of the home environment. Everyone is happy with the arrangement.
What are my roles in this season?
Three days a week I co-teach the 2-4-year-olds in our homeschool class. We have five kids this age, my baby Julinsky being the youngest of them. Alphabet, hygiene, good manners, pencil control, singing, and French conversation (I’m learning too!) are some of the things they are learning. It is a class that keeps you on your toes for sure. Lively and entertaining are great words to use!
I am at school on the other days of the week. I am integrating into first grade. We have 25+ students in the class. I assist the teachers in whatever way they need. Our goal with those kiddos is to, above other accomplishments, get them reading and writing.
After school hours, I do school prep work, play with kids in the yard, or hold the newest addition to the clan – little Milek. Days are full.
Every Saturday is different; they can be jampacked with ministry activities or visiting out in the community.
Sunday consists of going out for church, ministry activities, and taking care of personal matters.