Thursday, March 16, 2017
Day 2 March Break Awareness Trip to Haiti 2017
(By Trip member Ian): Today our group split in two and headed to different schools. I was with the group that went to Pinson. It took about two hours for us to hike to the school. The hike was equal parts beautiful and challenging as I suppose walking up mountains tends to be.
Upon our arrival at Pinson our group was introduced to staff and students in waves. We got to see the classrooms and provide the students with letters written in French by some Sarnia students as well as a poster created by a Sarnia kindergarten class. The Haitian students took time to return the favour by writing their response letters and creating their own poster. Once those projects were out of the way it was time for a little more informal interaction so we headed to the school yard with balloons, stickers and soccer balls. After some mutual play the newly stickered children (who appeared very happy to put as many stickers on themselves as they could) showed us some songs and dances.
We had a ton of fun at Pinson and were given an interesting peak into life at the school. There were many things to take away but one of my deeper realizations was that hitting a balloon in the air with friends is fun no matter where you do it. Our time to go came quickly and we headed out on the next leg of our hike to meet the other group at Gilbert.
(Trip member Amanda who was at Gilbert) The group that had spent the day with the students in Gilbert had much of the same experience. Our hike to the school was not as long, but we were met by students who were at first a little apprehensive about us. Nothing some crayons and stickers couldn't fix as we also engaged in an activity of sharing letters from a grade 2 class from Sarnia and inviting them to write notes back. The stickers used in this activity were definitely the highlight. The students were also happy to find out that the skipping ropes and soccer balls they had asked for would be arriving with our group! After some time of visiting we waited for the Pinson group to travel to us.
Once the group was all back together we shared lunch with the staff at Gilbert. Following lunch we got to peek into two Alpha Literacy programs. The adults there were working on their literacy, but took a break to sing us a song, answer some of our questions about the program and their involvement in it and share with us what they had learned. This was a good chance to be both proud of the participants and the ongoing impact Rayjon has had in Haiti. Once we got back to the bus Jobest who was the translator who accompanied the group to Pinson asked us to stop in to meet students at a school he teaches at which is focussed on teaching language (French, English, and Spanish). During our time together Jobest also made a point to note to one of the group members how appreciative he is of the way Rayjon carries out partnerships in Haiti with long term goals. He used the analogy that feeding someone once will fill them up but supporting them in improving their own situation can lead them to not be hungry long term.
In closing it has been a very long day and we were all happy to get back to the accommodations for another delicious dinner and a good night's sleep.
Tomorrow we will start by visiting a Museum then travel to Cap Haitian.