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MEG’S UPDATE – JANUARY 15, 2016

This has been a busy week in Matènwa. On Monday, LKM hosted a group of four visitors from the University of Puerto Rico: a linguistics professor who specializes in creoles, a Haitian graduate student in linguistics, and two undergraduates who are also studying linguistics and Kreyol. The group is hoping to start a project connecting Haiti and Puerto Rico to increase mutual understanding and break down prejudices against Haiti.

The visitors spent Monday morning observing elementary classes, both in classrooms and in the garden. They also spent some time looking around the library and the school bookstore.

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In the afternoon, the group visited the Atis Fanm Matènwa (Women Artists of Matènwa) arts center. They talked with artisans painting silk scarves and doing embroidery, about the processes of their work and the history of the arts center. On the walk back up to LKM, the visitors and I talked about the importance of mother-tongue education. They compared Haiti to Puerto Rico, which also has a tradition of education in a colonial language (English) rather than the students’ native language (Spanish). The visitors said that although all public school in Puerto Rico is now in Spanish, many of the private schools, which are more prestigious, teach in English. All the visitors talked about how impressed they were with LKM’s mother-tongue teaching and learning.

Back at the school, the visitors met with Abner Sauveur, LKM’s co-founder, and Vana Edmond, who has taught at LKM since it was founded, to talk about the history of the school.

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We are very happy that we’ve made this connection, and hope to have more visitors from the same group in the future!

Tuesday of this week was the sixth anniversary of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Many schools closed for the day to commemorate this. LKM chose to stay open, but to cancel classes. Instead, both primary and secondary school spent time learning and talking about the earthquake.

Here are some photos from the high school gwo wonn (large-group meeting). Both students and teachers shared stories of their personal experiences of the earthquake. They also talked about the significance of the earthquake for Haitian history and its meaning for Haitians today. A teacher invited me to contribute, and I shared my experience of the 2010 earthquake from the United States, even though I was far removed from it and only heard about it in the news.

The Tuesday gwo wonn was an emotional and important meeting for all of us.DSCN2801

JANUARY 2016 UPDATE

Dear friends of Matènwa,

1Happy 2016! May this new year bring you success, health, and prosperity. Because of your support, we had a great 2015. Our students and teachers had all the didactic materials they needed to work. Students had a nutritious breakfast every morning enabling them to focus on learning throughout the day. Matènwa teachers participated in monthly workshops to hone their teaching skills. Many school teachers and principals across Lagonav and from the mainland came to Matènwa to receive training in our educational methods. You are really making a difference in how more and more children are having a positive education experience in Haiti.

At our annual year-end party we celebrated our successful semester. On December 24 each class performed a song, dance, or a play for their parents and family. It was very festive! After the performances, parents received their students’ report cards with pride.

Training Update

2December 13th a group of 5 people from Kenscoff sponsored by the Alliance for Children Foundation arrived for a one-week training. After observing the MCLC classrooms, a participant commented: “In my opinion, a school like MCLC is very important. I like its methods because the children and teachers work in collaboration. The school gives students a sense of responsibility. For example, students have a list of jobs to do in their classrooms. I like how the classrooms are structured. The children are learning in Creole, which is fantastic! I also like the class morning meetings: they get to express what is making them happy or sad. This teaches students how to socialize. What I liked most was the breakfast program where they give children a meal every morning before they go to class. To me, this is fundamental.”

As a component of our partnership with Beyond Borders, 3MCLC’s Institute of Learning has been training a small group of teachers in an accelerated education program for overage students. These students had never attended school before either because their parents could not afford to send them or because they were Restavèk (child servants). The teachers in this program came to Matènwa to work together for two days to prepare and review the materials they will be using in their classrooms starting this January.

Samila Edmond, MCLC Direction Committee and Chris Low, Executive Director FOM

End of Year Update 2015

Happy Holidays to you all. Please take a moment to read our end of the year newsletter here.

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Art and Brunch 2015-11-28 at 8.12.08 PM

December 2015 Update

December 2015

Dear friends of Matènwa,

1On behalf of the entire MCLC community, we would like to wish you a happy holiday season and thank you once more for the great activities, that you make possible in Matènwa.

