Since visiting Haiti last January, it’s a place that’s on my mind constantly because it’s honestly hard to forget. The sheer beauty of the country and the experience of visiting a place full of kind individuals who are working towards rebuilding their lives made an indelible impression on my soul.
Today marks the third anniversary of the massive earthquake whose strength was felt across the country. From the epicenter of Leogane where Dam Dam Women’s Cooperative meets in rooms of a school after the learning is done for the day to the coastal town of Jacmel to the capital of Port au Prince and beyond to Croix des Bouquet, Haiti was devastated but the spirit within the people was not.
Since the earthquake, Haitians are working hard to rebuild. It’s a place where people help each other by teaching skills that can aid them in earning money. Good friend and fellow #BloggersForHaiti traveling companion, Elena Sonnino, has written an incredible post (Rebuilding Haiti: The Third Anniversary of the Earthquake) detailing the work that organizations such as Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, J/P-HRO, and Fair Winds Trading are doing to teach job skills and create sustainable income for Haitians.
The country abounds with lessons of resiliency that can be learned and taught to our own children so we don’t forget. But how do you begin teaching your kids about a country so far away and at first glance, seems so different from our own?
My family has heard me talk about Haiti repeatedly. My children understand the labor involved in turning metal oil drums into the art that hangs on the walls in our home that I watched the artists in Croix des Bouquet make.
My daughter wears her Heart of Haiti Heart pendant and envies the skills of the women who hand roll paper into oval and round beads. She dreams of getting a lesson from the artisans of Hands Together Cooperative at J/P HRO and rolling beads as compact as the ones on the necklace she wears.
They hear me talk about how great it is that I’m able to stay in touch with Dam Dam Women’s Cooperative via Tweets, Facebook updates, and occasional emails sent from the hot pink netbook that was sent following our trip. Together we look at my photos and those taken and shared online by photojournalist friend, Swoan Parker, since my visit.
Sharing my experience with my family not only makes them conscious of people living in a country just an hour away from the United States but also encourages them to teach their friends.
This year my daughter’s Brownie troop has selected Haiti as the country that they’ll be learning about for Girl Scout World Thinking Day. My daughter will help me teach 38 other girls about Haiti. Her peers will teach their parents and together, her troop will teach older and younger girls and their families.
The teaching and learning will continue so we don’t forget.
To teach your children about Haiti, visit my post called Teaching Kids About Haiti and visit these links:
- General facts about Haiti that is kid friendly can be found on Earthy Family.
- TravelingHaiti.com has great visuals of Haitian currency.
- If you’re interested in paper beads, ILovePaperBeads.com tells you everything you need to know to get started, including the best paper to use and even how to protect them for posterity because you don’t want to get them wet.
There is still a lot of work in Haiti to be done and together with friends such as philanthropist Willa Shalit, Danica Kombol and Kelly Heisler from Everywhere, and the amazing members of Bloggers for Haiti, we hope to return soon to provide additional training on technology tools that will add to their arsenal of skills. Because Haiti is in our hearts and we still have so much to share with those we met last year.