Saturday, July 21, 2012

Graduation Weekend Festivities

Various people from North America came to Haiti to be a part of the first ever high school graduation in Gramothe. A couple of people came the Monday before graduation and spent the week with us, while most of the visitors came in on Thursday afternoon. We had a good contingent from Terre Haute--including the medical director and her daughter, both of the MTM office ladies--in addition to friends from Canada, Oregon, Iowa, and other parts of Indiana. All of the MTM board members were here for the festivities. It's hard to explain how exciting it was to have so many MTM friends and supporters here all at the same time!

Another bonus to having all these people here was the more relaxed atmosphere. There was a schedule, but since the team came for graduation and not a clinic week or construction project there was more time to just hang out and fellowship together. It was really a lot of fun.

Early Friday morning the "team" went to Dumay to meet sponsored children and see what's going on there. When they got back, they went up to Gramothe to deliver gifts to sponsored children and check things out. Arold and I skipped out on Dumay (he had to work, and I didn't want to get up that early), but we did spend time with the team in Gramothe. Everybody ate lunch together. Then Mr. John and Mr. Ron built a wood cabinet for someone in the village while we were there, and the rest of us took in a soccer match between the teachers and senior class.

On Saturday, the MTM board held their annual meeting while the non-board members decorated the church for graduation. In the afternoon about a dozen young people from the church were baptized, and I think everyone attended that. That evening the 14 graduates and the two high school administrators came to the guest house for a special dinner. The North Americans enjoyed talking with the graduates and learning more about their lives. The students enjoyed practicing English and eating lots of good food. After dinner, some gifts were given and various people addressed the students. It was a great night!

Sunday was a long day. Regular church in the morning, a trip back to the guest house for some snacks, and then back to Gramothe for the graduation ceremony and reception afterwards. The ceremony was not too long (thank you Willem for cutting down the program!), but it started raining (pouring really) in the middle of it. That just meant people were not eager to leave, so they took all the time they wanted/needed to take pictures and enjoy the food at the reception in the cafeteria. It was a very joyous time.

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