By: Caroline Kaufman
Today was our third day with the kids and I can't believe we only have one day left. For today's English lesson, we taught our groups colors, using white boards, a homemade color wheel, bracelet making and the game of twister. Everything went smoothly and the kids loved the activities we did. They remembered almost everything we had previously taught them such as directions and numbers.
Each day, I'm more and more impressed by how eager the kids are to learn and how quickly they catch on to new things. Most of the kids already knew the colors before we even taught them.
In my opinion, the activity most loved by the kids was the bracelet making. This started as a morning activity but continued into the afternoon. The kids loved making bracelets for themselves, but mostly enjoyed making them for us. I had children that I hadn't met yet asking me which colors I wanted for the bracelet they were about to make me.
It's amazing how much the kids want to give to other people especially when they don't have much to give. I think that says a lot about their character and and shows just how special they really are. When the bracelet making died down, the kids continued to entertain themselves with soccer balls or other games such as tic-tac-toe.
We had another Kreyol lesson today with the mayor where we learned about the different types of fruits and how to say we loved them or hated them, or liked one fruit more than another fruit. The Kreyol lessons are very helpful in softening the language barrier between us and the kids.
When the day came to an end and it was time to say goodbye, many of the kids ran up to us hugging us and saying "a demen" which is creole for "see you tomorrow!" Children that I hadn't had the chance to spend much time with still gave me big hugs and remembered me by name. One girl in particular whom I have spent a lot of time with ran to me and jumped in my arms, trying to get me to take her with me.
One thing I find so amazing is how even despite the differences in language, we have made very strong bonds with the kids. They remember us all so easily and they even remember saints students from past Haiti trips. I know they won't forget us, and I know I will never forget them, and I can't wait to get to see them all tomorrow!
Reflections on Day 4
By: Libby Davis
Tonight for our discussion, we focused on NGOs, specifically the Red Cross's effectiveness or ineffectiveness in Haiti's relief post-earthquake. The Red Cross raised nearly half a billion dollars for Haiti and the majority of the money got "lost" before it could be of use. While NGOs attempt to keep overhead costs at 10% of total budget, in the Red Cross's case, 25% went to overhead while only 75% went to direct relief. Unfortunately, even those numbers appeared skewed regarding the evidence of the Red Cross's relief in Haiti. An NPR/ProPublica report states that only six permanent homes were built and Non-Haitian people were hired to build them, doing almost nothing to help Haiti or Haitian people. The numbers are not reliable enough to track where all the money went, as people who worked for the Red Cross, Haitians or even the Haitian Prime Minister could account for it. Luckily the Red Cross did face the scrutiny it deserved. Considering the amount of money raised and the minute portion that appeared to aid Haiti, the Red Cross deserved every piece of bad credit they received.
This also begs the question as to why the Red Cross, a health-based NGO, was the primary NGO headlining Haiti's relief and making promises regarding helping Haiti they couldn't fulfill. Along with health issues, Haiti faces depleted resources, broken down infrastructure, and unclean drinking water, all things meaningfully different from the core focus of the Red Cross's mission. The thing is that the Red Cross made is so easy for people to donate and therefore feel good about themselves that people forgot to ask the question of what good the money was doing or where the money was going at all.
NGOs almost run Haiti and its time for every single one to take responsibility and make sure that they are effectively aiding they Haitian people, infrastructure, and way of life. Now that we have been to Haiti and have faces to remember it by, we need to continue to do good and strive to make Haiti and all those who live here prosper.
(Here are the NPR/ProPublica reports referenced: http://www.npr.org/2015/06/03/411524156/in-search-of-the-red-cross-500-million-in-haiti-relief and http://www.npr.org/2016/06/16/482020436/senators-report-finds-fundamental-concerns-about-red-cross-finances)