Dr. Raymond Ford
The Robert Ford Foundation On-Line Newsletter
Haitian Mathematics Lessons: Remember, early on in this adventure (I believe it was 2003) when the district Education Minister came by to approve our new school for credentials? He thought the primary school was the best in the North except for one thing: 45-50 students in a classroom was crowded, even by Haitian standards. So the Project Committee, all people from the Grison-Garde area, sought funding for 2 additional classrooms which folks like you happily provided. They then enrolled 70 new students! Their point is very well taken: 'tis better to have a crowded education than no education at all.....Ya gotta love 'em.
But wait, there's more: math lesson for April 2010. We visited the orphanage school project, as always, during our last medical mission trip. I was discouraged to see that the completion of the secondary school was going very slowly. As I stood there, a bit perplexed, seemingly endless groups of secondary students passed me on the way to their temporary classrooms. They wear distinctive, more sophisticated uniforms than the little pink and blue primaries, so they were easy to spot.
I found the secondary principal and asked him "how many secondary students are there?" He smiled (he's a great guy, by the way) and said "210". Folks, I thought there were but 75 and furthermore that's all we had sent funds for. Astounded, I said "well, then how many primary students are there?" There seemed to be a gazillion milling around us. He ran off to ask the primary Principal (Haitians move fast, by the way) and returned to say that there were....490! Great Day, I thought there were but 350. That would make a total of 700 students (not 425) receiving good, and free, education.
So how did they do that math without asking for more money? It came to us in a moment of good humored reverie--they had diverted the secondary construction money to allow more students to go to school, thus paying for uniforms, teachers and supplies. We sorta kinda do wish we had been informed, but they consistently seem to do the right thing without our guidance. After all, it is their project. We'll find the dough somewhere to finish the secondary school. Ya gotta love 'em.
Math lesson for the future: the Committee would like to add 3 more primary classrooms. It seems the Port-au-Prince influx is both real and permanent and many children are without hopes for education or food (the great hunger - "gwo grangou" goes on). We're guessing they will add at lest 100 more kids. I will not even try to do the math for that one.
A world-class giant swingset and playground has been constructed in the school yard by a missionary group called "Tilt-A-World". It is, literally, in constant use by girls and boys of all ages. The principals have made it off limits in the evening because homework was not being done. Let's see, if I had my choice.....
To view more and larger photos of these projects click here
Mesi ampil anpil, zamni nou yo!! (Thank you with greatest thanks, our friends!!)
And being Haitian, more complex than you might guess, is the expression: