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Viewpoints: Connor Branham and Edwine Estinfil
News item date:
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Edwine Estinfil participates in afterschool programs for neighborhood children to build her community from the ground up.
Volunteer View: Connor Branham
Hello, my name is Connor Branham and I am in my first Volunteer year. My most notable accomplishments in the community are my ability to cook Sos Pwa on Sundays, the way Haitians do it, and my fearless ability to fry the chicken without ducking away from the flaming hot projectiles of oil flying in every direction. If you were to happen to see me when I am not cooking you may find me teaching Philo Economics, Rheto English, Twazyem Religion, Computers, or Sport class. I could be running Garden Club, Business Club, or Language Store. There is a chance I would be at morning/evening prayer or trying to fulfill an individual/community Lenten promise. Last, I might also be doing a research project related to Haiti’s economics, reading some Christian apologetics, or (as I am often playfully poked fun at for) reading the latest book by some famous development economists.
Development economics is the exact-inexact topsy-turvy subject that (along with Catholicism) catalyzed me from hearing a call from the Gospel as a 7-year-old to a life of service as a 23-year-old Volunteer for THP. Catholicism gave me the calling I couldn’t get out of my head, but development economics helped me to understand the importance of education, which in turn led me straight to the Project.
Education is a beautiful thing that can change a person — or many people — who can turn a society around. It allows the people of a country to be their own heroes, as opposed to many charities that give everything, except for responsibility, in order to create victims instead of heroes. This is especially true when it is combined with a message of sacrifice — modeled after Jesus — to stay in your country and give to it selflessly. Ultimately that is what being a THP Volunteer is about: sacrifice and humility. It is about giving what you have been given (cf. Mt 10:8).
Student View: Edwine Estinfil
My name is Edwine Estinfil. I am 17 years old, and I am in the Second (U.S. 11th grade) class at Louverture Cleary School (LCS). I live with my family of three — my mother, my brother, and me — in Mirebalais, in the countryside.
I learned about LCS when I was in primary school when a woman whose son was in the school advised my mom to send me there, too. I applied and was one of the students selected. I was very happy!
LCS gives us a lot of opportunities, and I do my best to take advantage of them. As Louverturians, it is our responsibility to be the light of the world, to rebuild Haiti, and to help people who are in need. LCS shows us how to love others and to show it with our actions.
There are two programs at LCS where we show love for the children in our zone (neighborhood): Koukouy Sen Kle (Fireflies of St. Clare) and Ekòl Enkourajman (School of Encouragement). Serving in these programs helps you to be patient, kind, and be a good teacher. There are a lot of programs outside of the school, too and I participate in them sometimes as well, like translating at the Memphis Medical Mission at Santo 19 and teaching at St. Charles Borromeo School and another educational program called Children of Haiti Project (COHP). Participating in those programs is a way to show the community that I am ready to rebuild Haiti.
In the future, I want to be a famous doctor and to make my school proud of me. I want to help others as I have been helped. I want to expand this mission in order to thank those responsible for LCS and to show them that what they are doing is a great thing.