Productivity in Haiti

After three weeks spent acclimating to this entirely new culture and environment, I feel I have more or less sufficiently adjusted to life here in Gonaives, Haiti.  I will admit, it’s quite a bit different than anything I’ve experienced stateside.  With Haiti being considered the poorest country in the western hemisphere, the stark contrast was of course to be expected.  However, aside from the incessant begging and swindling attempts experienced outside the airport in Port-Au-Prince, the locals here have been very friendly and hospitable.

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I have once mentioned the reason for my traveling to Haiti.  To keep it short and as less complicated as it needs to be, I will just say that it was through a series of contacts and connections that I was extended the invitation.  The base that I am volunteering at is called the Eben-Ezer Mission, which encompasses an orphanage, two separate schools, a church, and a newly established credit union.  They have a strong presence here in Gonaives, and maintain a very respectable reputation among the locals and government.

The truth is, neither I nor the leaders here knew precisely where they could best utilize my capabilities once I arrived.  On my part, I was expecting some clear cut directions as to the work they wanted me to be doing.  Unfortunately, I feel like they were expecting me to be the one to take initiative and to know exactly what needed to be done and how to do it.  Thus, the first two weeks passed by with very little contributions on my part as the leaders were busy finding specific work and creating a solid schedule for me to follow.

After taking the available free time to explore and acquaint myself with the territory, I was finally able to begin my new job this past week; that of an English teacher.  It’s been an interesting experience thus far, to say the least.  Other than my first (and only) language being that of English, I don’t feel I have many other qualifications.  I have no experience talking in front of a classroom, aside from relatively short speeches given in my public speaking course at my university.  I have rarely spent lengthy periods of time in front of a crowd; but with my first day of teaching English here in Gonaives, I had spent more than five hours trying to teach a new language to a classroom full of more than thirty students.  Good times.

I am very grateful to have been given this wonderful opportunity to travel abroad and experience these new challenges.  I shall continue my efforts in keeping this blog updated; however, unfortunately you can expect lengthy periods of time in between posts.  That’s one big thing I miss about home: America’s amazing communication infrastructure… Anyway, signing off for now.

-Grayson

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One Full Week

I’m finally getting myself established here in Haiti.  I officially start work tomorrow morning, which will be helping to teach English at one of the secondary schools in Gonaives.  It’s taken a while for them to place me where they felt they could best use me, so there has been a lot of downtime to explore and become acquainted with the culture here.

Unfortunately, accessing the internet here is rather difficult  I don’t think I’ll be able to post as many blogs as I was originally hoping to.  In fact, I’ll need to end this post shortly.  They have to run a generator here on the base for their electricity; and when it is run, everyone wants to take advantage of the temporary power.  So I’m finding I never quite have sufficient enough time to write out my experiences.  Not to mention some of the computer keyboards here are in a French language format…

I’ll try to update this blog as much as possible!  But for now,  take care!

-Grayson

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My Arrival

I’m currently sitting under a shaded porch, trying to escape the heat of the sun.  Three days into this trip, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around being in such an extremely different environment from the one I left behind.

My travel here was not without its difficulties.  Our journey was almost put to a halt before we even left our own state of North Carolina.  There was a misunderstanding with the man who agreed to drive us to the airport, and consequently we missed our first flight.  There were actually several factors working against us; one being that Delta Airlines would not print our boarding pass for Haiti without a visa.  Apparently a U.S. citizen is not allowed to stay for more than three months in Haiti without proof of a return.

—To be continued (my battery is just about depleted)

 

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In Preparation for my Departure

Hello everyone.  Many of you reading this blog will have been directed here from my Facebook page.  I’m sorry for any inconvenience to you due to my keeping it deactivated; I realize that Facebook in many ways is the perfect tool for staying connected.  Although this blog is primarily one-way in its communication, you can still feel free to litter my posts with comments if you choose to do so (I would love to hear from you!).

Next Friday is the big day.  For those of you who do not know, I will be leaving for Haiti on the 18th to volunteer at a vocational school in Gonaïves.  The plans for this have been in the making for several months, but the concept turned into a reality only three weeks ago when I purchased my one-way ticket.  Yes, that is correct; there is no set date for my return.  Although I do have tentative plans to return in August to continue my education at ASU, one truly never knows what the future may hold.  When you can see the difference you are making in someone’s life (and I hope that will be the case), I can imagine that that would be a hard thing to walk away from.

I’m going to make this a relatively brief blog post.  I mainly wanted to have something posted here tonight so that you can see that this page is updated and relevant.  I actually created this blog over a year ago for a school project, but I am glad to be utilizing it today in the way that I had envisioned.  I’ve never kept a public blog before, so there is room for development on my part.  Bear with me on this, and hopefully you can enjoy my travels with me as I share them with you!  So long for now!

-Grayson

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