Monday, May 3, 2010

Studying Under Streetlights

The day ended with our team meeting at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Hanger clinic, that started at 1800 and completed just about 1900. We discussed the impending transition of another person into the case manager’s position. Unfortunately, the process of finding a Haitian-born Creole speaking individual to take over the position has been initiated but has not been finalized. This position will therefore continue to be held by a volunteer from outside of Haiti until someone is hired. Although I am very happy about the accomplishments that we have made over the past few weeks, I am still saddened at the prospect of moving on. How great it would have been to follow the process through completion.

After the meeting I headed towards my dorm. As I slowly walked along the graveled path my mind started to wonder. In less than one week, I will be returning home, back to my normal everyday routine. This was such a great experience. I have learnt so much. My only hope is that I was able to leave something of worth behind for continued growth. As these thoughts raced through my mind, I became a little sad. I stood for a short while thinking about leaving, then suddenly I realized how quickly it had gotten very, very dark. For visual reasons, I headed back to the office and grab the only flashlight that was left on the shelf. Retracing my steps down the path I noticed a few young boys perched on top of rocks beneath street lights, reading. I thought this very odd, as there were a few of them deep in concentration. My curiosity got the better of me. I went over to where one of the young men was sitting to get a glimpse of what was so interesting that it so captivated his attention. I approached him quietly and noticed that he was reading from what appeared to be a hand-written school notebook. I asked if he was studying and his reply was yes and so were the other boys.

It had been told to me that many school-aged children here at Deschapelles would often study beneath street lights when it became dark. This was so as most houses did not have the luxury of electricity. How dedicated and determined they are. The little things that we so often take for granted. I felt pressed to give one of them the flashlight that I held, but soon thought that this would not make a huge difference as the battery would probably only last for a short while.

Jay the head prosthesist joined me as I walked slowly down the path. As we walked, we talked about what we had just observed. He stated that this is a very common practice here in Deschapelles, a few weeks ago when he first observed this, he too was pretty amazed by it. We continued talking as we walked. Later when I arrived at my dorm I mentioned to my roommate what I had seen, she also stated that this was a very common practice here. In line with this, Gozde mentioned that a former volunteer now a staff member here at HAS, has initiated a program that would make available, a secure building with electricity. This was all made possible by donations from a woman's organization in Connecticut called Sisterhood Group. According to Paul the initiator of the project the building presently under construction will be a library that will provide a safe and convenient place for the young people here at Deschapelles to study.

What an awesome proposal, this is something that definitely deserves supporting.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

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