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Friday, April 1, 2011

A Day In My Life

Greetings H.E.R.O. Supporters!

After 3 weeks in Haiti I have arrived back in Nashville for 3 weeks in the U.S. This trip includes class at Vanderbilt, moving to Miami, and a final doctoral presentation on the 16th of April before heading back down to Haiti for an additional month. I am looking forward to graduating in May, as it will enable me to spend even more time in Haiti!
I often have friends ask me what exactly it is I do when I am in Haiti. Being the President of H.E.R.O. is my full time job (even though it pays exactly $0.00), and is truly an all-consuming experience. To be honest, I don’t want to become one of those crazy non-profit people (you know who I am talking about) that eat, drink, breathe, live, and die by their non-profit. First of all, it isn’t healthy, and second of all you aren’t good to anybody when you are dead. So, for those that are curious, here is a typical Monday in the day of the life of Steven Kirby.

It starts by waking up at the H.E.R.O. Transition Home for Orphans at 6:00 AM. Children attending the morning school program must shower, dress, and eat before their morning departure at 7:15 for school. Fortunately, our Director of Children Marlene is always on hand to assist in this process and together we efficiently get the children ready for school. At exactly 7:15 (not earlier, not later) I head out with Robenson and Kervens (soon to be adding Dayana and Christina) on our 20 minute commute to school. We travel the dusty roads of Port-au-Prince in our donated 2000 Mitsubishi Montero (Thanks Natacha!) with the windows down and music up. By 7:45 the kids are at school in time to have their shoes shined, put their books away, and line up for morning assembly. The children safely at school, the rest of my day continues.

Between 8:00 and 12:00 my morning is consumed with errands. Here is a brief list of what often gets accomplished in 4 hours: buy chicken and shoes at the outdoor market, meet with the lawyer, head to the depot to purchase rice and other goods, 1.5 hours at the bank, hit the supermarket for groceries, meeting with the karate instructor, get stuff fixed (sliding glass door, screens on windows, indoor and outdoor plumbing, electrical, reservoir), coordinate pest-control, buy school books for the kids, and much more! These 4 hours are dedicated to doing whatever must be done to keep H.E.R.O. successful. For a more detailed list, send me an e-mail!

12:00 (exactly) is lunch time. Iloude, our in-house chef, prepares delicious local cuisine that always includes a meat, a starch, and vegetables. At 12:30 Francky and I go back to school where he attends the H.E.R.O. Education Program for Street Children, and Robenson and Kervens are picked up to head back for afternoon tutoring at the Transition Home. As I have taken the role of Director at the Education Program I am most often found there from 1:00 – 4:30 PM Monday – Friday. My role as Director includes monitoring student discipline, student attendance, uniform tailoring and delivery, teacher attendance, teacher instruction, meal preparation and delivery, and any other situations that might occur.

At 4:30 Francky and I head back to the Transition Home for an hour of recreation from 5:00-6:00 PM. We are in the process of implementing Karate instruction Mon, Wed., and Fri. and are looking for a hip-hop dance instructor for Tues., Thurs. Other than that, this time is filled with jumping rope, playing soccer, shooting hoops, playing Uno or Chutes and Ladders, running around, and being loud!

6:00 (exactly) we eat dinner. This usually includes 3 adults (me, Marlene, Brice) and 6 children. From 6:30 to 7:30, after we help clean up the table and dishes, it is another hour of play time. This is followed by bath time at 7:30-8:15. My final task of the day is our English lessons that I try to teach Monday-Friday for 45 minutes. I am continuously impressed with how fast our children are picking up English, and the classes can only help. At 8:50, the children head to bed for a final story (in French or English) before lights out at 9:00 PM. Depending on what needs to be done, it is often lights out for me too, or an evening staying up till midnight completing paperwork, composing and responding to e-mails, or planning upcoming events. Regardless, it is always satisfying, laying my head to rest at night, knowing that there are 6 children in our Transition Home and 68 children in our Education program benefiting from the work that we do.

In a nutshell, that is my daily schedule. Of course, there are always situations that occur, such as having to get the car repaired, or school being cancelled due to political tension. But, we deal with those as they come, and continue to work towards providing the best possible living situation for our children. Thank you for all the support that you continue to provide H.E.R.O., it is truly making a difference in the lives of the children in Haiti.

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