Adjusting to Haitian Time

Moving Forward

Posted on January 5, 2014

The hardest thing to adjust to for me in Haiti has definitely been the concept of “Haitian time” – you can let hours slip by while chatting, traveling, or sleeping in, and then you’ve got those few frantic moments where you’re running around trying to cover all the bases. It’s this idea of trying to make every minute count because the time you have here to make things as sweet as possible for the people you interact with is limited…but at the same time you’ve got to make something that lasts, so you’ve got to choose who you plan to please carefully.

(That’s my roundabout way of giving an excuse for not posting more often when I have so much to say: my sense of time is totally off. So the next several posts will be about my work over the past several days in several locations, haha)

Anyway, after a fun Christmas at Mission of Hope I got to work finding more support for their XO program, certainly one of the best we have going in Haiti right now. I found out that three of the students participating in the classes on Monday and Tuesday took the initiative of teaching their own computer class to other eager learners on Saturday. So I invited these three “student leaders” – Chenou, Tafael, and Fanel – to spend some time with me going over more advanced programs and preparing some new teachers to take on additional kids.

There were some great moments over those training days, like getting a huge hug from one of the boys just because we made his story about falling on a rock “come to life” by programming a stick figure to say “ow” when it touched a rock on the screen. The best way to present our progress, though, is to show you:

The first day of computer training, I got the prospective teachers taking photos. Then, they started opening them in Paint and sending them to each other.

They started out as very basic, trying out tools like adding text and changing color:
you see Davidson_1

Then, as they got more confident, the drawings grew more complex. I love Kledson’s title for this one: Oh my goodness, I am full of stars.
i am fill with stars.Oh my Goodness

Then, of course, they got less innocent – Davidson got a “deblozay” (surprise) when he received this message from Kledson entitled “Ou Led” (You are ugly). Of course, if the kids were doing this I would put a stop to this, but these are mature adults practicing their computer skills and we all thought it was hilarious anyway:
ou led

And of course Davidson retaliated with: “What do you think of Kledson here?”:

Anyway, once the antics were over, I decided to grab 3 XO computers to loan out to the freshly-trained teachers to use at home. Unfortunately, when I tried to upgrade their software, something went wrong…Now, remember my comments about relaxing and then rushing here in Haiti? These were definitely rushing moments – I ended up working at the school until it closed, and then moving to a cybercafe instead of going home in order to continue trying to get things working. By the next morning, they still weren’t ship-shape (clock batteries think the date is still 1999 and forget every time you tell them otherwise), but luckily we had some other spare computers and I was able to get all the pieces in place…

(Sora is finishing up her high school studies this year. Perhaps the change from having her time scheduled for her by the system to creating her own plans and establishing her own priorities is what we are observing? Go Sora!)


About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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