Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Haiti School Waiting List and Registrations

Hello Everyone!

It is now almost 6 a.m. and I have been up since 4 a.m. -- my normal rise and shine. The electrician and plumber are both supposed to be here at 6 a.m. so the coffee is ready. We have had no water in the house since Saturday morning. I guess the calcium (kalk) in our well water has stopped up (bouche) our plumbing. I really miss the usual cold trickle of a shower.

Our guests from Canada are already on their way -- they arrive tomorrow -- so am hoping their camping experience works for them here. I have managed to arrange for a driver to meet them at the airport when they arrive. Rosemary is out of the country, but gave me permission to hire their driver and their vehicle for the airport transfer. I really appreciate this, as their driver's work load doubles when she is away.

I realize that I often write things to friends which really should also be presented to all of you. In an earlier communication, I mentioned we had a wait list of 40-plus, and that last Thursday, Claudy and Louisena had come down the mountain from Sen Rafayel, and we spent the entire day putting together lists for Sen Rafayel. I sent back with them the funds to register (inskri) 48 students in College VIncent Oge, Lycee Charlemagne Perault, College Bon Berger, College Roi Henri Christophe, The Nouvo Lycee and Sen Jozef.

Yesterday, Auguste and I spent (tried to spend) the entire day preparing a master list for registrations. We ended up with 107 names on that list, using last Friday as our cut off date. Remember, we had 80 from last year to consider, as well as some we were still in touch with from last year's wait list. Registration only holds a place for these students, until scolarite and first trimeste fees are paid. Only then does a student know whether or not she/he will attend school. We also make certain our young people understand that registration does not mean we will have sufficient funds to pay for the year.

Due to lack of transportation, we have only been able to make three home visits. Our young people are scattered throughout Cap-Haitien and Sen Rafayel, which makes it difficult.

Yesterday alone, we had 20 students enter the compound. They came to ask for school support, bringing with them all necessary documents. We turned away another 12, asking them to return with their Acte de Naissance (birth certificate), kane de payman (payment card), denye kane-a (last report card) and atestasyon (official state document, which is purchased after successfully writing state exams for Certificate (to enter high school), or 9eme (end of 3rd year high school) or Rheto and Philo.

The twenty who came yesterday are at the top of our second wait list. As I said in an email to a friend last night, this is a flood, a flood of desperate young people who believe that education is the only answer. One young man said to me, "When I lie down on the floor at night to sleep, and I feel sick and hungry, and I'm sad because I miss my mother, and the rats and cockroaches are clicking away near me, and I am afraid to go to sleep, I know that everything will be better in the morning because I get to go to school. I think I would die if I didn't go to school."

Given the large number of students seeking help, and that the waiting list is constantly changing based on whether or not they pass or fail, makes it very difficult to keep the waiting list on the web site up to date. The school system here is far from perfect.

For example, Paulaine was denied entrance to write Rheto as the state said she had not written 9eme. She brought in her atestasyon for 9eme proving her eligibility, but no matter -- her year is lost. Now she wants to enter a trade.

Modeline successfully wrote 2eme (after having surgery for a tumor in April); however, she is now being denied entry into Rheto as she did not pass 9eme three years ago. The school she attended knew this, but had encouraged her to go on rather than retake the year, so she went on. Now she is stuck with the only option available -- she must retake 9eme, write the exam, and only then go into rheto the next year.

We work with one young person at a time here, and it is never simple or straightforward. Each youth deserves to be heard, even if we aren't able to support them. We had to turn down a young man in Sen Rafayel because he was 30 years old, and just starting his first year of high school. He had an average (moyen) of 7.9 out of 10. We realized he would be almost 40 when he finished high school, and probably married with children. These types of difficult decisions are excruciating. If we had a large fund base, we could offer more financial support, and that young man and those on the wait list would all have 'possibilite'.

I write out of frustration this morning because you and I know that there is enough money in the world to feed, clothe and educate all 4 million of Haiti's orphans. Please help us do more. It is NOT an impossible dream. Together, we can make it happen, but we need to start now. Don't let these amazing, brave young people languish as you plan your next car purchase, house upgrade, vacation. To those who are currently supporting these young people, a big Thank You on their behalf.

The bosses have arrived -- the work day has begun.
Pi ta (later)

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