After a litany of extraordinary obstacles, Jack delivered a box of supplies from Pennsylvania yesterday. Thank you, Mme Cindy. Inside, in addition to much needed hygiene products, was a book by Nuala O'Faolain titled Are You Somebody? (Holt and Co.,1996). The introduction resonated with me, evoking Haiti's children. "I was...a nobody, who came of an unrecorded line of nobodies...I took it for granted that like most of the billions of people who are born and die on this planet I was just an accident. There was no reason for me...Yet my life burned inside me...I'm not anybody in terms of the world, but then who decides what a somebody is? How is a somebody made?...most people, like me, feel remarkable..." (pg.4,5)
Last night during a lengthy telephone conversation, a friend spoke of our young people seeking post-secondary support. "Can they do it?" she asked. I replied that anyone who can successfully write State National exams in Haiti can succeed in a post-secondary institution. Like Nuala O'Faolain, our young people have life burning inside them. They know they can become agronomists, dentists, masons, medical technologists, electrical engineers, mechanics, nurses, doctors. Arriving at the threshold of post-secondary studies, I can say from close observation they are remarkable.
|Edeline J. - waiting|
Edeline is waiting for a sponsor or group of sponsors (see Starthrowers in Action) to study Medical Technology, a 3 year program in Cap-Haitien. She completed Philo last summer. She is an orphan with no siblings. Currently, she is staying with a cousin in Sen Rafayel but has an aunt who will literally give her floor space in Cap-Haitien to attend school.
"Who decides what a somebody is? How is a somebody made?" They are made by life experiences, Edeline was beginning her teens when she started primary school. Patient and determined describe her.
Nicoly has a different life story. He has 4 brothers and 4 sisters. His father is dead, and his mother has been ill (pap viv ansante) since his death. There is an older brother who disappeared 8 years ago.
|Rose-Guerlande B. -waiting|
Like Edeline, Rose-Guerlande is an orphan. She stays with an aunt in Cap-Haitien. While awaiting support (soutyen) to study dentistry, she is taking intensive Spanish to help her with the equivalency tests in the Dominican Republic. She was awarded a bursary for the final 4 years of high school, based on academic performance. This was a first - unprecendented for someone from the ranks of the poor to be recognized and rewarded. Like the others, she is bright, patient and determined. She has suffered dental woes all her life and with your support, will change that for others in her corner of the world. If successful writing entrance exams at PUCMM (Pontoficia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra, Santiago) she will room with pre-med students Elorge and Marlene. The dental program is five years plus Spanish equivalency.
|Peterson J. - waiting|
I remember when I thought it would be miraculous if we had one student complete secondary school. In addition to our 9 sponsored post-secondary students and these 4, we have another 8 waiting. There will be 16 more writing Philo(last year of high school) in July. Every year we have a higher success rate than the national average. We're doing something right.
No matter where my feet take me in this country, whether tromping through a field to look at land for building or scaling a rickety, hand-made ladder in San Rafayel to examine the roof on a potential new office space, I am surrounded by remarkable people.