Si pa te gen bourik, pa te gen milet.
Haitian Proverb of the Week
If there were no donkeys, there would be no mules. meaning, A small thing may bring about something more important. Parents work hard so their children can get ahead.
In Haiti education is not free. Textbooks don’t come with the classroom. Every single book must be purchased by the parents. Children cannot just walk in the door on the first day. They must first pay an entry fee. Then they must be clothed in the required uniform, usually requiring a white shirt, a short sleeved dress shirt, pants or skirt, white socks, and nice sneakers or dress shoes. All this plus pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks, money for a snack, sometimes money for transportation, etc.
School was supposed to start the first week of September. The government pushed it back to October. Why? In order to give parents more time to come up with the money needed to send their child or children to school. Education is not taken for granted. Parents understand that knowing French and math and history and the like could be the key to keeping their kids out of poverty. Many times families hope that one child will someday acquire a good paying job that will support everyone in the family unit. I have heard of families who choose the smartest child to send to school while other siblings are expected to work in the fields or streets (as vendors) to help pay the fees needed for this chosen one to complete their education. It is a choice I am sure many Americans could not imagine making: choose one child to potentially succeed and regretfully resign the others to a life of labor. But parents do it. Parents here work from sun up to sun down, farming, walking miles to sell their wares at various markets, all to give at least one of their children the chance at a future.
As schools in the states really get underway now that the first month of introductions and beginnings has ended, I ask you to thank God for the public education our country has established. Is it perfect? Of course not. Very few things in this world are. But it provides younger generations with skills that can lead to any number of professions. And we never have to fret about which child to choose to receive these skills. We never have to tell our children that sorry, but school cannot happen this year, we didn’t get the money, maybe next year if we work hard. And also thank God that this year, thanks to generous donors and sponsors, our 18 children plus 15 other village children will be able to attend school, some alongside their siblings, knowing they will have all the books and supplies they need and will be able to continue their education no matter what their family’s financial situation.