The beginning of the trip was exciting as usual! It is so much fun to see all of the members of the community showing up to learn all week! The coolest and most rewarding part of this trip is being able to make real connections with the people that we are teaching. I speak French, and the second language of almost all Haitians is French because it is the language of instruction in their schools. This makes being able to connect so much easier with everyone because many of them don’t speak English extremely well. It is also really amazing to know French because it makes understanding their native Haitian creole easier since it’s a derivative of French.
The class is set up all week so that UA students are interspersed with Haitians in small groups throughout the church where we are teaching. This allows each UA student to form more personal relationships with the people they are working directly with because the Haitian culture is not the kind of culture to be lectured at for hours on end. This is something we learned very quickly after our first trip last May.
As the week went on, each UA student did a variety of activities with their groups to go through the curriculum we had set out or went through directly advising on a special project that one of the class participants may have needed assistance with.
I was fortunate enough to work with an amazing woman from the village with an existing business already named Marie Clairenise Augustin. I spent the week finding out details about how she does business and imparting new ways that she may be able to make her business more efficient or more profitable, which was a very valuable use of her time. It was made more difficult by the fact that she did not speak a word of English, though. Most of the week the two of us were just speaking in French, with some of the time using a translator in creole.