Leaving for Haiti

A great deal has happened since the last time I blogged. I am a little disappointed that I was not able to continue with my consistent blogging, but the last few weeks have been more than insanely busy. However, I am back, and will attempt another go at sustaining this blog. I feel so much better when I blog, but I still struggle to make it a part of my daily routine. Maybe this time.

As the title of this post indicates, I cannot believe that we are almost into March. During the past couple of months, I kept on teaching my blended class, presented at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools’ Annual Conference in Philadelphia (what a great city!), and made it through a couple of snow days.

But, at the forefront on my mind at the moment is my impending trip to Haiti. This will be my fourth time taking students and teachers to our partner school in the Central Plateau in Haiti, and I am equal parts anxious and excited. Anxious because it is always a daunting responsibility to travel with students; excited because I hope and think that it will be a great trip.

While most people probably associate a visit to Haiti with physical labor and helping out with a variety of projects, our trip is mostly focused on making connections with the Haitian students and teachers at our partner school, St. Jacques Les Bays. To be sure, we raise money each year to support the school, and we are excited to see the building of the new well that we helped finance, but the majority of this trip will be spent trying to connect with our Haitian sisters and brothers.

This is not as easy as it might seem. The vast majority of the Haitian students and teachers speak nothing but Creole, and as you might expect, neither I, nor my students, know much Creole besides a few standard phrases. Still, judging from past trips, these connections somehow happens. We let our students run more or less an entire school day, and they do amazing things. They bring out arts and crafts projects; they conduct English lessons; they sing; they dance; in short, they exist alongside their newfound Haitian friends.

In one of our recent chapel services, one of our religion teachers said that sometimes, all that is required of you is to be with your fellow man or woman. You do not have to change the world today. Just be with people who walk this earth with you. Allow yourself to feel a little bit of what they are feeling, and encourage them to feel what you are feeling. Just be with them. Just experience fellowship, though you might be walking drastically different paths.

This is the message that we try to impart on our students. I hope they heed this message, and judging from our meetings so far, they will. As this trip draws near, I get increasingly excited. Excited at the prospect of seeing my Haitian friends again. Excited at seeing my students interact with people from a different culture. Excited at the possibility of making a new connection. Excited to grow. Excited to be with my fellow man and woman.

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