We were thrilled to welcome Jane Sampeur to Hinche this fall as a volunteer to work with the children. I am pleased to share with you her thoughts on her experience. Thank you, Jane, for being part of our community and COHH family.
As a public defender working in America’s devastating criminal justice system, I am constantly seeking reminders of life’s beauty. Center of Hope (Haiti) is a wonderful example of just that. This fall I had the good fortune and opportunity to volunteer at COHH for a month. As a second generation Haitian-American, the thought of spending longer than a week in Haiti was a little intimidating, especially because my Kreyol was almost non-existent. COHH is nestled away in the countryside outside of Hinche, where the pace and energy of is significantly different than in Port-Au-Prince and very much inviting.
From the moment I arrived at COHH everyone was welcoming and very helpful. While at COHH, I reviewed legal documents as needed, assisted in the administrative office, as well as worked with students. During the day I assisted the first grade teacher with her class. There, I assisted with reading, writing and basic arithmetic. My first week, I identified a few students who struggled with those subject and focused my attention on assisting them. I was also able to tutor one student in particular both inside and outside of the classroom. One of my favorite moments was seeing him step up to the chalkboard with confidence and correctly perform the task assigned. The prideful look on his face, coupled by the praise and support he received from his teacher and classmates, was an amazing moment.
After school I taught English to some of the teachers and on the weekends I taught English to other members of staff whose positions did not allow them to participate in the lessons after school. This was an excellent opportunity for me to learn more Kreyol, as well teach English. Everyone was very interested in building and learning new skills. There was no shortage of curiosity at COHH.
One of the things that stood out most to me at COHH was the overwhelming sense of community. Teachers and staff in every area of the facility performed with such sincerity and positivity. Most everything about COHH felt like community and love. It was a beautiful reminder of the variations of family. One of the most impactful moments I’ll always remember is rounding a corner to find one student teaching a younger student to read. The level of responsibility everyone took for each other was inspiring.
I take away from this experience many beautiful memories of witty intelligent children and endless laughter and love. I have every intention of working with COHH again in the future.