West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

First night in Haiti

Sweating in my room at the guest house, I am thinking over our first day in Haiti today   I do have two fans going which is a blessing.  There is promise of that AC unit coming on at some point, but until then I just try to lie still and think cool thoughts. 

Our team is a small one this time. We have Sam and Ginny who have come to design a playground for the new St Vincent’s school location.  An actual playground!  The old site had no designated play space for the children. Only a large concrete area where the kids would play soccer or hopscotch , or dribble a basketball. Not even a basketball net has adorned the concrete yard since the earthquake in 2010. 

Dr Steve Ross has joined us. He is Bill Craddock’s running buddy and has a degree in educational psychology.  He travels to different school sites to evaluate their educational systems.  What a great pair of eyes to visit St Vincents and help us think about our existing resources and plans for the future.  

Bill and I will attend a St Vincent’s Governing board meeting on Tuesday. School is out for the summer and the permanent residents have all

moved to the new site at Santo 17. We are meeting to plan for the coming school year.  The teachers will all be given a raise and new contracts.  We are seeking to hire a principal.  Many exciting and challenging plans to discuss

Père Fan Fan sat with me for some time this afternoon to talk about the permanent residents. They have spent their entire lives at St Vincent’s. We want to make room for new boarders so that more students can get an education.  However this requires the older residents who have finished school to learn to live independently.  

This conversation requires much gentleness and understanding and will take time.  

This trip is a vacation for me because Bill Craddock has done all the work to put the team together and to plan our itinerary. The day of traveling from Memphis started at 4:30 am with the cell phone alarm.  

Now it is 8:30 and I am waiting for the AC to come on so I can cool off and go to sleep.  I’m thinking about all the friends in Memphis and elsewhere who love these children and want to see them thrive.  I will carry all that love with me tomorrow when I get to see the new school for the first time, the children in their new home.

Susan Nelson


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