Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Salad Bar

I've been collecting morsels of my Haiti life for about a week- small bits that aren't enough to warrant separate blogs, but interesting occurrences nonetheless. For your enjoyment, a salad bar of recent happenings:

Last week I was having lunch with a high school student (we eat with the kids every day), and I asked him his Easter plans. He said he had no plans. I asked where he went to church usually. He said his family doesn't, and that he's "not very religious". This brought to a point something I've been discovering for awhile- the frank truth is, a bunch of my kids don't have a relationship with Jesus. They may be "religious", or be "from a Christian family", but for some, Bible's just a class like geometry or physics. One representative of a church directly asked, "well, that's nice that you teach during the day, but what do you do that's related to evangelism?" in the midst of a conversation where he was explaining to me that our work doesn't count as missions. I think I imagined that a school in Haiti full of missionary kids would be like 24/7 church camp, with occasional exams or worksheets. In reality, the kids may be much more like students at Christian private schools in the States.

Last week we held a high school debate. Tony, our math teacher, was working with the high schoolers on the principles of logic. To explore these principles in practice, he put them in teams and assigned them to create logical arguments for why their favorite superhero was the best. Ben and I were the debate judges. The championship round came down to Robin (as in "Batman and") vs. Jean Gray. Things got heated, yelling, laughing. The freshmen ladies of Team Jean Gray won the day- it was so very fun.

We celebrated Easter last weekend at our house church. Afterward we had a potluck, complete with banana pudding, ham, and an actual salad (with real vegetables! and real Italian dressing!). It was nourishment for my insides.

My English classes started novels yesterday. We'll spend the next several weeks on The Old Man and the Sea (7-8th grades), Great Expectations (9-10th grades), and The Great Gatsby (11th graders). Usually, the 12th graders spend the whole day with Corrigan, who teaches them in multiple subjects. He's leaving for about 10 days, so starting tomorrow I won't have break periods because I'll be with the seniors in the morning. I'm excited- I haven't gotten to really get to know them or engage them academically.

We gave out progress reports recently. I had two middle school boys with very, very low scores on our weekly SAT vocab quizzes. I took them aside and told them that for the next quiz, they were going to be partners, and that they were required to come to my room and do flashcards together the day before the quiz. This morning, I took them aside after chapel and showed them the results of yesterday's quiz- 97% for both! They beamed, and I was so proud.

I'm still meeting with a high school girl who lost her father in the quake. She met with Dr. Carter, the Canadian trauma counselor who was here in Haiti for a month recently, and he felt she could use a female older friend to talk to. He asked if she had one, she said no.... but maybe Mrs. Kilpatrick. When Dr. Carter told me this, I was so humbled. But then I realized- it's true, there are only two girls in the 10th and 11th grades combined right now, as the others have evacuated. They must feel so alone. So we talk.

Today, the juniors are working hard to figure out a way to take the ACT. There was only one approved testing site in Haiti, and it collapsed in the quake. I thought to myself- in the US, kids are trying everything to avoid those kinds of tests. I think I slept through the ACT once, then my parents made me re-pay to take it again. When I took it, there were probably 50 test sites in my city alone. Here, they can't find one. It just reminded me, sometimes things are so much harder here.

Today, the high school classes made butter. MADE butter! Tony, the math teacher, lives on campus, and he had the kids over to his apartment to make butter from scratch- the churning, the whole nine yards. A few weeks ago they made apple pie and lemon pie in teams, then got teachers to vote on which was better. I LOVE the things we can do with such a tiny school.

And finally. I thought to myself several times in the last few days how much I love my non-driving, non-cell-phone-using life. I have not driven since December 29th. Many of you know I hate driving. I hate traffic. I hate getting lost, and driving in rush hour. Now I commute approximately 20 steps to work each day. I bought a Haitian cell phone upon arrival, and I have made exactly 3 calls from it, and I have received exactly 10 calls. In Haiti, you buy a go phone and buy rechargeable minute cards. If your phone runs out of minutes, you can receive calls but not make any. My phone card ran out of minutes in late January, and I have not recharged it. I absolutely love it.


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