The Gift of Education
My name’s Neetu and I’m from Penticton, British Columbia. I’m currently in Cap Hatien, Haiti on a Life Different humanitarian volunteer trip. The mission of this trip is to build a new classroom onto a school that is located on the edge of a hill (or a mountain according to Ontario or other prarie areas’ standards), as there are many students that are waiting to be able to attend this school.
I just graduated from my bachelor’s degree and have so many incredible years of education to look back on. Education is something that has been available to me, ever since I learned how to walk, and I think it is something that always will be an option for me. That’s not the case here in Cap Hatien. I had a mother come up to me while walking through the streets of the village and tell me all about her three children, and how she is waiting for the school to grow in size so that her children can attend, and how happy she is that we are here to help make that happen.
Today was the first day on the ‘work site’ where we didn’t teach the Haitians how to build, rather, they taught us. They taught us how a group of dedicated and empowered individuals can work collectively to achieve complex tasks; back home in Canada, most of these projects would never be attempted without machinery and equipment like a bulldozer or a saw.
The highlight of my day was interacting and playing with the children who currently attend the school. We played soccer, skipped rope, sang, and tried our best to communicate with one another with the little bit of Creole we knew. At one point, one of the students kicked the soccer ball over the brick wall and it fell down the side of the hill. I was absolutely blown away to see that in an instant a dozen of the little children (about 5 years old) ran down the side of this mountain with trees, unstable rocks, and a steep foundation, and within minutes got the ball back and were playing soccer again. It was amazing. These children, not matter how young, have to be street smart because they have such limited resources. They have no other way of survival than to depend on themselves for things such as finding clean water or waiting to get an education – things that children back home don’t ever have to worry about. Haiti is beautiful because of its landscape, its culture and most of all, its people. The rest of the world could learn a lot from the people of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
– Neetu – Participant, LiveDifferent Hero Holiday