So here is a summary of everything from the past couple of months:
I went to Gonaives with Pam because her brother works with an NGO out there involved with disaster relief. Gonaives was severely damaged by the hurricanes this past fall and recovery has been slow. It was neat to be able to visit another part of Haiti and to see the efforts of so many people working to get the city back on its feet. We toured projects that the UN and IOM were working on and saw the damage left from the storms.
The trip to Washington DC was exciting because my students and I were able to get an inside look into the US government. We met with an official from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who talked with us about how the US is working with Haiti. The students learned a lot and were able to see how open our government really is. We visited museums, the Library of Congress, monuments, and were able to sit in on the House in session. Hopefully the students will learn from the experience and become more engaged in their own government.
In fact, I was able to take my government class to visit the National Palace (Haiti's White House). We took a tour of the palace and met with the Secretary General and learned a lot about how the Haitian government works. We also visited the national museum and saw some neat artifacts from Haiti's past. The students loved seeing the personal belongings of their revolutionary heroes. That was the first time most of them had ever seen the inside of the Palace or visited their nation's history.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Johnny was able to visit for a couple of days and see a quick glimpse of Haiti. He spoke at school chapel on Wednesday morning and had all of the kids rolling in the aisles. They loved his message and still ask me when he's coming back to speak in chapel again.
Lastly (for now), we just had an all-night camp out for the middle and high school students. We 'locked' them in on campus for the night. We played capture the flag, soccer, basketball, kick the can, and a variation of hide-and-go-seek. Each kid was to bring a can of soup or bag of Ramen, which we mixed all together in one huge pot. Our 'soup surprise' was actually very good!! We also built a campfire and made s'mores. We did have to explain s'mores-making again as last year there was some confusion as to whether the chocolate needed to be roasted with the marshmallows :)
There are a lot more activities coming up and I'm super excited about them. Currently, I am planning a girls' retreat for the young ladies in high school. My goal is that the seniors will mentor the younger girls into becoming strong leaders at the school next year. Keep that in your prayers as the details come together :)