Outside of Port au Prince…
Already 2 weeks since my last (and first) post… Time goes flying here. Adaptation I guess. In these 2 weeks I got the chance to escape the big jungle city twice. The first time was to go to the beach last sunday with my colleague… lucky I am as I love the sea so much and it is one of the things that really refills my batteries (Pulse encourage the volunteers to give it a thought before you go in a resilience training: what helps you recharge your energy?). The beach was great, gives all its meaning to “La Perle des Caraibes” that is written on all the car license plates, the Pearl of the Caribbean, it’s how they call Haiti.
The other escape was to another Save the Children office in the south of the country, in Camp Perrin. Save has an important education program there: they are currently implementing (in partnership with a national organization and the Government of Norway) a project aimed at improving the learning environment from preschool to 6th grade in 27 schools, 6,000 children are being reached in this program. The office director had arranged for us 4 interventions in a day with influential structures/groups/persons to raise awareness on the issue of the domestic work of children, so they would engage with us into the fight against the unacceptable situation. We met the group of school directors and inspectors of the south departments (see the picture below), the head of IBESR south Haiti (Institute of Well Being, Health and Research, a state institution close to the people), the head of Caritas in the area and the chief of the Evangelical Baptist Mission of South Haiti. Our visits were well received and we did get their engagement. We will go back soon for trainings and capacity building so larger groups of local people can be actors of child protection.
These trips also gave me the opportunity to cross the city outside of my living area Petion Ville, the safest part of Port au Prince. In few words, I was quite impressed by the downtown city, I don’t have pictures as I did not feel confortable to take any snap even with my crappy phone. Misery, mess, dirt. It knocks you out. Especially when you think that NGOs have been here massively for 6 years now (after the 2010 earthquake) and there is still sooooo much to do… Countryside and province are poor too, but it doesn’t leave on you the same impression. Simpler and friendlier. There you can have a walk at night after dinner even if it’s very dark, something I hadn’t done since I’m here!