Friday, February 11, 2011

Starthrower, Statistics and Sen Rafayel

For more than a dozen years, the Starthrower story has been a voice inside my head. Although needs are often pressing here in Haiti and dire situations frequently arise, the Starthrower's response to a situation created by the universe is a reminder that I am one person but I can do something. University of Toronto student Andreas (Frostbike) also knew that he could do something.

 Every young person who writes an unsolicited letter,  stops me on the street in the village or sits across from me in an interview leaves an imprint. Their stories imprint  on my spirit and when the opportunity to take on new students presents itself, I return to those we were unable to support last time. Some day we'll be able to catch up. Yesterday we were  working on last September's waiting list, thanks to Frostbike.

In Sen Rafayel, the canal project is coming along. Getting in and out of the office is more of a challenge now, but we managed.

This mini obstacle course keeps me fit.
 Our 'office' is the white building.
Two weeks ago I delivered a list of 15 students who were of concern to me from September. Thirteen arrived for interviews. The two absent sent letters of explanation. We'll meet with them in March. Within the group, 8 have both parents deceased, 5 have father deceased, mother ill or paralyzed, 2 have both parents living but they are ill. None has a parent who  attended school. In several cases, they are the oldest in the family and responsible for younger siblings.  These are the faces of statistics.

Adelta - both parents deceased
(3eme - 4th year high school)
Raphael - both parents deceased
(2eme - 5th year high school)
Anne-Mercie - father deceased,
mother ill
(3eme - 4th year high school)
Wilno - both parents deceased
 (Rheto - 6th year high school)

Marrion -father killed in quake,
 mother injured
(Philo - Last year high school)
Jodelin - both parents deceased
 (Rheto - 6th year high school)

Mirlene - both parents deceased (8eme - second year high school). Staff member Kesner
( standing behind-both parents and 2 siblings deceased)

Lunes - both parents deceased
(Rheto - 6th year high school)

Angeline - father deceased,
 mother ill.
(3eme - 4th year high school)
Ducadin -father deceased, mother
(2eme - 5th year high school)
Each young person you see here was  in school  this year - sort of. They were not registered, but  Haitian youth have such a strong desire for education, they borrow uniforms, wear shoes too small, write on scraps of paper, make do with outdated textbooks, eat maybe once a week, are always dehydrated, have never been  to a dentist, doctor, optometrist, never slept in a bed, no access to electricity,  a toilet or running water etc...

But they find a way. Depending on the school, they cannot write exams or pick up a report card, but they can sit in on classes.  This drive will propel them all their lives. They will make amazing doctors, nurses, dentists, electricians, agronomists, politicians, masons, mechanics, bankers.

Because of the funds raised by Frostbike,  as of yesterday (Wed. Feb. 9th) they  are now in school with uniforms  and shoes, back fees paid. Even though they did not write exams, we are obliged to pay from September.  It will be a while before we can find all textbooks/backpacks needed but it will get done.

For those who donated to Andreas's challenge, when you  look at these faces and read the brief information under each, please know that you have changed their lives.  Your pledge of $5. or $50. or the loonie you threw into the pot on pub night has given them school and hope for a year.  Every dollar  makes a difference. You have changed the statistics. You are truly Starthrowers.
On behalf of everyone on this page, thank you.

1 comment:

Taranimator said...

Incredible post! What an inspiring story!! Conratulations Andreas.


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