This past spring, with support from The M.A.D. Girls, MCLC was able to hire its first school nurse, Ms. Duna Andoizin. She has been providing healthcare to students, teachers, as well as other members of the greater community. She has also been conducting health lessons for students. In a recent class of preschoolers (pictured on the left), they talked together about the importance of good personal hygiene.

2The first graders learned about diarrhea, which most children have had. During one of the weekly school assemblies, they performed a teaching song about the impact of diarrhea and a home remedy to help treat it. Here are some of lyrics: “When people have diarrhea, they become very dehydrated. But now, we are saved! Here comes the oral rehydration solution! It is a very good solution, very easy to make: I liter of of clean drinking water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 drops of lemon juice.”

Training Updates
3On November 24, SOIL Haiti held a training session at MCLC. The training focused on the use of ecological sanitation, the process by which human waste is converted into valuable compost for gardening. Among the different methods presented, MCLC opted to continue to use the arborloo method. An arborloo is a type of latrine placed above a shallow pit to collect human waste. When the pit is nearly full with waste and ash, it is then covered with soil and left to decompose for 8 to 12 months. After decomposition, a tree planted in this nutrient-rich pit will thrive.

4As part of our partnership with Beyond Borders, staff from MCLC’s Institute of Learning have been holding Open Space sessions at our partner schools. During a session at the Agwodag School in a community called Nan Plim, participants discussed the quality of education in their area and the role of parents in their children’s education. They agreed that parents must be more involved and should build close, personal relationships with their children.

Vana Edmond, MCLC Direction Committee and Chris Low, Executive Director FOM

Update from Meg – Library News

Library News

This week in Matènwa, we have some news from the school library. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on many improvements, both small and large.DSCN2550

We restored a system of subject markers in the Kreyòl books so that readers can easily find the subjects they’re looking for and see how those fit in with the Dewey Decimal System.

A translation of the Dewey Decimal System into Kreyòl, for easy access

A translation of the Dewey Decimal System into Kreyòl, for easy access

Marcson cataloging

Most importantly, after a long research process, we are buying many more books to add to the library. This week, we bought books in Kreyòl for both primary and secondary levels from two publishing houses in Port-au-Prince, Kopivit and Anri Dèchan. They included:
-The memoirs of Toussaint Louverture, hero of the Haitian Revolution, translated into Kreyòl
-A collection of 500 traditional riddles
-Five books in the “Ana” series, which our primary students love: “Ana Pral Andeyò” (Ana is Going to the Countryside), “Ana ap Abiye” (Ana is Getting Dressed), “Ana ap Fè Manje” (Ana is Cooking), “Ana Pral nan Lanmè” (Ana is Going to the Beach), and “Ana Ale nan yon Zou” (Ana Goes to a Zoo)
-“Sezisman sou Sezisman” (Surprises on Surprises), a story about two children from the countryside going to Carnaval in Port-au-Prince

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We are all very excited about the new books. Next week, we’ll be receiving a large order we put in at Educa Vision, a Kreyòl publishing house in the United States, and we will soon be buying books on psychology and education at Inivèsite Karayib, another publisher in Port-au-Prince. We still have money in the book budget for the rest of the year and are working on finding more sources for Kreyòl books in Haiti, and deciding what subjects and genres to prioritize.

Thanks, as always, for your support! We have many happy hours of reading ahead of us.

Starting this week, I will be profiling an LKM staff member each week, so you can get to know us better. This week’s staff member is Delson Engerville, librarian and director of the primary school at LKM.

DelsonDelson grew up in Matènwa and finished high school in Ansagalè, the largest town on Lagonav. He first came to LKM in 2005, while working as a fifth-grade teacher in another school in the area, to help sixth-graders prepare for the national exam that they had to pass at the end of the year. Delson enjoyed working at LKM so much that the next year, he joined the staff as a sixth-grade teacher. He continued teaching sixth grade through spring 2015. This fall, he became the librarian and primary school director. He says that in his new jobs, he most enjoys working together with the other people on the Direction Committee, and reading to students in the library.

Delson says, “The first vision I have for the future is for LKM to support more schools so they can start to work in the same way. The way this school works is very useful, because it works in the language the children speak, the language in which they are most comfortable. The second vision I have is, after two more years, for the school to go all the way to Philo [the last year of high school in Haiti]. After that, I would like LKM to start a professional school for its graduates, so they can find work in areas like teaching, agronomy, electricity and plumbing.”