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April, 2009:

April Update

Dear Friends of MCLC,

It is always a pleasure for us to write to you to thank you for your gifts. We also want to say hello to you and your families and tell of our last month’s activities.
We felt hopeful that rains would come earlier this year as the first evening rains came the last week of February, but then they dissipated. Many people have prepared garden beds for vegetables and have gotten their corn and bean seeds into the ground. Now we wait for sufficient rain. In addition to the doubling of food prices, President Preval says that we are about to face real inflation. We want to send a special thank you to our breakfast sponsors: you keep our children from severe hunger each month.
Teachers Lisa Brown and Valerie Bell from Nauset High School (Massachusetts, USA) gave seminars on class management, brain gym, and geography for our staff.
We said goodbye to three teachers from Segen after their 10 week teacher training. They learned to teach without hitting, dialogue with students, use Reflection Circles and Open Space, and make their own books and games. They saw how a school could help the whole community work together for change.
Our Local Arts Collaborative was awarded a grant from the Women to Women Committee of the Episcopal Church Women. The collaborative will expand their products that can be locally produced, bought, and sold with home grown materials. The artists are presently making straw hats that the children will proudly wear to promote local goods at our Flag Day celebration on May 18.

We end this month’s report with a Haitian expression of praise: Ayibobo!

Co-directors Chris and Abner
Secretary Millienne

March Update

Bonjou MCLC supporters,

March was a great month for us here at the Matènwa Community Learning Center. We had 5 educators from the Episcopal school in Twen come for observation and training. They left with a book they wrote in Creole, a new vision of how their school can support local food production, and knowledge about how they can develop closer relationships with their students. A group called Support Local Production from Port Au Prince came for an exchange visit. They showed us a film and performed their play that emphasizes the value and advantages of consuming local production versus imported goods.
vizit-14-lekol

But the most encouraging visit was when two education coordinators from Concern Worldwide brought 28 representatives—one student and one teacher from each of 14 schools across Lagonav to observe for 24 hours. They were especially impressed with our emphasis on creative writing in Creole, discussion groups in all classes, the school garden, and the close relationships between teachers and students. This has been our long awaited dream to finally share our educational model not only with schools from the mainland and other countries, but with the many schools right here on Lagonav.

yam1

Agronomist Lucso holds up a 29 pound yam

We dug up 4 large yams. The biggest one weighed 29 pounds! It was a great thing to show our visitors. We harvested cabbages, plantains, hot peppers, and carrots and planted new beds of cabbages, chard, tomatoes, beets, squash, and peppers.

Thank you so much for your support which makes all this learning possible.

With much respect and gratitude,

Co-directors Chris Low and Abner Sauveur
Secretary Millienne Angervil

February Update

Dear Friends of MCLC,

I have just returned to Haiti. Neighbors have been saying how much they appreciated MCLC donors’ support in the months that followed the hurricanes. MCLC opened its kitchen and served anyone who showed up for the daily meal. “I was surprised to see some of the people who showed up,” said Co-Director Abner Sauveur. “People were really in need. People were running around with their belongings under their arms because they had no homes.”

damaged-home repaired-home  damaged-home2 repaired-home-2

Here are two of the  11 homes MCLC has rebuilt. We are still seeking funds to repair 25 homes @ 500 US each.

img_70061Representatives from the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge (Headmaster Ed Kuh, Connie Biewald, Dorla White Simpson, Meg Bruton, Kate Hubble, Lauren Mueller, and alum Sam Slavin who is now working on the border of Haiti and the Dominican republic, as well as Tina Jaillet from the Atrium School and Lesely student Owen Thomas) visited for one week to build on our school relationships. Equipped with 24-hour translators, the group did demonstration lessons in math and science and spent a lot of time talking with our community members. They came down with bilingual Creole and English books made by their first and second grade classrooms as an official kick off of our Mother Tongues Books project. They felt our school garden was extraordinary. They plan to start a Fayerweather School garden. Just last week we pulled up 4 yams, the smallest weighed 22 pounds and the biggest one weighed in at 29 pounds!
Thank you so much for your gifts, which make this work possible.

Sincerely,

Chris Low, Co-Director