Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Letter #55

I've been sitting at the table reading letters since 6:30am  Dogs and cats have been fed, George the rooster is quiet at the moment. I can eat later.

Every May, as part of our intake strategy,  we accept letters from those who were unable to attend school this year. Although that is our criteria, there are always those who have been sitting out for much longer who find a scrap of paper and a pen and briefly tell their story in the hopes of support. If we had the funds, I would say yes to everyone who meets our requirements. But we don't, so as a staff we have to choose - who gets to live with hope and who is crushed because we are the only chance in Sen Rafayel. I have another blog ready to go but this one is demanding my time.

Reviewing letter protocol with Sen Rafayel staff
(Solange, me, Nicoly, Edeline, Kesner)

You would think that after 14 years the stories which unfold in the letters we receive would become conmmonplace. You would think that after 54 letters which demand and deserve full attention, that #55 would be no different.  But each letter still touches me and each story contains the lives of real people in impossible circumstances.

Her name is Arinie - we have to return her letter because she forgot to include her birthdate.

" Madam mwen santim kontan jodia poum di'w bonjou ou bonswa, e m'ap swete wkouraj nan bon travay w'ap fe nan peyi nou."

Madam, I am happy to-day to say good morning or good afternoon, and I wish you courage in the good work you are doing in our country.

"...mwen pa gen papa, men se peche pwason li te ye se pandan li t'ap peche, pyel glise nan yon basen dlo, le neje epi li mouri. Depi le sa manman m vin pa gen bon sans sou li koonya nan moman papa'm mouria, mwen te kay yon kouzen m potoprens."

I don't have a father, while he was fishing his feet slipped in the water, he swam but he died. Since my dad died, my mother has lost her mind so I went to the house of a cousin in Port-au-Prince."

"le'map vini nan lan mo' a machine chavire ave'm. Pye'm te kase ak yon zo nan sentim."

On my way there, the bus skidded. My feet were broken and a bone in my lower back.
"Sa te vin koz mwen pran echek."

That's the reason I didn't pass (my year at school).

She ends by saying:

"nan moman sa mwen vle tounen lekol paske mwen mache sou de pye'm koonye a. Tanpri pran ke'm jis pou m efase enpe chagrin ."

At the present time I would like to return to school because I am walking on 2 feet again. Please help my heart erase a little of the sorrow (grief, heartache)."

There are 54 letters before hers and as many again I have yet to read.


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