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Reflection and Thanks from Pastor Anne of Lynchburg College

IMG_2326WORD FOR THE DAY
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
BLESSED MOTHER TERESA

As I read today’s little meditation I thought of Chris Low’s appreciation of the starfish story as well. However as I think of all the good that each of you and your respective communities accomplish on a daily basis it feels like much more than a starfish or a drop of water.
Since the postal service does not currently seem to afford the possibility of a well written note on lovely stationery, please accept this internet mediated note of deepest gratitude for yet another journey of transformation and growth.

Joelle – you were so very attentive to us and helpful in facilitating all the details involved both before we left, during our time on La Gonave, and even after as we adventured into Kwadebouke. Your kind attention and personal care for us was even more impressive as you did so often while you were feeling absolutely miserable. We couldn’t have asked for a better travel director than you and pray you continue to feel recovery and returning strength. We would be so very grateful if you could pass along our gratitude and appreciation to our host family and all who were such an essential part of our visit.
Please don’t be a stranger when you return to the states and come check out the non-profit world in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Chris – your leadership in the community continues to challenge and inspire. You wear so many hats and bear so many burdens of responsibility yet somehow keep laughter on your lips and a smile on your face, even when we know this is an especially difficult time with ongoing challenges and relentless worries. It is always an added bonus and blessing to see you and Juliette interact with one another. She is becoming a wise woman with your maternal mentoring and example. Hope Boy is running about and getting into enough trouble to hear the word Sorti! on a regular basis.

Carla (TiKan?)
I think you know that you are and will always be my favorite translator of language, culture, spirit, and soul for Ayiti. To begin and end our adventures in the warmth of your hospitable heart was such a blessing for all of us. We could not have asked for better bookends to our travel. Na Sonje helps open our eyes, ears, and hearts to all that we encounter as we travel. Hopefully we were more attentive, intentional, and sensitive as we travelled about thanks to the lessons you all taught us both in our departure and our return. The love of the community there is manifest in the tangible ways of good food and drink, beautiful music, lovely craft and artwork, safe travels, etc. But there intangible gifts of solidarity and connection as well which we will treasure always. If you could also share our appreciation with the many who welcomed us we would appreciate that.

There is so much more that could be said but for now I wanted to at least convey our thanks, an assurance that we returned home safely and soundly, and that the memories of the past 11 days will continue to warm our hearts and bring joy to our spirits long into the future.

Please stay in touch,
Anne

August 2015 Update

August 2015

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Student proudly displays jewelry workshop earrings

Student proudly displays jewelry workshop earrings

Fourth Year of Summer camp at MCLC was all about learning and having fun! As usual it brought together a great mix of students, teachers, parents, and visitors from the mainland and abroad for a month of learning and sharing.
Students presenting the t-shirts they designed to the audience

Students presenting the t-shirts they designed to the audience

Every Monday, each participant selected two afternoon camp workshops to attend for that week. 15-20 different workshops were offered each week, such as music, dance, woodworking, jewelry making, bookmaking, mural painting, poetry writing, and card games, to name a few. Every Friday, students presented what they had produced. This year, there were approximately 300 participants.

Teacher Training
From 8:30 to noon, the teachers attended professional development workshops. Many of these were facilitated by staff of the Fayerweather Street School, in Cambridge, MA. The workshops covered a range of topics including brain development, teaching techniques, and educational math games. In the module on brain development, we learned several important facts. 1) An adolescent brain can hold five to nine items of information in their working memory. 2) The brain is social and needs interaction to fully develop. 3) Students are more likely to learn information that produces an emotional response. 4) They can learn faster with the help of visual aids such as drawings and posters. 5) Practice and repetition (not rote memorization) are crucial to learning.aug33

To improve student learning, we discuss several brain compatible strategies such as the KWL technique and the Think-Pair-Share strategy. KWL stands for “what we know”, what we want to know”, and “what we learned.” For example, if a class was studying peppers, a teacher could use this technique to gauge students’ prior knowledge about peppers, what they would like to know more about them, and what they have learned after the lesson. The Think-Pair-Share technique consists of a three step process during which students first think independently about a question, pair up to discuss their thoughts afterwards, and then share their ideas with the larger group.

We found these techniques to be very helpful and believe that they will help improve both our teaching and student learning. Thank you to Fayerweather Street School staff and alums, as well as the Malden High School educators.

We will be posting more of pictures on matenwaclc.org of the July visitors and campers this week!

Ezner Angervil Director MCLC and Chris Low Executive Director FOM

From Anne Gibbons on her 7h visit to Matènwa

WORD FOR THE DAY We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. BLESSED MOTHER TERESAAs

I read today’s little meditation I thought of Chris Low’s appreciation of the starfish story as well. However as I think of all the good that each of you and your respective communities accomplish on a daily basis it feels like much more than a starfish or a drop of water.
Since the postal service does not currently seem to afford the possibility of a well written note on lovely stationery, please accept this internet mediated note of deepest gratitude for yet another journey of transformation and growth.

