We have partnered with a local Internet café to provide Web connectivity to the school.
We continue to explore ways in which the Internet we have installed at the three-story school can be used to connect Haiti to the world, our staff to our New York global office, and our kids to French-speaking teachers in Paris, Montreal, or even Lome in Francophone West Africa.
After a staff meeting, half of our global team left for meetings in Port-au-Prince. We will all rendezvous in several days to fly back to New York. One quarter of our team crossed the mountain on the road badly earthquake-damaged.
They went to Jacmel to meet local leaders to discuss potential collaboration towards reconstruction and orphan care in Jacmel. I began a program in Jacmel years ago which eventually moved to Gonaives after Jacmel. I know the city well and it has a special place in my heart.
Internet-connectivity is integral to the elementary and secondary school, to virtually all of our NGO partners here local and international, and especially to Orphans International Worldwide. OIWW uses the Internet to connect its projects around the world through daily staff conferences via one of our corporate sponsors, Skype.
In the afternoon we set up yet another tent donated by Dr. Tiffany Keenan in the schoolyard of Ecole la Redemption. This tent will host another 40 high school students, three to a long school desk. Our team took two hours to set our first tent. We can now do the large tents in 30 minutes.
Our team’s Vanessa Kim interviews Kyung-hoo Roh of Good Neighbors at our new location
— one of the few three-story schools that survived the earthquake anywhere in Haiti.
Meetings continue on the side throughout the day. I agreed with our new local NGO partner, the Nouveu College Surin Eveillard secondary school principal Philippe Beauliere, to not only support students in the 13th grade, but also students in the 12th grade as well. Both will stand for national university entrance examinations April 2011, if not sooner. No one really knows yet. The government lies in ruin.
Towards the end of the day we receive our first Internet connectivity since we have been in Haiti and I find about 1,500 e-mails waiting for me. I sent out a message to our immediate team members in New York that we are alive and well and making tremendous progress, knowing I will have full access by the next day and can spend 12 hours catching up with correspondence.
I also took a moment to update my Facebook profile with our progress, for the first time in five days.
In five days we had struck multiple new partnerships with NGOs and local corporations, made tremendous progress networking with the United Nations “blue helmets” (MINUSTAH), the U.N. coordinating body OCHA, hired local and global staff, set up several tent classrooms in preparation for next Monday, April 5 re-opening of the Haitian educational system – and got our entire team connected to the Worldwide Web.
Change begins with all of us. All of us here — our 12 international team members — are involved with enormous, life-transformative change. We will return to the U.S. shortly, but we will remain connected via the Internet. We are Internet-connected.
Photos by Morgan Freeman. Originally publiched in The Daily Kos, April 4, 2010.
Other Stories by Jim Luce about Reconstruction in Haiti
Live Report: No Spiders to Bite Me in My Pre-Dawn Haitian Shower(Huffington Post)
Follow Jim Luce on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimluce