Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The School in Fond Parisien

(Top: Schoolkids in a tent at the school; Middle: Frank, the English and Literature teacher at the school; Bottom: The temporary school building)

Today marks my first experience meeting, in person, the people & the reason why we do what it is we do. What an inspiring day it has been! This morning began with a trip to Fond Parisien. A name and place I have heard and seen so many times in video: to see it in person is something else.

Just to the left of the main area of the camp is now a fully operating school. It stands beside the remnants of their old school that is waiting to be rebuilt. The temporary school is a scene you’d recognize from our photos: a thin log structure covered by tarp roofs and surrounded by tarp walls. What photos cannot convey is the life that buzzes within. In this small structure 8 classes are in session, with at least 30 kids in each class! Amazingly they sit attentively, eager to learn.

I had the chance to interview the principal and a few of the teachers during one of their breaks. Frank, their English & Literature teacher, translated for the principal who explained to me that the teachers are paid at the end of the month. He then explained that once this next salary is paid, the funds will run dry and the school will come to a close. The end of the month is the end of this week. The complexity and depth of the issues we face in Haiti are daunting to say the least. This seemed to be a very simple problem with an even simpler solution. $5,500 will keep the school running through the end of term. A little more will help to rebuild their school and give hope for tomorrow. If you can help, please, please do!

The teachers of this school live in the camp – each has been personally affected by the earthquake. Frank, who I mentioned earlier, had paid his way through 2 years of studying English at the Haitian American Institute when the earthquake struck and collapsed his plans for the future. Frank now hopes to save enough money to return to school and complete his last year, but he can’t say what the future holds.

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