Louverture Cleary School was able to reopen earlier this week since protests are no longer preventing access to marketplaces and transportation. While we hope for the best and that this relative calm will continue, we are continuing to monitor the situation very closely for signs that appropriate civil disobedience might again boil over into unrest. It has always been THP’s mission to operate in Haiti not because of stability but, with due concern for the safety of our students, to be stability. For the moment, at least, we are grateful to be up and running again as a haven and model of stability during challenging times.
A Volunteer at Louverture Cleary School (LCS) wears many hats: teacher, supervisor, mentor, coach, sacristan, and community member, to name just a few. Volunteers live in community with Haitian colleagues who have chosen to live the intentional life of the Volunteer Community in two houses adjacent to LCS: the men reside in the St. Francis House and the women reside in the St. Clare House. As with the early Christian communities, Volunteers live and work together from sun up to sun down for the collective good of the community.
Here’s a glimpse at a day in the life of a Volunteer at LCS:
5:00am—6:00am: Volunteers wake up to do some early morning grading, reading or study, eat breakfast, and get ready for the day.
6:30am: Volunteers gather with members of LCS Staff in the chapel for morning prayer.
7:00am—3:25pm: Volunteers teach between four and eight periods of classes. Classes typically taught by Volunteers are English, Religion, Economics, Math, Spanish, Athletics, and Computers. During off periods, Volunteers plan their lessons or fulfill other community responsibilities, such as supervising their weekly Work Hour, assisting in the Koukouy Sen Kle (Fireflies of St. Clare) Early Childhood Development Program, or fulfilling their cleaning duties in their house community.
3:35pm—4:30pm: Volunteers supervise the students during afternoon Netwayaj (clean-up) or supervise Study Hour.
4:30pm—5:30pm: During Play Hour, Volunteers run various activities and clubs for students like soccer and basketball, Language Store, theatre and art. If it's their night to prepare dinner, Volunteers spend this time cooking dinner for the residential house community.
6:00pm: Volunteers and Staff in the St. Francis and St. Clare Houses have dinner together.
7:00pm—8:45pm: Volunteers supervise Study Hour to ensure that the students are studying diligently and quietly.
8:45pm—9:00pm: Volunteers gather in the chapel for evening prayer together.
9:00pm—10:00pm: Volunteers return to their respective houses for some final lesson planning, grading, reading, and study before going to sleep.
10:00pm: Lights out for the Volunteers and the LCS community to recharge and do it all again tomorrow!
THP Volunteers: when teaching is more than teaching…
The Haitian Project’s Volunteer Program is central to fully carrying out its mission and has been for 25 years. While teaching Louverture Cleary students makes up the bulk of a Volunteer’s daily work, teaching is not actually considered a Volunteer’s most important job. A Volunteer’s most important job is to be fully present within THP’s community as a physical embodiment of the Louverture Cleary School motto: “What you receive for free, you must give for free.” Matthew 10:8
THP Volunteers are certainly teachers, supervisors, coaches, mentors. They also help form programs that focus on care of the environment, community outreach, and economic development. But, as they continually offer the gift of themselves, their value lies in more than their work. Volunteers are not expected to be polished teachers, but rather, members of a community—responsible for carrying out THP’s mission as an expressing its charism. Volunteers are truly “leaven in the dough” elevating the work of all.
THP is grateful for the current Volunteer Community members serving at LCS and all Volunteer Alumni who came before them!