Smoke rises from the incinerator. Pots boil in the kitchen. Offices are abuzz with planning and doing. LCS campus is a flurry of activity as this year’s crew of Volunteers and Staff make preparations for the imminent arrival of new and returning students and the start of classes.
“All students who would like to help stuff envelopes for The Haitian Project, please report to Mr. Sartino’s room 139 after school.” The short mention in the announcement over Boylan Catholic High School’s P.A. is far more significant than the monotone voice could convey.
Arriving at LCS as a Twazyèm (10th grade) student in 2002, Edwide Marcelin quickly demonstrated that she was a leader both inside and outside the classroom. Unusual for a newer student, Edwide was selected as the “Super Monitor” during her Rheto (12th grade) year. The Super Monitor position has many responsibilities, but his/her chief role is to supervise and manage the daily cleaning of the school – or as we call it at LCS, “netwayaj”.
I arrived in Port-au-Prince in August 2003 figuring I would spend a year teaching English (the only language I knew) at LCS and then return to “America” to cash in on my business degree from Notre Dame. However, one year in Haiti become two. Working for THP became founding EGI (the Economic Growth Initiative for Haiti) and “America” became the entire Western Hemisphere. During the first few weeks of that intense August introduction, THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan said, (or maybe shouted) “What we have to realize is that we are all American.” Those four simple words—We are all American—struck a certain chord. In this context of regional solidarity it became clear after my first year at LCS that I had to use my business education more directly to help Haiti.
It is a steadfast belief in The Haitian Project community that God provides what we need when we need it to accomplish our mission and keep the spirit of our work strong. Over the years we have been amazed with the different people who have been introduced to us just when we needed something special.
While awaiting the arrival of new and returning Louverturians fresh from summer break, this year’s Volunteers have been working to prepare campus for the start of the semester. Sorting and burning trash, painting, and gardening are LCS’ chosen methods of helping people get to know one another; after all, there is no better conversation than one conducted over a compost pile. We are excited to learn more about each other—and more Kreyol—as the year progresses, and we hope you enjoy learning a little bit about us as well.
Years ago, Denise Carpenter participated in the bible study at Holy Spirit Church in Memphis, TN titled Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. It is not surprising that Denise was drawn to this Bible study. Denise is herself a combination of Mary and Martha.