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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Labadee Beach and Regina School in Cap Haitien, Haiti: CJ and Karen's perspective

Yesterday and today were both very exciting days for the group and I. With the beach feeling like the royal oasis to the remarkable school named Regina, the two days have been jammed pack with fun and exciting moments.

Yesterday we traveled from Pignon to Cap Haitien in about three hours. Even though we were sore and tired we were rewarded with an amazing experience at the beach. Once we got into our van to take to the beach we weren't that happy that we had to get back in the thing that we were in for almost three hours. When we were all in it was time for the bumpiness to arrive. Back in Canada we were complaining about small potholes on the road but here there were huge potholes every few feet. In fact one made us fly into the air so far that we all felt like there wasn't any gravity! We evenutally got to the area we had to take a boat to the beach that we were going to stay at. When we turned around a corner there it was! The clear water and the soft sand made me beam with happiness. We stepped off the boat and we were standing on the hot sand that we were dreaming of. Once we jumped into the salt water is was music to our body's. The wait was finally over!

Today we went to a school called College de Regina. It was an all girls school which I was a little scared of! When we arrived there I went straight away to a History classroom. When I walked in, it was filled with giggles and laughs as if I was the only boy that they have ever seen. I would always feel a pair of eyes on me throughout the time we were in there. Once the bell rang to signify the end of the period it was relief to my ears as I rushed outside to get away from the stares. After that experience we didn't go to any more classrooms and just hung around the teachers lounge.

Right now we are just enjoying the nice breeze and the view of the ocean. I am also preparing another day with the all girl school! Wish me luck!

Now a message from my wonderful Mom

Wow, that's quite an introduction for me!  I hope you've been enjoying CJ's view of Haiti.  We certainly have been.  I've been thinking of what to write about Haiti and there are so many things to choose from.  We talked last night about one word to describe our experience here so far and came up with at least 15.  Amazing, remarkable, contrasts and sensory filling were just a few.  I will give you a snap shot of things I have learned in the past few days.
 - pedestrians do NOT have the right of way in Haiti
- you can fit 16 people, 28 pieces of luggage and 16 carry on bags in a narrow van and drive for a 4 hour road trip on very bumpy roads
-If you are the bigger vehicle, you have the right of way
-the horn is the most important part of a truck or car
- honking can mean a wide variety of things like:
  • get out of my way, I am not stopping
  • hey there!
  • watch out, I am coming around you and I can't see a thing
  • thanks!
  • get off the road NOW!
  • move your donkey
- Interpreting the honk can be key to staying alive.
- there is nothing better than eating a warm, ripe mango straight from the tree
- if you hear many roosters you are getting up on time, if you hear only one, you've overslept.
- you don't know quiet and darkness until you experience the generator going off at 11:00 pm
- everywhere we go little children yell, Blanc!  Blanc!  Because we are white, you are thinking?  Supposedly they say this about anyone who is a stranger.
- getting wifi for the first few days required standing under the mango tree by the goat and the donkey.
- Haitian people dress very well.  They may live in a tiny mud hut but show up for school in lovely clean clothes and spotless shoes. 
- Haitian boys play football (soccer) every spare moment of their day

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