Completed Learning Center Fond Milot (June '22)
After three years of COVID-induced delays, Andy and I finally made our first trip back to Haiti since September 2019. We landed at the airport at Cap-Haitian on Saturday midday and drove (four hours) to Borgne, guided by our expert driver, Jonas. After unpacking, we met with Dr. Thony and Mano (the former mayor of Borgne – and translator extraordinaire) for dinner and lively conversation focused on our trip goals and plans for the next few days. We were excited to see the village of Borgne again (at last) and our friends at the ASB hospital.
On Sunday morning, we met with our local project director, Joseph Pierre-Paul (aka little Jo, or Tizo), and together we unloaded the boxes of books that we had brought with us (most of which are in kreyol). We sorted through the books, put HOPE stickers on the inside covers, and prepared them for transport. While working, we received a visit from two of the teachers (Jean-Lee and Geoffron) at the Fond-Milot school who also reviewed the books and gave us feedback on them. Together with the teachers, Mano, Dr. Thony, and Tizo, we brainstormed about how the books could be
best put to use in the new Learning Centers (LCs).
TiZo, Andy, kazak ML, Mano, Ms. Pierre, Jean Lee, Geoffren
We also talked with the teachers about their visions for the children in their classes. Later that morning, we met with Tizo to talk about his work and how we can best work together as the LC in Fond-Milot adds more resources. Together we planned the excursions ahead (to Fond-Milot and Basen Kayman on Monday). Our afternoon was highlighted by a spectacular swim in the beautiful waters in the ‘bay of Borgne,’ a few steps from the ASB hospital. Our day ended with a delicious fish dinner and an early bedtime.
Early Monday, we set out with our driver Wilbur, our translator Mano, Tizo, and two other ASB staff to bring the new shipment of books to Fond Milot. After three river crossings and abundant amazing scenery in the valley en route to the village, we arrived in Fond-Milot. We toured the learning center building (beautiful!) and then met with the principal, the kazak (village leader), and teachers to discuss library functioning.
We also toured the adjacent school buildings, many of which needed considerable structural repair (the needs are many!). At the end, we agreed to fund the position of librarian requested by the principal, Ms. Murielle Pierre.
The trip back was exhausting (a journey of over 20,000 steps!), but we enjoyed the feeling that many of our goals for that day were accomplished.
At dinner that night, we debriefed with Dr. Thony and Mano, before saying good-bye Mano and expressing our deepest appreciation for his help and support. We made good use of the time on Tuesday, wrapping things up with Tizo and Dr. Thony and enjoying another splendid swim in the warm, gorgeous waters of Borgne Bay.
This is how we move projects along--slow, steady, and in constant consultation with the team!!!
Dan Edwards and Andy Elliott