Haiti Day 13 and 14: The Ups and Downs of Progress
This post is divided into three sections. The first section is devoted to the work Michele and I began with SOPUDEP on Monday, April 12th. The second section is devoted to the Red Cross. The third section is devoted to news about the donated land to H.E.R.O. Please support our cause as we continue to secure basic human rights for orphans and street children in Haiti. http://www.haitihero.org/
Today Michele and I began volunteering at SOPUDEP, teaching English. The SOPUDEP School, which had been damaged during the earthquake, has reopened to some 100 students from grades Pre-K to 12. Being short on staff, Rea asked us if we would be willing to teach English, and we obliged. As a result, Michele taught approximately 50 middle school students and I taught roughly 30 high school students. For 2 hours we conversed with our students in broken English and broken Kreyol, and were pleasantly surprised at the amount of English they knew. The students were extremely happy to be back in school after 3 months. In fact, today was the 3 month anniversary of the earthquake. For the students, a return to education is a return to normalcy in their lives. I only wish that we were able to accommodate more students, considering that 100 students is only one fifth of the student population that attended SOPUDEP before the earthquake. Attached is a video of my high school English class, as the Director of SOPUDEP, Rea Dol, ensures that the students are doing their work.
Who knew that my Blog Post about the American Red Cross in Haiti would reach the eyes and ears of the Senior Press Officer for the American Red Cross or the Head of Office of the American Red Cross in Haiti? As a result of my post, my Aunt Carolyn wrote to the Senior Press Officer, referring him to my Blog and comments. Today I talked with the Head of Office of the American Red Cross in Haiti and he has arranged for me to ride along with a mobile medical unit this coming Wednesday and to attend an aid distribution later this week. I want to make it clear, that I will give a fair analysis to any organization that is doing relief work in Haiti. Just the fact that they have taken the time to listen to my concerns and invite me into the field is, to me, impressive. I will keep you updated with the results of my excursions into the field with the American Red Cross.
There has been an unfortunate development with the land donated to H.E.R.O. After visiting the land and finding out that it was possible that the Haitian government would claim eminent domain in all of La Plaine, we found out it is true. The 3000 square meters of flat land has been taken by the Haitian government, and is no longer available for our use. We are not deterred, however. We know that when one door closes, another door opens, and it was not meant to be to build on that land. We are still pursuing options to acquire land for free or for little charge, and if necessary, will purchase land outright for our project. We will not let a barrier or obstacle come in our way to successfully create a program that houses, educates, and rehabilitates orphans and street children in Haiti. We will keep you updated with our progress, and hope that you will continue to support our efforts to serve the most disenfranchised youth in Haiti, the orphans and street children.