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By Bannon Jones, III Form
The Fight for Women’s Rights in Haiti
Haiti has had a long, rigorous history starting in 1492 when the Spanish Inquisition conquered Haiti and ruled until 1697. After 1697 the French took control of Haiti, they brought enslaved people from Africa and also enslaved the native people of Haiti. France used them to produce sugar cane, soon making Haiti the richest colony in the world at the time. In 1790 there were 40,000 white French people, 30,000 freed slaves, and 450,000 enslaved people. The Haitian Slave Revolts began in 1791 and, due to how outnumbered the French were by the enslaved people, it became one of the few successful slave revolutions in history. Haiti soon after gained full independence in 1804. Throughout Haiti’s history, they have not had much time to focus on their own people, which may explain the reason why women’s rights in Haiti are gravely lacking. NGOs like USAID, Doctors Without Borders, MicroCredit, and WomenOne are slowly helping to change this through strengthening laws around women’s rights, increasing women’s healthcare, helping women to have small businesses, and increasing women’s education. (more…)
By Will Stack, Kerrie Verbeek, Will Allen, Jack Thalmann, Cricket Dotson, and Henry Hirschfeld
Travel Daily Digests & Thoughts: Haiti Partnership
Day 1: Friday, January 13, 2017
By Will Stack
Today has been long. Everything has just been blurred together; it’s a miracle I didn’t lose my passport. When we finally landed in Haiti, we were all ready to collapse. However, we had a little trouble at the car rental place. Apparently, despite our arranged reservation, they did not have two cars to rent us. “It’s Haiti” seemed to be the excuse used when Pere Reginald, our partner priest who hosted us during our visit, asked why they did not have our cars. This was just the start of a very exciting afternoon on the roads of Port-Au-Prince. We had to drive from the airport in Port-Au-Prince to Mathieu, the town where we would be staying for our first evening, and along the way, we experienced one of the most eye-opening parts of Haitian culture, Haitian driving. (more…)
By Riya Shankar, IV Form
Unexpected Life Lessons in Haiti–Lock Picking Skill Learned from a Priest!
Desi and I stood outside the bedroom, laughing hysterically as we banged on the door. We had just been locked out of the room for the second time for a reason I could not remember, most likely Natalie and Amanda ganging up on us. Nothing was funnier to us than being stuck on the other side of the door, the four in the room giggling as they listened to us struggle. After about five minutes of the insanity, the priest, Père Reginald, walked out of his room and stared at our red, smiling faces. As he watched the scene carry on, we suddenly stopped, afraid that we had disturbed him. He signaled for us to carry on, smiling at how hard we were trying to get them to open the door. This time, instead of his usual wave or quiet “hello”, he approached Desi and me with the biggest grin on his face. He joined our pounding, this time adding his deep voice saying, “This is the priest. Open the door!” We laughed even harder as he continued trying to talk to them, knowing they wouldn’t listen. He joined our laughing, his jolly laugh filling the room. (more…)
By Sarah Robertson, VI Form
Remembering Through the Kids’ Toothy Smiles
There are few places in the world that astound me. Places where I look around and am suddenly filled with every emotion, yet I am incapable of mustering words to describe them. My heart pounds with joy, my mind is ablaze, and my entire world is suddenly filled with life. I first felt this feeling peering out the towering glass windows of the CN tower, my mother tracing a map of her life for me along the panes. I felt it as I stepped onto the streets of New York City for the first time, breathing in the passion, life, and movement all around me, contrary to the aura of my sleepy town. Most recently, these inexpressible emotions were blazing on my trip to Haiti. (more…)
By Desmond Goodwin, V Form & Student Chair of the Haiti Partnership Committee
Book Club: A Necessary Tool in Partnership
At the end of last year, the Haiti Partnership held a meeting to discuss our goals for the 2014-2015 school year. The committee members agreed that we needed to emphasize to the community that the Haiti Partnership is just that: a partnership. How would we show St. Mark’s that we are benefitting just as much from this relationship as St. Marguerite’s, our partner school in Latournelle, Haiti? We knew that we had to bring Haiti to St. Mark’s. We wanted to bring the beautiful culture to our school and teach our fellow students and faculty about life in Haiti. We wanted to celebrate the country. By creating a “Haiti Book Club,” we hoped to bring a part of Haiti to St. Mark’s and use it to strengthen our partnership with St. Marguerite’s.
The idea was to read three books over the course of the school year; one book would be read over each vacation. Over Thanksgiving vacation, we read Clare of the Sea Light by Edwige Dandicat, a Haitian-American author. Over winter vacation we read The Big Truck That Went By by Jonathan Katz. And over spring vacation, we will read A Wedding in Haiti by Julia (more…)
By Julie Geng, VI Form
A Taste of Haiti
Haiti, the Country
Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola. Haiti has an area of 27,750 square kilometers including several islands. The Haitian population is 10.32 million. The climate is tropical. Coffee, cocoa, coconuts, avocado, orange, lime, and mango grow wild. The most important cash crops are coffee and sugarcane.
Haitian History and Food
Spain, France, the continent of Africa, and the United States were crucial in shaping Haitian (more…)
An Interview with Mr. Chris Kent (English Faculty) by Julie Geng, VI Form
JG: What made you interested in Haiti initially and decide to go on the first trip?
CK: When Ms. McColloch, and Ms. Berndt and Ms. Lohwater first developed the partnership, she asked me to come along and join the group. I definitely took a backseat approach and wanted to just observe and wasn’t necessarily as active as I could have been purposefully. I just wanted to see what other people thought this was all about and take the time to figure out for myself what interested me. So I’m not really sure other than just being approached and being asked to be part of the group were what really drove me. I don’t think I had early on a connection with Haiti other than the idea that helping the school seemed a great thing to do. I was definitely impacted by the idea of teachers helping teachers. (more…)
By Finnegan Schick, VI Form
Stepping into ninety-degree Caribbean sunshine from a cold, New York blizzard is not unlike diving headfirst into an enormous vat of hot chocolate. First the heat covers every inch of your skin, then it fills your lungs. Within seconds you are covered head to toe in sweat, and the only sound that comes to your lips is “Waahhugh.” (more…)