By Arianne Pingledis, Program Manager
Hurricane season may be behind us, but rain has been falling steadily in Les Cayes this week. It’s not enough to cause serious flooding, perhaps, but it is enough to disrupt schools that lack proper classrooms – something I saw firsthand while visiting one of our education partners a few months ago. Just a few days of rain had left the classrooms, which are temporary, outdoor structures, muddy and flooded.
With the destruction of the school during the 2010 earthquake, classes have taken place in these structures for the past three years. The classrooms are incredibly basic, comprised of only benches for the students and a single chalkboard. The roof sits atop wooden poles, the walls are made of tarps and plywood, and the floor is nonexistent.
I removed my shoes and carried them in my hand as I walked through the mud – ankle-deep in some places – to visit each class. Instead of being greeted with the unhappy children and teachers you might expect to find in such a situation, each class was more excited to greet me than the last. In anticipation of Hope for Haiti’s visit, each class had prepared a different song to welcome me to their school.
In spite of these conditions, the 533 students enrolled have gladly come to school for the last three years, eager to learn. Soon these students will be in a brand new school building currently being built by Hope for Haiti, but until then, they are simply thankful to be given the opportunity to gain an education that will provide them a better future.