Our three days in Haiti were short but, for me, powerful. On the first morning we arrived at the school, and I was overwhelmed. The children ran out to greet us, all smiling yet standing back and looking a bit hesitant at greeting these strange people. Instantly we threw a couple of our balls at them and they took off, laughing, running, happy together, forgetting about those strangers but just being kids with balls.
Just beyond the kids with the balls was the school. For so long the school had been in the abstract as we had talked about it, planned for it, budgeted for the school, but now it was real; no longer in just my mind.
I walked towards the school with the children all around me. We met the first and second grade teachers; the third grade teacher (who had been swallowed by the earthquake and managed to crawl out,) came to MPP and asked to teach. He was an inspiration. Suddenly I was so humbled to have been able to have had a small part in this miracle.
We were shown around the school as the children returned to class. The first and second graders sat at their gorgeous new wooden desks. The children are so proud of their school furniture and their two classrooms. The teachers began their lessons. What we had so long dreamed of, hoped for, was really taking place. The children were in a school which we had taken part in providing and they were learning.
Later in the day the parents awaited us in one of the classrooms. One of my "old friends" from EcoVillage One came up to me and said "How are your grandchildren?" Then he said, "I teach self some English so I talk to you." I was so overcome that it was hard to respond. As the parents gathered several others spoke to me as they remembered me from our previous visit.
The parents had one consistent message: they too wanted to become literate. The parents wanted a class, so that they could learn letters and learn to read. The parents very much wanted to learn what their children were learning.
The parents also wanted to express their appreciation for the school in which they sat at that moment, appreciation for what God had given them through God's people.
The parents and the director also expressed the need for a classroom for the preschoolers--ages three, four and five. We did a count and in that room alone there were parents of 23 preschool children who could not attend school because there was no preschool class.
As I looked around it was so clear that the need was great for our third classroom to be finished and our other three classrooms to be completed. I was humbled to see the miracle in which I had been able to have had a very small part. But more importantly, I felt so strongly that God will empower each of us with the vision and the energy to do our part, so that the four more classrooms, so badly needed, can be completed for God's children placed in our paths for this brief time.
Joan Edgerton, North Decatur Presbyterian
This was my first visit to Haiti and I didn't really know what to expect. I had heard stories of the mass despair and poverty in this country. However, in our trip to Hinche, I didn't see much of either. I did see a lack of possessions and a need for infrastructure. But with the people we visited, I saw hope, a willingness to work hard, thankfulness, and a trust in God. The MPP organization is very well-run and the leadership is very impressive. Chavannes Jean-Baptiste runs a very well-oiled machine and surrounds himself with topnotch personnel. I am very excited with the EcoVillage project and EcoVillage school. The project is beginning to meet its mandate of self-sufficiency. With the school the people of the EcoVillages envision a place to educate their children and also a central place to educate themselves to better themselves and to help assist in their children’s education. Over all I think both project and school will succeed and prosper. The best way we can help is by making sure that we support the growth of the EcoVillage school and continue our relationships with the people in Papaye.
Eddie Ramos, Good Shepherd