by Dahanah Josias Sejour
This January I had the opportunity to spend a week in Cap Haitien, Haiti where we spent most of our time working at a school in the town of Cima. I will admit that I was not sure what to expect before going – I was excited, for after leaving Haiti at the age of 7 this would be my first time back to Haiti, but I was also nervous and anxious to see how we would implement our work and how it would be received. I was not at all prepared for the experience I would have during my short stay in Haiti. I was blown away by how comfortable and at peace I felt. The people we encountered were amazing. From our hostess to the teachers we worked with, everyone welcomed us with open arms.
Our focus on this trip was education; our goal was to provide teachers with information, strategies and supplies that would build upon what they already had. I believe an important thing that we did before our work was to observe teachers and have a conversation with them to see what they already knew or were doing, what problems they faced, and hear what they were hoping to get out of the training we would be providing. The key was first building a relationship, exchanging thoughts and ideas and overall opening up the line of communication because the last thing we wanted to do is create an atmosphere where we just told them what to do or what’s effective without them having any input. I think another thing that we did that allowed us to build a relationship with the teachers was taking a day to socialize with them outside of the classroom by going to the beach. You can tell that the teachers truly enjoyed this moment as we played games, ate together and relaxed after days of training. I believe this trip laid a great foundation for future work with the school in Cima and I am excited by the work that will be continued by our remaining team members.