Today’s post is co-written by Stuart Luter and Wyatt Miller, both GHF ’16.
Today was a very exciting day for Bridget, Elizabeth and especially Stuart. Today the three girls piloted Stuart’s Women’s Empowerment Curriculum at Manno and Theard’s school in Clory. Arriving around 10 AM, they got a slow start. The kids were still taking their final exams so the girls and Ms. Massey along with the wonderful translator Gladias headed off to conduct a few interviews in local homes. They discovered very shocking information, meeting a girl who dropped out of school when she was only 12 due to pregnancy. Returning to the school, the girls convened and the workshop began. The number of girls in attendance shocked Bridget, Elizabeth, and Stuart. 70 girls, packed into one tiny room, made for a very loud environment. After explaining the program and its purpose, they discussed women’s function in society, goal setting, decision-making and consequences. All of the girls agree that the biggest frustration today was encouraging the girls to talk about themselves and interact in the workshops. Typically school for the girls is very formal and traditional and so they are not used to participating and expressing themselves. The lack of participation was the biggest problem with the workshop. The hope is that as the lessons go on, the girls will become more comfortable in the environment and will be able to talk about themselves and participate. The workshops were very successful, albeit frustrating at times, and there remains a great deal of hope for this curriculum going forward. Stuart is really excited to work more to improve the curriculum and to have formed this partnership with Midwives for Haiti. Going forward, the midwives with conduct different lessons from Stuart’s curriculum bi-weekly at the school; the the next workshop will be on June 28th!
The boys had an exciting day, as well. First Brian, Wyatt, Aneesh, and Mr. Doar went with their translator Emmanuel to the market to interview people regarding their respective projects. Since it rained so heavily last night, the sewage pits on either sides of the road were filled with unclean water, trash, and runoff. It was amazing to us all how unsanitary that is for the people and yet the infrastructure is so poor. Effective waste management from the public sector is obviously a challenge here. There is an abundance of NGOs here which attempt to supplement the public sector’s programs. Eventually for Haiti to see long-term sustainable success, the government will have to increase the role it plays in providing basic necessities, and it will need support in doing so.
The group ate lunch back at the guesthouse and went to the new girls’ division of the Maison Fortune orphanage. They interacted with the girls: painting nails, playing soccer and basketball, and listening to Justin Bieber and High School Musical music. All of the boys even painted nails and Brian and Aneesh were treated to manicures and pedicures. After an hour of playing with these girls, the group headed back to the guesthouse to pack and prepare for departure tomorrow. We will visit the American Red Cross in Petion-ville tomorrow morning before our flight back to the States.
Highlights of the Day:
Elizabeth: Interacting with the girls during Stuart’s lesson in Clory
Stuart: Piloting my women’s empowerment curriculum at Manno and Theard’s school in Clory
Brian: Interviewing more people in Hinche.
Bridget: Bonding with the girls at the orphanage
Aneesh: The meeting with DINEPA, which made me realize how terrible the water system is in Hinche.
Wyatt: Discussing the NGOs’ role in providing basic necessities versus the government’s role with Aneesh, Brian, and Mr. Doar.