Haiti stands out as the only Caribbean island originally colonized by France. Most of Haiti is undeveloped and mountainous.
English Camp orientation kicked off on June 6th at 8:00 AM in 4 different locations: Delmas, Lycee Horatius Laventure, College Inter Familia, and Lycee Benoit Batraville, the latter located in Port-Au-Prince. 3,000 students and 200 volunteers were in attendance. The first host school was the Fema School located at the peak of the Delmas mountain. It was reported that numerous volunteers experienced car breakdowns and poorly paved roads in transit, which made their trip very difficult. The 500 English Camp volunteers became subjects of the wide-eyed gazes of amazement from native elementary and high school students. Volunteers even turned their heads to avoid the flashing lights from those taking pictures. Nonetheless the volunteers said “Alo”, which means “Hello” in French Creole. Young students paid especially close attention to the foreign volunteers, touching their hair and skin out of curiosity. These were physical qualities they were seeing for the very first time. We could feel their hearts gradually opening to us.
The orientation began with 24 classes designed to meet the various levels of the students. They familiarized themselves with their teachers and it was a very busy time. The volunteer instructors distributed passport-style guidebooks that would navigate the next four days of the 1st IYF English Camp in Haiti. A few students weighed in on their English Camp experience so far: “This is the first time attending an English camp, but I expect some great things here. I want to try to learn as much as possible during this English camp, especially English and dance.” -Erica, 18, Fema School “There are not many people who know English in Haiti. It is great that this opportunity has come here. I attended this camp because I want to learn English.” -Mayville, 20, Lycee Horatius Laventure School “I am so happy and blessed that I am able to attend this English Camp.” -Pierre Anderson, 16, Codano
Although there is a clear communication barrier between the students and volunteers, the belief is that we will become one in heart through this experience. Everyone has one thing in common so far: we have hope that the grace of God awaits us on this first day of the 2012 English Camp in Haiti.