About Me

My photo
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, May 15, 2015

Why I love Haiti

People often ask me why I continue to be engaged with capacity-building in Haiti. Two distinct examples from today solidify my response.

Thelus and Evelyn

I have known Thelus for eight years. I taught him in a M.Ed. course and am a co-supervisor on his Ph.D.

Thelus is a risk-taker. He started a private school (La Cle) three years ago largely to support children in an impoverished community outside of Cap-Haitien. Many families don't pay any tuition to attend the school due to their limited means. Thelus teaches in other schools/universities to ensure that he can pay the salary of teachers.

Laurier has provided about 20 laptops to Thelus. Today, we saw the laptops in action and it was beautiful! In Evelyn's class, the activities were even differentiated for the children and this was facilitated by their access to laptops!

I am so proud of Thelus for having a vision for education in the community. He and his family have many hardships (beyond the financial burden of paying for the school, they also have a son with a significant disability). However, Thelus and Evelyn remain resolute in their vision!

 On a side-note, we had an awesome game of soccer today ... blancs (that's the name given to whites/outsiders) + 2 of our secret weapons (Doody, Samy) vs. the kids from La Cle. There were some heroics from the likes of Bruce Alexander, Bree Chaput, Lindsay Shepperd, Lydia Frey, Doody, and Samy.

The final score shall remain a secret.


 Samuel and Doody
 picture from last year (just to make sure I look as young as possible)

I got to know these two young men three years ago when our first Laurier team came to Cap-Haitien. Doody was the very first student I met at a large, over-crowded public high school. He engaged me in a conversation in the school's hallway and I immediately recognized a special quality to Doody. He introduced me to his friend Samy and I quickly realized that these two young men had strong personal qualities and I could see that they would be leaders in their communities, if not their country.

Today, we were able to visit Samy's home. The hospitality of his parents and sisters, in the midst of challenging circumstances, really humbled me. The family is incredibly gracious and humble. We were offered fresh fruit and we visited for an hour or more and I kept thinking, "what do I have to offer?"

I am still not sure what I have to offer Thelus, Evelyn, Samy, and Doody. I can certainly offer friendship, despite geographic and linguistic barriers. That may be enough but I wonder what else I/we can do to help them in their journey of building the capacity of this country?

No comments: