I cannot believe two months have already passed since I have been here. At the same time, I feel like I have been here much longer. School started up here in Kenscoff so the orphanage is much busier now and everyone is on a schedule. I work with two local teachers in the special needs classroom which is called L’arche de Noé (Noah’s ark). Its name comes from the fact there is a beautiful mural of Noah’s Ark right on the outside of the building that a previous volunteer painted.
Each month we have a teacher training down in Tabarre with all the teachers from the special needs school at Kay St. Germaine. We learn about the different disabilities that affect our students and methods to teach and engage them. We practice teaching lessons in front of each other and learn about creative ways to incorporate art into the day. There are themes for every month and for October we were will be focusing on water and geography!
Last month’s theme was tout bagay sou mwen (everything about me) and we had fun doing activities on the kid’s names, where they live, how old they are and what are their favorite foods, clothes and games. We do cooking with the older girls each week and try to incorporate many other life skills into the lessons.
A big part of my time here so far has included learning creole and getting adjusted to the culture. I have begun to speak the language more fluidly and feel more comfortable in daily Haitian life. I still have many blank stares and miscommunications but I am gaining confidence. Building relationships has also been a big part of the last couple of months. I have absolutely loved getting to know all the kids in Kay Christine as well as the other kids in the orphanage. During the weekends I have been playing sports or going on hikes with the kids. Overall the transition has been fairly smooth and things that at first seemed foreign are becoming more and more familiar to me. I thoroughly enjoy getting to spend so much time with the kids and am constantly learning new things about life here. I also have days that are challenging too, but I would not trade them to be anywhere else.
Thank you so much for helping with this great opportunity! I am excited about the next several months and how we can make this job in the long run help NPFS more.
Amber is one of the 2013 award recipients of the Hightower Kloos Legacy Fund. Learn more about the fund here!