Monday, August 8, 2011
Yesterday was the big day! Yesterday we saw the library and mobile learning unit in action! We were welcomed by 60 excited street boys, who were anxious to dig right in and learn! We gave each boy their very own picture library card! They were so proud to wear something that had their own identity to it. It was as if they were being noticed, and they were special. Boys from 3 to 16 years of age checked out books and went to their own shady area to read. Many of us sat down with them and read along. While some were reading, others were doing their English computer module. It was truly inspiring to see these boys yearn for knowledge. In their free time they begged us to do math facts! They are hungry to learn! As I was watching them read and work on their computers, I tried to look deep into their faces. Many of them have scars that likely tell horrible stories from their life on the street. They never dreamed of getting the opportunity to learn! Suddenly, they were given an opening to a whole new world! And they were embracing the opportunity!
Can you imagine what a young orphan can do with knowledge? An education will give these young boys a future! Progress will be slow. But, a commitment to consistent education for the street boys of Haiti could change a generation.
We only have two days left. We are missing our families back home but don't want to leave. There is a quote from Robert Frost hanging up in the house. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."
I met a girl named Waseejka. She is twelve years old and spoke very good English. She told me that her mother is dead and that her mom from Kentucky sends money so she can learn English. She is going to be adopted and move to Kentucky.
The girl who stole my heart was CarolynD. She is a beautiful eight year old girl with a big bright smile. She was very attached to me and wanted to be near or sit with me at all times.
I met another girl whose name was Misha. Misha seemed very sad and she welled up in tears now and again. She took the bubbles that were given to all but she did not play with them. We had trouble communicating as I tried to determine what was wrong. She overheard me asking Waseejka about her Kentucky mom and Misha told me that her mother is dead and her father is dead. She seemed to want comforting and I kept her close and at times she laid her head in my lap and sometimes seemed to be asleep for a few minutes. I asked Waseejka why she cried and Waseejka asked Misha what was wrong. She told me that her head hurts and pointed out to me that Misha had a big lump on her forehead between the eyes. I asked one of our interpreter/guide to inquire about her to see if she might need some medical attention. He determined that about a year ago Misha had suffered an accident and that since then she gets very painful headaches from time to time. I was sad that she will likely continue to suffer and wished I'd had some children's tylenol to help ease her pain.
These girls were around the ages of my two nieces who are very near and dear to my heart. I thought about how much better lives they enjoy-simple comforts and love everyday.