Thursday, March 7, 2013

still wowed

Much of what shocked me about life in Haiti (public power issues, trash everywhere, no sense of personal space/privacy, to name a few) has become normal to me at this point. I feel that I've adjusted to life here pretty well. But there are still some things that amaze me. (Women giving birth at home with no trained medical professionals is one of them, but I'm not talking about that today.)

Yesterday was our third day of no sun, and it had been sprinkling all day. By the time I was walking home from school, the road from Gramothe to the riverbed was pretty much a slip-n-slide. I was especially nervous that I was going to fall. When I arrived at the final curve where I normally descend to cross to the short cut, there were 4 or 5 students standing there talking. Most of them started down the very slippery mud path to the riverbed. They asked me to come with them because I normally do, but I told them I needed my teeth (my first joke in Creole that someone actually laughed at!) and started down the equally slippery road to the long way through the riverbed. One of the girls named Magalie was headed that way, so we walked together. 

Magalie is a student I recognize and can tell you which grade she's in and even where she sits in the classroom, but I can't always remember her name. She's not a shining star in class, but she isn't a behavioral problem either. I don't normally walk with her because she doesn't take the shortcut. Anyway, she was very friendly and asked me all sorts of questions in Creole, which was good practice for me. She wanted to know about Isaac, when I will go the U.S., if I am coming back, and if I will always have time to be her English teacher. I has just enough time to ask her where she lives and how long it takes for her to walk to school before we parted ways. Magalie lives in Planchet, which is two mountain faces down river from Gramothe, and it takes her an hour and half to get to school. She was so chipper when she said it that it sounded normal. And then I remembered that it IS normal for my students and the rest of Haiti.

I am surrounded by kids that overcome many obstacles to attend school, and I am still amazed at what great distances they travel to get to school. 

Can you imagine walking an hour and half to school every day? 


  1. Wow! I can't fathom walking an hour and a half to go to school. So glad she has the desire to learn and is blessed to attend school at MTM and have u as her english teacher. =)

    1. opps, I forgot to sign my name to the above comment.
      Lori Martin

  2. I hope no one has to walk down in the rain this week, Paul!