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Updates

March 2015 Update

March 2015

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Untitled.jpgJust as our students are always thrilled to add new plants into the school garden, we always take great pleasure in updating you on these activities each month.

One of the first steps to march2growing new vegetables is for students to prepare the seedlings. They recycle discarded materials and equipment such as old wheelbarrows to use as planters. With the assistance of the garden technicians, they planted tomato, cabbage, bean, and beet seedlings. Afterwards, they created beds to transplant the seedlings. Each of these students will be responsible for caring for a seedling and monitoring its growth. They will draw, write about, and reflect on the entire process.

Training World Vision Teachers
march5Over the years, MCLC has developed a good relationship with the PACODES schools, a group of schools supported by World Vision’s Area Development Program in Lagonav. Every year, World Vision sends a new cohort of teachers and school directors to MCLC for a week-long training. The latest group was recently trained on classroom management, class preparation, school gardening, and the use of Creole as the language of instruction. We were especially happy that march3World Vision wanted us to emphasize this last component. Their priority was for all teachers to teach first through third graders in their mother tongue, in all subjects, and expose students to French oral communication, as recommended by the Ministry of Education.

As usual, we started the training reading a chapter of Yves Dejean’s book Yon lekòl tèt anba nan yon peyi tèt anba (in English, An Upside Down School in an Upside Down Country). This book always generates great discussions and reflections. It highlights the challenges that students face when being taught in a second language that they are not fluent in.

march4Training Follow-Up at Other Partner Schools
To ensure that the partner schools in our network are applying the principles learned at the trainings effectively, a MCLC specialist visits each school at least twice a month. In addition, a group of 70 teachers and directors, representatives from each school, meet at MCLC once a month for additional training and to discuss strategies on how to address difficulties they are encountering in their classrooms. At the last meeting, some teachers felt that they needed more instruction on the process of how to create mother tongue books with their students. Others wanted to learn more about how to display their students’ work. Together, we came up with some strategies to resolve these issues. We are making great progress!

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

Ayiti, ann avan!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWGw1gsGXg4&feature=youtube

This is a video album of the visit at MIT on April 17, 2013, of Haiti’s former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and his delegation for the signing of an agreement between the MIT-Haiti Initiative (http://haiti.mit.edu) and Haiti’s Ministry of National Education and Professional Development (MENFP).

Several pictures of our students in Matènwa are featured in this video! Laurent Lamothe has spoken highly about the advances in education being modeled in Matènwa.

International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day
Innovator Spotlight Webinar – February 19, 2015
Watch Now http://allchildrenreading.org/media-events/webinar-archives/
Whiz Kids Workshop presents about using media to promote and improve early grade reading in Ethiopia. Tsehai Loves Learning TV and radio program is broadcast nationally each week. The show is adapted to different mother tongue children books and reaches children in classrooms. You’ll also hear about grantee Friends of Matènwa‘s impressive early grade literacy project in Haiti that used the Mother Tongue Books methodology to help children create books they want to read.

More Photos of LaGonave from Anisha

The village of Matenwa

The village of Matenwa

Grazing goats at midday

Grazing goats at midday

The ferry boat which brought me from Port-au-Prince to the port of La Gonave, top heavy with passengers

The ferry boat which brought me from Port-au-Prince to the port of La Gonave, top heavy with passengers

Ocean bathers wading out after lunch

Ocean bathers wading out after lunch

Two chilled Prestige beers enjoyed waterfront before the long motorcycle ride back up the mountains

Two chilled Prestige beers enjoyed waterfront before the long motorcycle ride back up the mountains

Traditional and colorful plate of whole grilled fish with plantains and vegetables

Traditional and colorful plate of whole grilled fish with plantains and vegetables

Yoga “class” is in session at the Matenwa School

Yoga “class” is in session at the Matenwa School

The complete Kreyol alphabet

The complete Kreyol alphabet

Sitting in with the 2nd grade class at the Matenwa School and learning the Kreyol alphabet.

Sitting in with the 2nd grade class at the Matenwa School and learning the Kreyol alphabet.

