New, Exciting Developments

On Tuesday I went to the weekly GPLA meeting. GPLA stands for Group for the Future of Ansapit, and it’s basically a community organization that meets every week to talk about the town’s concerns. 101 people attended (and attend regularly), sitting or standing in a circle outside. They’re really organized, with one secretary taking attendance, another taking minutes, and a moderator choosing who gets to speak.

One of the secretaries, Babou, is extremely involved in the local community – he works at both Sadhana (environmental group providing accomodations here), Ayiti Moun Yo (an orphanage), and obviously GPLA too. He was working with Project Rive before we even arrived here, in charge of selecting five teachers so we could begin classes right away.

So, on Tuesday, I went with Babou to the beach and we had one of those long late-night conversations where you talk about everything you’d like to see happen without worrying (yet) about if it’s going to see the light of day. Among other things, I learned that Babou understands the importance of what we’re doing and wants to do whatever possible to see it continue.

We got in some immediately-practical details, too: Babou wants Project Rive to set up camp in the GPLA office. It’s a fantastic opportunity – the vision is for a “community center” and GPLA is obviously a central community fixture, plus it’s right on the main road. They’ve also already got a room with tables and chairs available, and a way to secure our equipment.

I guess the only downside is that I didn’t really prepare for this – with Sadhana I knew what to expect so we talked for months, whereas this new chance is better than anything I could have hoped for but there are some details to still sort out.

Anyway, yesterday I met with Albe, who owns the house and office, and he’s handing over the keys to the classroom on Monday so we can have our first real class complete with kids there. Later on we’ll be sitting down and putting everything into writing, and I’ve got a whole month to get a vibe of everything and make sure we’re all comfortable. I’ve got pretty high hopes: it’s great to be receiving local support right from the start. This project doesn’t belong to me, Sadhana, GPLA, the teachers, the kids, or the supporters – it belongs to Ansapit.

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