Friday, November 8, 2013

Haiti Trip Post 5 -- Blocks, Card Games, and Lobster

Another quick report, given the hour….

We offered the first part of Carolyn Kroh’s teacher-education seminar today.  This is part of the work that had impressed the Haitian bishop and canon for education, and it seemed to go over well with the teachers and headmasters, who came from all the Episcopal schools in the southern district.  The training seeks to enhance the first- and second-grade classes by making the learning more student-centered.  So we demonstrated ideas for making math, science, and language arts more interactive through games and manipulatives, experiments, and creative ways of reading to kids.  Actually, just reading aloud to kids is an innovation in the very traditional, rote-response model of education Haiti inherited from the French.  Anyway, the teachers seemed to be having fun playing the games and doing the experiments, so that might imply good things for the students’ experience, too.

Part of our group also visited the local electric company today to investigate what it would take to bring electricity to the school.  There is quite a process involved – not surprising, given the endemic institutional bureaucracy in Haiti – and the official wouldn’t hazard even a ballpark estimate of the potential cost.  In addition to that, we need to step back, process all that we’re learning on this trip, get more input from our Haitian partners, and make come careful decisions about priorities.  New construction, electricity, sound systems and instruments….  We need to work carefully on a long-term plan.

After the seminar, we drove out to the beach at Port Salud to see the sunset and feast at a little restaurant Stan Shaffer knew.  We enjoyed outstanding French cuisine with a Haitian flare – lobster, crab, and fish dishes in wonderful sauces; and bananas flambé for dessert.  Yes, there are some real advantages to mission trips in beautiful locations…. 

And now, the not-so-advantageous part:  A cold shower, followed by a coating of 100% DEET insect repellent before climbing into bed.

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