Haiti 2013: Day Four (Class of 2016)

Today’s blog post is written by Elizabeth Lilly, GHF ’16.

(Note: Pictures are still taking a long time to upload. We will keep trying, or we will input them into these posts upon our return this weekend!)

Today was our first day immersing ourselves in what is truly rural Haiti. Whereas before we had been roaming the relatively urbanized (by Haitian standards) streets of Hinche, we traveled today to Clory, a beautiful village far off the beaten — and safely driveable — path. It is in Clory that Manno, the manager of the Midwives for Haiti house, and his friend Theard, have built their school; it is in this school that Stuart will pilot her curriculum tomorrow morning. Clory sits in the center of an expansive plateau, rimmed by towering, cloud-topped mountains. We hiked along narrow, rocky trails to gather information about perception of disease in the most rural of settings. All of us found the residents in and outside of Clory to be, for the most part, lacking medical knowledge that we take for granted in the United States. Nearly all of us encountered someone whom we knew to be sick, but in each case we were unable to do anything. The nearest hospital in Hinche, St. Therese, is basic at best in the care it offers. This cast a somber mood over the interviews but only reminded us of our purpose. Many of the people we surveyed were curious about that purpose — and what was in it for them. Our responses to these questions usually began with “In the future, we hope…” This trip is the first step in making that hope and future a reality.

Our morning work, however, utterly exhausted us, and we returned to the house for a filling lunch and restful naps. As the afternoon rain-clouds encroached upon the horizon, we set out for the Maison Fortune orphanage, which was a main staple of last year’s trip. In the ten months that have passed since our last visit, the boys’ and girls’ orphanages had been separated, so we only were able to see the boys today. The boys played a competitive 3v3 basketball game while the girls toured the school and library with some of the younger boys. The threat of dark skies prevented us from visiting the girls. We returned home exhausted but fulfilled after another eventful day under the Haitian sun. Our conversation over the dinner table allowed us to reflect upon this week, to analyze our projects and this type of research we are undertaking, and begin looking toward the upcoming year and how we might delve deeper into these topics.

Highlights of the Day:

Bridget: Seeing that the kids at Maison Fortune remembered us

Elizabeth: Practicing my French with and teaching English to the boys at Maison Fortune
Stuart: Walking to see the beautiful country of Haiti while talking to the young students at the school in Clory
Aneesh: Touring Clory and meeting with the rural villagers and seeing the effect of our work in action
Wyatt: Sitting down at the dinner table and discussing our trip and our changing projects
Brian: Interviewing villagers in an even more rural setting in Clory

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