Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Haiti Q & A: Your responsibilities?

Q. What will you be doing in Haiti?
A. I will have several tasks while I am in Haiti, most of which revolve around teaching English. What I'm looking forward to most is teaching English to 13 kids living at Laboule Children's Home. All of them are orphans between the ages of 7 and 14. The Red Thread has generously donated curriculum for this intense instruction.

Another big chunk of what I will be doing is helping the high school students at Gramothe Community School (I'm not sure what it's actually called) learn English. There is a Haitian who teaches English already, so I will be collaborating with him. My job will be to provide a language lab of sorts. From my understanding the students will attend regular class with the other teacher and then come to my class for extra practice on listening and speaking skills.

Someone at The Red Thread has created English curriculum for use with smaller children. I'll be providing basic English instruction for the kindergarten and first grade classes at Gramothe Community School. This is a little out of my comfort zone, but I think it will be a fun challenge.

The last part of my assignment is probably the one that causes the most trepidation for me. Willem and Beth have been given some moringa tree seeds and a program of sorts to implement that will teach people about the tree. They've asked me to incorporate the moringa tree into my work with the high school students. I'll be using some literature on the tree (in Creole) to teach about it's amazing nutritional value. In addition, I'm supposed to teach the students how to plant and care for the trees. Willem has a plot of land ready for me to use, and Beth has promised to help me implement the program. Frankly, I'm quite intimidated by this task!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Haiti Q & A: Why Gramothe, Haiti?

Q. Why are you moving to Gramothe, Haiti?

A. The short answer is God has called me there. If I were to choose a place to live overseas, it would be a Spanish speaking urban area with a good public transportation system. On my own, I would never choose to live in a place that is frequently hit by hurricanes and apparently also experiences earthquakes. The desire I have to move to Gramothe, a small mountain village outside of Port au Prince, is completely unnatural. I can only attribute the peace I have about this move to the Lord.

Over the last year I have become more aware of this thing called human trafficking. I've joined some friends in the Michiana area to raise awareness about its existence. In my research I've learned that Haiti has a serious human trafficking problem. Even before the earthquake, extreme poverty forced parents in rural Haiti to send their children to strangers who promised their children a better life. The problem is that not all of those strangers kept their end of the bargain--an estimated 300,000 Haitian children are what we would call slaves. "The name for these children in Haiti is restav├Ęk, a Creole word that comes from the French reste avec, "stay with," but has evolved to become a general slur meaning worthless." (Marian Wright Edelman)

One way to fight against human trafficking is to prevent it from happening in the first place. In Haiti preventing rural children from becoming victims of human traffickin is pretty simple: education. Providing free education to the children in rural villages allows them to build skills they can use to get a real job. Throwing in a free meal while the kids are at school helps them focus on their school work and helps their parents use their meager finances for other needs. By helping the students in Gramothe learn English, I'll be giving them invaluable skills and preventing those students from experiencing the evils of human trafficking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Haiti Letter May 2010

Here's the letter I sent out on Saturday. It looks better as one document, but I had to piece it together as jpeg files. It's the best I could do.

If you would like to join Team Gramothe by praying regularly, leave a comment on this post and I will put you on my e-mail list. If you would like to join Team Gramothe as a financial partner, you can send a check to Mountain Top Ministries, PO Box 7053, Terre Houte IN 47802 with "0500" in the memo line. Or you can make a donation online.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

They're Off!

It has taken me much longer to send my "Haiti Letters" out to family and friends. Let's just say there were a lot more steps in the process than I thought there were.

Here I am stuffing envelopes at my friend Jen's house.

 And here is a stack of envelopes ready to go. It took me an hour to finish assembling the last 40 envelopes and to put all the stamps on the envelopes!

Hoping God will call some of the recipients of these letters to join "Team Gramothe" as prayer partners and financial backers.