"I awoke to the familiar sound of my tin roof under siege as another rainstorm sweeps through the mountains. Something is different though, the air is bristling with energy and as my senses slowly come to life, the bustling sound of activity draws me out. Stumbling, I emerge in the soft glow of an infant sun to see Francky, the schools principal, positively sparkling; standing by the concrete railing polishing his black leather shoes for what can only be the fifth time going on the shine radiating of them. Shielding my eyes from the glare I look up and see the mile wide smile and it hits me: Today is the day, the day of days, Duchity’s Vocation School is finally opening up its newly repaired doors for another batch of hope-full students. Well, technically the school's doors have been open for awhile now as its sturdy buildings serve in place for less sturdy ones, and some of the area's first graders, as well as high school students flood the compound with life.
First class of the year is a computer class and I manage to drag my trusty friend and invaluable translator, Philippe, to ambush a couple of students as they emerge from the classroom. We swoop down and separate Jean Jeounty (22) and Noël Isande (21) from the laughing herd and with my “at least he tried” level of Creole seek to hear the voice of the people. And from their genuine smiles I’m drawn to believe them. Both Jean and Noël speak particularly positive about the way the teacher conducted the lesson and simply hope the other lessons will follow suit. But why do these young mountain dwellers decide to enroll in the Vocational school in the first place and learn the mystical art of computers? Jean, straightforward in his shyness says that he hopes to ‘up his knowledge’. Short and to the point - a man after my own heart. Noël, bold and confident looks at her fellow classmate with a raised eyebrow; takes a step forward and unleashes a wonderful monologue ….. the essence of Noël's message , like her few worded companion, she is on a quest for knowledge, but also recognizes that the world is knocking on Haiti’s door and computer knowledge is paramount for life in a modern society. She also has friends who work in the information sector and who encourage her … several girls [who attended the Vocational School] now have jobs as we speak. Since they graduated only last October it is indeed something to be proud of.
Needless to say, both the staff and students are looking at the coming year with great expectations and with great hope for a bright future for both the school and for the nation and its next generation."