2020_1_Vánoce v Gonaives-orez

Haiti – Since Christmas, Haiti has been more peaceful than it was in the previous six months. The riots in the streets, with some exceptions in the capital, ceased. Blockades and armed gangs disappeared from the big streets. These occur only sporadically. The security situation has improved both in the capital and in Gonaïves, where we have our partner school.

After more than four months, the school of Emmaus St. Joseph in the second largest city of Gonaïves opens its gate. “For the first week, parents were afraid to send their children to school because they were not sure whether the dangerous situation would continue. But since the second week again there were sitting in the benches all 741 children. We could see their joy and enthusiasm. Teaching is in a full swing,” says Sr. Margaret. “Most students have forgotten what they learned in their previous class. It is therefore a great challenge for teachers to motivate them to continue their studies. Moreover, the academic year has been shortened this year. It will only take six months, so we have to adjust the pace of teaching and the curriculum accordingly. ”

Food crisis despite

The school canteen is also full. “Parents insist that children have milk and food at school because they have nothing to offer at home. It is therefore our priority to get more cooking ingredients. It is a pleasure to see children like milk and lunch food,” continues Sr. Margaret. However, it is not easy for sisters of the Order of St. Joseph, because there was high inflation in Haiti in 2019 and prices of ordinary food increased up to three times. For example, a 25-kg bag of rice costs $ 23. This is related both to the economic crisis that rules the country and to the lack of food supply, which according to the UN is in a state of food crisis. More than 4 million people are at risk of acute food shortages. You can also help by contributing to meals for school children, or for the whole school.

At Gonaïves school children receive nourishing milk

Since the beginning of the year, there is also open a nutrition and therapy centre, which is run by Indian nurses in Gonaïves.

Waiting for Santa Claus

While in the village of Baie de Henne the children celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, those in Gonaïves had to wait for Santa until mid-January. In Haiti, it is customary to celebrate Christmas not only at home with your family, but also with all your friends and friends. Not surprisingly, there is one celebration at school, another at the church and another at the market. People are happy to be together, have a small gift such as a mango or a banana from the garden, and enjoy common moments of well-being. Children celebrated Christmas at the Gonaïves school on 27th January.

But even pupils from Baie de Henne village have no time to idle. There the school has been running since September. That is why in mid-February schoolchildren are waiting for half-year exams. Despite the fact that home is spoken in Creole, there is a study in French. In addition to the knowledge of the subject, the knowledge of the French language (and often from the first grade) is also required to advance to other classes. Who does not pass the exam must repeat the subject.

Lada Matyášová, Archdiocesan Charity Olomouc