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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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Only by Taking the Journey Can We Arrive at the Destination

Inspiration for today’s post came early in the morning… 5:30am in the morning, to be more precise. A few members of our group joined others staying at Mont Joli on a trek to the mountain’s peak which began in the dark at this hour. Those who joined mentioned that parts of it were tough (all of it was hot and humid) but the effort was worth the reward.  Seeing the sun rise and the span of the land below was a spectacular view.

Much of the work that Haiti and its partners face in the struggle against social injustices is long-lasting and difficult. We have heard of these struggles over and over, and the time and patience that is often required before the benefits of such rewards are reaped. Today, for example, our larger team split into various groups for differing purposes, though each of us experienced this recurring theme.
Some of our group members travelled to Haiti’s Northern Public University. During our meeting with the university, UPNCH, much of the conversation revolved around how to overcome the English language barrier, and provide online ESL course within a Haitian context. It was recognized that starting with small, manageable opportunities and building a foundation from this was necessary. Having said this, it was difficult for us to conceptualize and identify what these concrete first steps might be. The end goal would be of obvious benefit to the students studying tourism at the university and their future success, but the work in understanding how to collaborate productively was difficult.

Similarly, two of our members returned to Regina Asumpta to deliver professional development workshops for local educators. Though one of our principals was not feeling his best throughout the day, he knew that his efforts would benefit the students and educators of Regina Asumpta moving forward.

Lastly, Pastor Caleb escorted a small group from our team to his rural hometown of Pignon. Though the drive to this rural town was rocky and long, they boasted about the amazing experience they had today, and returned to our hotel glowing.

Often, outcomes of true worth are only achieved through diligence, and devotion. At dinner tonight, we debriefed the discomfort and frustration experienced in these situations.  In fact, the frustration we endure in the struggle to achieve our goals makes the reward all the more worthy. In the end, though struggles will always lie ahead, there is a consensus amongst our team, and amidst the Haitian community, that pushing forward is a battle we are willing to fight.

By Jessica Vorsteveld

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