Look who’s here! Junior Monrose, my friend and coordinator for Unleash Kids here in Haiti, traveled 12 hours on dusty mountain roads just to check out how things are going here in Ansapit. With three years of experience he certainly knows his stuff, and as a fellow Haitian doing the same work he’s able to both impress and impress upon my teachers here.
It’s interesting to see the different levels this project is operating at. First of all you have the international community of volunteers engaged in projects all around the world, quick to respond to requests for help or just chat and offer some advice through email. But each project is also a local effort too, with schools, teachers, other organizations, and of course kids coming together for the class.
And then we’ve also got the country level. What we’d really like to do here is build up a network of projects, with courses involving XOs taking place all across the country and lots of collaboration between those that are close to one another. Here in Haiti we’re still trying to figure out what exactly this network is going to look like, but I know one key piece will be each classroom using the same Kreyol materials as we develop them, and another is to start new projects close to old ones and encourage teachers to train the next batch.
For example, around the same time Junior was here there was a church conference here. Pastors met up with colleagues, congregations mixed, and there was discussion about where to start the next set of churches. Not only was this event inspiration for what we might be doing in Haiti one day – it also meant that people from the surrounding area had a chance to encounter Project Rive and develop an interest.
I talked to several engineers from Tchiotte, a nearby town, who have seen their lives change by the education they’ve been lucky enough to receive and now want to see the same for the children in their communities. Tchiotte is similar to Ansapit: larger population, but still rural with little access to good schools, books, or electricity. It’s the ideal place to really make an impact with the sort of work we’re doing. I’ll definitely be talking to this group more to plan how to make something possible, and when the time comes the teachers in Ansapit will probably be training the ones there. We’re just starting out, but it’s nice to already have this vision of what things will look like when they’re bigger. There are definitely plenty of laptops waiting to be released into the wild and plenty of kids waiting to be unleashed to learn.