My favorite activity was leading what I deemed a creative writing workshop. The activity was to read a poem: "Tell me a story, a story of you. Of all the difficulties and joys, too..." and have the girls write their own stories about themselves. Well, it is difficult for them to go beyond the usual "My name is ____, I have ___ brothers and ___ sisters, my mother's name is ___" Here in Haiti, education is rote learning. The teacher says something, the students memorize and repeat it. There is one right answer, one best way to do something; originality and creativity are not meant for the classroom.
I tried to get the girls to write about a day they will always remember, describe a family member who they consider to be a leader, talk about the work they do for their families before and after school...
|My writing workshop!|
The girls had computer classes, practiced public speaking, reflected on their strengths and weaknesses, gave a voice to their dreams, and worked as a team. It was their first time going to any sort of camp, and for many it was their first time going to the ocean.
For me it was a real cultural immersion - nothing but Creole, living a daily Haitian schedule (up before the sun, a lovely mid-day nap, most of the day focused on cooking, dishes, and cleaning), and eating real Haitian food (spaghetti for breakfast and cream of wheat for dinner).
And these girls were so much fun, and so inspirational, to be with for the week. They all have big dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, diplomats... they really are the bright future of Haiti!
|Oh and they braided my hair. I looked like Princess Lea/a Dutch maid.|