Classes re-opened in the school on Tuesday!
Because of the stressful and panic-stricken way in which classes closed in November, the school staff opened each morning this week with a special chapel to help the kids relax and reintegrate into the school environment. The teachers also incorporated some fun activities into their class time. It was plainly evident that both teachers and students were so happy for school to begin again!
Despite the lingering difficulties of getting cash and supplies, the cafeteria continues to provide a light meal at noon.
We just received some boxes of rice yesterday from a friend in a nearby organization, so that will really help!
The rest of our staff continues to maintain their regular responsibilities and "do the next thing" with whatever resources are available to them.
DDL has been working on the preparation and development of a couple plots of land for reforestation. In the photo above, they are building a water cistern on a plot of land we affectionately refer to as "The Forest."
"The Forest" is actually a project taken on personally by Williamso, who has put much of his own time, money, and energy into it. He wants it to serve as an example to other young people to do the same...in other words, he wants to encourage them to believe in, to invest in and to develop their own community. He has been using the project as a teaching ground for the young men and boys who are part of fòmasyon as well.
On the ladies' side, Josiane has also been leading by example in developing her own plot of land given to her by her father. Here, she is getting some help planting trees. She works very hard to water and protect these trees.
The rest of our staff--whose regular job duties have been disrupted due to restrictions caused by the country lockdown--are also participating in community development.
Some of the ladies have been collecting and sorting gravel from a new reforestation plot. We hope one day to also construct a medical clinic on this spot. Although this is a somewhat distant project, we have come to refer to this piece of land as the "clinic land." Collecting gravel is important because 1) it clears the ground for trees and 2) it is needed for construction.
This is a shot Judy took on the drone. The land in the middle with all the holes is Josiane's land. Across the canal in the upper left-hand corner is the "clinic land."
And of course, fòmasyon continues. Here is a parting shot from the boys fòmasyon this past Saturday. They are learning the traditional craft of weaving with thatch.
To be completely honest, it is still extremely difficult to evaluate the situation of the country. Things seem to be calming down a bit, especially in Port-au-Prince. However, Gonaïves--the city nearest to us--has been very cho ("hot"...ie, lots of unrest, etc). Security and stability are totally unpredictable. The road may be clear today and then buses waylaid tomorrow. Despite the uproar of the past few months, nothing has actually been resolved...at least not as far as anyone can tell. There is seemingly nothing to show as a result. So no one can tell how long the "calm" will last. Functioning and supplies are still difficult. Two stories:
Story 1: The School--Up until Sunday, we didn't eve know that school would be opening on Tuesday. As November drew to a close, we once more faced several factors that caused us to ask if we could even continue functioning in December. We had several meetings over the weekend about how things could work.
By Friday, the school had already developed a plan for the month that did not involve classes. Then we heard on Sunday morning that schools across the country were opening. Everything had to do a complete 180...again. The school admin already had a parents' meeting planned, but they completely changed what they were going to talk about! In concert with the parents, they decided to open classes on Tuesday.
Story 2: Trying to get to Port-au-Prince--I (Krischelle) am supposed to fly to the States on Tuesday. Road travel remains out of the question, so I had seat confirmed on a flight that was chartered to go to Port-de-Paix. They were going to swing by and pick me up on the Plateau. Unfortunately, the charter was canceled. There are no more charters coming this way. Other contacts we have for planes to come to Anse-Rouge are unavailable. Great. So what are we going to do?
I will spare you the frustrating details, the multiple phone calls, and the attempts to make contacts and collect information. Suffice to say that I finally was able to confirm only this morning (Friday) that on Sunday morning, I will be going to Port-de-Paix by motorcycle to catch a seat on a small, private airline that makes regular flights to Port-au-Prince. From there, I will stay with a friend until my flight leaves for the US on Tuesday.
These two stories give snapshots of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, nothing-is-easy, never-know-what-is-going-to-happen, change-your-plan-10-times way we have had to function over the past few months.
We are so thankful for the ways God has sustained, blessed, and provided for us during this very difficult time for Haiti. We have had times of prayer overflowing with just thankfulness. As always, the visible growth of our young leaders and the evident joy exuding from the
fòmasyon groups continue to encourage us and energize our souls.
At the same time, it has been exhausting, stressful, and frustrating. As we look ahead, we can't see an end in sight...we can't see very far ahead at all.
So out of a heart overflowing with praise for what God is doing in lives here on the Plateau--for the fact that He IS working and nothing can stop that--we would appreciate your continued prayers for us and for our staff and community.