Joelle – you were so very attentive to us and helpful in facilitating all the details involved both before we left, during our time on La Gonave, and even after as we adventured into Kwadebouke. Your kind attention and personal care for us was even more impressive as you did so often while you were feeling absolutely miserable. We couldn’t have asked for a better travel director than you and pray you continue to feel recovery and returning strength. We would be so very grateful if you could pass along our gratitude and appreciation to our host family and all who were such an essential part of our visit.
Please don’t be a stranger when you return to the states and come check out the non-profit world in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Chris – your leadership in the community continues to challenge and inspire. You wear so many hats and bear so many burdens of responsibility yet somehow keep laughter on your lips and a smile on your face, even when we know this is an especially difficult time with ongoing challenges and relentless worries. It is always an added bonus and blessing to see you and Juliette interact with one another. She is becoming a wise woman with your maternal mentoring and example. Hope Boy is running about and getting into enough trouble to hear the word Sorti! on a regular basis.

Carla (TiKan?)
I think you know that you are and will always be my favorite translator of language, culture, spirit, and soul for Ayiti. To begin and end our adventures in the warmth of your hospitable heart was such a blessing for all of us. We could not have asked for better bookends to our travel. Na Sonje helps open our eyes, ears, and hearts to all that we encounter as we travel. Hopefully we were more attentive, intentional, and sensitive as we travelled about thanks to the lessons you all taught us both in our departure and our return. The love of the community there is manifest in the tangible ways of good food and drink, beautiful music, lovely craft and artwork, safe travels, etc. But there intangible gifts of solidarity and connection as well which we will treasure always. If you could also share our appreciation with the many who welcomed us we would appreciate that.

There is so much more that could be said but for now I wanted to at least convey our thanks, an assurance that we returned home safely and soundly, and that the memories of the past 11 days will continue to warm our hearts and bring joy to our spirits long into the future.

Anne

Hands to Hearts Launches in Haiti

There are now 12 HHI Trainers ready to go forth and share new knowledge, skills and love with their communities in rural Haiti. These women, and men – teachers, health workers, and orphanage caregivers – spent the last 6 days sharing, studying, practicing and creating some new materials especially for the parents and babies of their communities.
HHI Trainers created this song (in Creole) to reinforce the lessons they learned. It translates to:
“I am talking to you so you can learn how to talk.
I am showing you different things, so you can learn to think.
I am letting you move, so you can move by yourself.
I am treating you kindness, affection and with care.
Further away, you will see me the same and then you will learn to believe in yourself.
Trust me my baby, I am helping you to become strong in your body, in your brain and in your love. To become strong in your body, your brain and in your love.”
The trainers, and our colleagues from Alliance for Children Foundation and the Matènwa School, all made for a week which was not only incredibly productive and successful – but fun!
– See more at: http://handstohearts.org/learn-more/blog/2015/05/hands-to-hearts-launches-in-haiti/#sthash.f2bo3Z0a.dpufP1090172.1-1024x785Now these trainers are ready to get to work in their communities of Kenscoff and La Gonave. Conservative estimates are that they will train approximately 1,100 – 1,500 moms, dads, orphanage staff and other caregivers – every year! Thus ensuring that thousands of babies experience: greater affection and nurturing; more talking, reading, and singing; more opportunities to learn and explore.

We are deeply thankful to the Alliance for Children Foundation for making this all possible!

July 2015 Update

1JHello,
Dear friends of Matènwa,

Thanks to your support MCLC students and staff had a great school year. We successfully completed the national scope and sequence for ALL subjects.

Loving the Garden Till the End2J

Whereas most schools were only focused on preparing for exams during the month of June, students continued to enjoy the hands-on science and writing activities in the garden. Students had a great time caring for the garden, preparing beds and seedlings, watering and fertilizing with their own organic compost, and doing experiments. Because of their commitment, we had beautiful vegetables throughout the year. We had a lot of cabbages, tomatoes, turnips, peppers, and spinach that went into our school breakfast program to feed our students and fight malnutrition.

Rethinking Power to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls

3JA select group of MCLC staff recently participated in a two-day training offered by Beyond Borders in its Rethinking Power program. This program combats violence against women and girls and the resulting spread of HIV/AIDS, using a methodology called SASA! Sasa is a Kiswahili word that means “now,” indicating that now is the time to stop all forms of violence against women and girls, whether physical, sexual, emotional, or economic. SASA! is also an acronym for a four-phase process of behavior and social change: Start (by inviting people to discuss the topic), Awareness (by exploring the concept of power), Support (by mobilizing the community to change unequal gender norms), and Action (by working with a range of people to make the greatest impact).

This training reminded us that violence against women and girls 4Jis a serious problem everywhere. Participants recognized the need for combating it and motivating others to do the same. In that spirit, a small group of MCLC staff met with the facilitators to reflect on how to continue this training. The school selected two staff members that will complete the Rethinking Power program over two years, which includes trainings in Jacmel. After this they will be able to offer community trainings across Lagonav and be included in MCLC’s Institute for Learning.

Chris W. Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

Baby Training Is Taking Off

Matènwa trainers are spreading the early childhood development training that they received last month
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Thanks to Zachary Lee from the Alliance For Children for bringing Laura Peterson from THRIVE to Matènwa to train 7 of our community members in her Hands to Hearts International Early Childhood Development course. Matènwa is highly motivated to spread this information across their community and then across Lagonav. They have already begun three parent groups.

image002
They are learning about baby cues and the learning pathways
image003