The rainy season has gone. Summer, although it neglected to check the calendar for an appropriate arrival date, has ushered in its steamy days and sweltering nights. Corn in the fields is tall, forming towering walls along paths that offered open vistas only a few weeks ago. “Bonjour” (“good morning”), when spoken on the street, is often followed by “Li fè cho!” (“It is hot!”). Indeed it is hot, inside houses, outside houses, in the shade, and in the sun. There is little opportunity to find a cool place to sit, only opportunities to find places that are perhaps a little less hot. Gentle breezes flowing inland from the ocean provide some relief, as well as respite from the fresh onslaught of mosquitoes that summer brings. Very few homes have either air conditioning or fans, lacking the electricity needed to run them. Most do not have screens on their windows, their residents opting for decorative cloth hanging over windows, suspended from colorful lengths of cord.
Children are preparing for their year-end examinations. Students juggle celebratory parties and intensive study sessions as they ready themselves to end the year and to take their exams. Soon that will all be over and vacation will begin.
Consistent with the summer break common to all Haitian communities, St Patrick’s conversational English classes will end on June 8, resuming on July 23. Students will be encouraged to meet together over the break to practice their skills. Each will advance to a new level of study when school reopens.
Although classes will not be in session during that time, the employees and volunteers at St Patrick will be very busy. Their first goal will be a thorough clean-up and maintenance of the building and equipment. This will serve the dual purpose of preparing the grounds for the annual Summer Camp, as well as for another school year. The facilities are always kept clean, but deep cleaning, touch-up painting, and minor repairs help to assure that the facility is kept in tip-top condition. This will occupy staff for at least a couple of weeks.
The sparkling fresh facility will then host Summer Camp, an annual program for children in the community. The lasts for one month and includes educational activities, recreational events, field trips to nearby historical and natural places, and plenty of staff availability to the children. They also get a meal each day, perhaps the only meal some of them will receive that day. The four-week event ends with a party and lots of hugs.
The St Patrick staff fill finish up their summer preparing the facility for fall classes and engaging in lesson planning. Although the curriculum draws heavily on Rosetta Stone computerized instruction, staff incorporate other experiences such as reading, video, and group repetition to enhance student learning. Lesson planning involves locating, selecting, previewing, and incorporating these materials.f
Would you like to help with any of the St Patrick summer activities? If so, you’re more than welcome to join us. There’s plenty to do. If you just can’t manage the trip this year, please consider supporting one or more of the summer activities. For example, we need money to buy food and supplies for the children at summer camp, and to fund our field trips. If you can help, please send us a message through the Cap Mona Angel Fund website. We’ll get back to you quickly and will find a way you can be a part of the summer activities.