Slim pickings at the Friday market

Slim pickings at the Friday market

Deliciously ripe mangoes, the first ones of my trip

Deliciously ripe mangoes, the first ones of my trip

Shelling mounds and mounds of raw peanuts, to be roasted and ground into fresh “mamba” or Haitian peanut butter. Everyone likes to help in the mamba-making process because it means snacking on peanuts all afternoon.

Shelling mounds and mounds of raw peanuts, to be roasted and ground into fresh “mamba” or Haitian peanut butter. Everyone likes to help in the mamba-making process because it means snacking on peanuts all afternoon.

Modis (5 years old) and John Carey (6 years old) proudly watering their favorite goat

Modis (5 years old) and John Carey (6 years old) proudly watering their favorite goat

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Showing off for the camera after yoga class

The port at Anse-a-Gale, where all boats from Port-au-Prince dock and depart

The port at Anse-a-Gale, where all boats from Port-au-Prince dock and depart

Attempting downward dog. Yoga “class” is in session at the Matenwa School

Attempting downward dog. Yoga “class” is in session at the Matenwa School

This post was written offline on January 20th and published after my return to Port-au-Prince and internet connectivity.

Song for Sophia

ANISHA IN HAITI – ILE DE LA GONAVE

“Chita tande, mache wè.” – Haitian proverb (Sit and hear, walk and see – experience is the best teacher).

Ile de la Gonave
JANUARY 13, 2015 / ANISHAKATLURI
dscn0956
Hills straight into ocean views on Ile de la Gonave

Map of La GonaveBonjour la-gonave-mapfrom the island of La Gonave, were I am about one week through my three week stay on this mountainous, arid, tough yet beautiful island of rocks-meet-ocean! La Gonave is roughly 40 miles long by 10 miles wide, off the coast of Port-au-Prince and even less densely populated than its size might warrant because it is dry and relatively isolated, even by Haitian standards.

I am here learning Kreyòl, working in the community surrounding the Ecole Matenwa model school, getting the lay of the land and building a deeper understanding of what it means to live and raise a family in Haiti.

dscn0903The beyond-bumpy road leading up to Matewa

Motorcycle or “moto” – my ride while on La Gonave

Motorcycle or “moto” – my ride while on La Gonave


The beyond-bumpy road leading up to Matewa

Motorcycle or “moto” – my ride while on La Gonave

The village of Matenwa is situated up in the hills, accessible from the main port town via the bumpy, unpaved roads that criss-cross the island. The roads are so rocky and pocketed by boulders that they are virtually impassible by car – motorcycles are the only vehicles I really see here, apart from donkeys. As the founder of the Matenwa school eloquently phrased it, La Gonave is “an off-road biker’s paradise” but for a normal girl like me, every trip out beyond Matenwa involves a rather adventurous ride.

I am living with a local family in Matenwa and staying in their small “kay” (kreyôl for “house”) which sits on a plot of land that is shared with the “kays” of the large, extended family. There is no electricity or running water in any of the homes, which means showering happens from a bucket, the toilet….does not exist, cooking and washing all happen outdoors, and the day pretty much begins and ends with the sun.

Two sisters and single moms, Loretta and Zaza, are my primary hosts and caretakers. They have four and five kids each, ranging from the ages of 18 to 5. Between this troupe and their extended family, I almost always have company. I have acquired several adorable and eager little shadows who love to tag along as I go about my day. There is always someone to watch doing housework, someone to chit-chat with, people passing through to say hello, and groups of the family gathering to discuss something or the other.

The family speaks only Kreyol but their nephew Wadson speaks some French and a little English. Wadson is my primary language helper and helps me muddle through the translations of everyday living. Apart from him, I am surrounded by creole speakers 24/7. It is exhausting and frustrating at times, but it’s also rewarding. And I have many “professors” here because the whole extended family has taken it upon themselves to impart an understanding of the kreyôl language and Haitian culture to me.

In spite of how tremendously difficult the everyday life here is, there are so many vibrant smiles around me and such easy laughter. It’s contagious, and I find myself laughing so many times a day. It may sound a bit like a cliché reflection from a fresh-faced foreign visitor, but it is to me one of the most pronounced facets of my time here so far.

Two more weeks ahead of me here on La Gonave. More to come soon!

This post was written on January 14th and published after my return to Port-au-Prince and internet connectivity.