The work continues here in Bois D’Avril. Every morning I have to pause for a moment on my way to the bathroom and just gape at the surrounding mountains. I wonder if the people here are as constantly struck by the beauty as I am – or if they’re too busy trying not to twist their ankle walking up the rocky road to look up and admire. Maybe the villagers feel the same way about technology. For me, it’s just something that wakes me up in the morning (cell phone alarm) and keeps me up at night (talking to other volunteers on Skype). But for them, it’s a new marvel.
Anyway, despite the distraction of the scenery training continues. Children have began participating in classes along with the teachers, which means the lesson sometimes has to pause for a moment while we help the younger ones find a menu option or something. Luckily, the teachers have started stepping in at those moments to assist with telling the kids where to click, and in the end I think that experience helping them can be valuable. Another thing that helps is seating the children in groups so that when you show one all the others follow. Still, we’re trying to structure the day now so teachers arrive an hour before and get some more advanced learning in before the kids arrive.
Jeanide and Ruben are both from the city, so being up here is a new experience for them. I know Ruben’s enjoyed the chance to talk with a fellow school director about the difficulties of getting an institution up and running. They were joking the other day about how much of a pain getting registered is. Christelle said, “I don’t want Martelly to come down here and tell me what to do.”
Jeanide’s been giving Christelle her own recommendations for the school, helping her prepare a list of guidelines to parents. And when the kids struggled with a basic geography game, she sat down after class and hand-drew a map of Haiti, labeling all the departments.
Meanwhile, I’m just trying to soak it all in. I’ve always been interested in spending more time in small, isolated villages like this here in Haiti. It’s a struggle to bring technology here – people lack experience and exposure to even basics like cell phones, and there’s certainly no electricity, and the young professionals we’d like to hire as teachers have already left for the city. But I think if we can get a computer program to work in a place like this, we can get it to work anywhere. Of course, Bois D’Avril has a few advantages the other schools don’t because of Deb and John’s generosity. Here, for example, the cycle’s been reversed – Deb and John provide the teachers with a living space, enabling them to leave their homes down in the capital to come help the community here. Otherwise, it would be insane for them to just move into a random village where they didn’t know anyone – these places are so tightly-knit that an outsider would have a lot of problems and worries.
I’ve still got a lot of learning to do about all the diverse places that make up this country. That’s one job that will never be done.