Our day started with a trip to see the Caite school near Cerca-Carvajal. This school has about 500 students. We met with the mayor of Cerca-Carvajal and some education officials, and heard what an important role education plays in supporting children and families. The children were just wonderful and we really enjoyed having some time to interact with them.
Next we traveled to city hall in Cerca-Carvajal. I must say, if anyone had told me that our welcome to the city would be like this, I would not have believed them. It started with our vehicles being led by motorcycles honking their horns, and with the lead motorcycle flying the Haitian and Canadian flags. Once we reached the town, we stopped and were met with a giant banner welcoming us. After greeting us, they took the banner, and began leading a parade through town to city hall with us part of the parade. We then walked into city hall under the banner, and between the flags. Wow!
Next, we traveled to meet members of the community that had been involved in a Community Resilience” pilot program. This program took a multi-faceted approach to help communities better respond to stresses. It included programs to enhance soil conservation, training in disaster preparedness, and introduction of goats to families in the community. We heard first-hand accounts from some community members of their experience in receiving goats. One woman who received a goat then had three kids from the goat. She returned one to the goat program, sold one for enough money to purchase the materials to build a new home, and kept the third for breeding. It is so amazing that something so simple as receiving a goat can make such a tremendous difference for a family.
They day ended with our team enjoying performances from some of the sponsored children in the Cerca-Carvajal area Development Project. It was so great! There was music from the band, singing, poetry reading and dancing. They were very talented. We heard that the self confidence that comes from being able to speak and perform in public is a critical in educating children. The event ended with paintings, made by sponsored children taking art, being given to members of our team. The painting I received is very beautiful, and I will treasure it forever.
Wow, what a day! Each day is more exciting than the last – what will tomorrow bring?