Lots going on.
Today I took a (really long) walk up Delmas to a really exciting meeting with my friend Irene, who is Quisqueya's guidance counselor. We met with staff members from Beyond Borders, a nonprofit working to end child abuse in Haiti. They have a numbers of programs to address child slavery in Haiti (did you know there are currently 300,000 child slaves in Haiti called "restaveks"?) as well as child abuse.
|"The Importance of talks between adults and children"|
Irene and I were there to think about how Quisqueya can further protect children from abuse. There is a crisis component, in which there are specific cases of abuse/neglect going on within our school community. Then there is the larger issue of empowering our school community (parents, staff, and even students) to be more aware of what counts as child abuse, and what they could do if they suspected it. At the end of our meeting with their staff, we brainstormed ways that we might adapt some of Beyond Border's ideas and methods to our own unique school situation.
I'll get real with you here. There are times when a student writes something in a book report that sucks your breath away. There are times when a student hangs back after class and tells you how they've been hurt. In the States, we know just what to do: abuse = call CPS. But in Haiti, there is no CPS. There is no 911. I have no idea how to call the police, or if they would even care. I can love a student, listen, offer comfort... but I have no personal power to make it stop, or remove you from the situation. The desire to attend this meeting today came out of that place.
Other things going on:
Tonight we went to a goodbye party for a girl whose NGO had to cancel her contract early due to lack of funds. We currently have four friends who have been put on notice that they may suffer the same fate. Many nonprofits who were flush with cash following the earthquake are now running out, causing them to downsize.
Ben's birthday is coming up in two weeks. He'll actually be gone, chaperoning a senior class hike up to the mountains of Seguin. I did that hike last year - remember when I sought shelter from a rainstorm in a random Haitian farmer's shack? Remember when the drunk grandpa so kindly assisted me in brushing the dirt off my butt?
My discipleship group is having a sleepover in March at one of the girls' houses.
Our dear little puppy Jefe comes to live with us right after Valentine's Day.
We will have a week off of school for Haitian Karnival in late February.
In two months we take 13 of our students to Washington, DC!
And we're teaching. Ben starts All Quiet on the Western Front with the 9th grade soon, and I'm in the middle of Night and Great Gatsby with 10th and 11th grades, respectively. I had a junior take the SAT last Saturday, and she said there were five words on the test that she learned from my vocabulary list last semester. Six of our 24 seniors have now gotten a "yes" from a college. For the first time in my two years of teaching, every single student turned in their outside reading assignment for January.
Small victories, people, small victories.