“I have been trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life since retiring after 22 years of service with the US Army. My kids are adults now and I am basically free to explore a new life. The answer to this dilemma came via a phone call from my friend Jeanne Hammond, whom I had not talked to in more than 10 years. Jeanne and I were parents at Sacred Heart Model school and it was a welcome phone call to catch up about our college-age kids and life in general.
Jeanne remembered I had mentioned to her I was born in Cap-Haitien, Haiti and hoped someday to return there to do some type of work. So she introduced me to Rose Yunker, a Tek4Kids volunteer who needed another volunteer to support the English program at the technology school in Jeremie, Haiti. I jumped at the opportunity to become a Tek4Kids volunteer. I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into, but it felt right. I dedicated myself for the school year and was planning to leave in September, 2016. Because Jeremie suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew and other events, I was not able to leave until January, 2017. When I finally landed in Jeremie, I could not believe I was actually there.
When I was a child growing up in Cap-Haitien, Jeremie seemed like another planet. There was no TV and people just did not travel that far because of poor road conditions. Anyway, I settled into the routine of figuring out the Tek4Kids mission and getting acquainted with the people of Jeremie. It was a nostalgic trip. When I saw the little girls in uniforms and bows in their hair, I was transported back to my childhood.
Our various Tek4Kids partner schools are so grateful for the clean water, electricity, iPads and computer training that Tek4Kids is providing them. After Hurricane Matthew, Tek4Kids was the primary source for infrastructure at our six partner schools. I learned that before Tek4Kids, there was no technology training in Jeremie. Tek4Kids is providing Jeremie the opportunity to become the “Silicon Valley” of Haiti. Granted, we have much work to do to get there. But with God’s grace, the motivation of the Tek4Kids staff and the desire of our partner schools to join the 21st century, we will get there.
What makes Tek4Kids different is that Tek4Kids hires qualified Haitian technology teachers and a maintenance team to manage the infrastructure they have provided. My job as the new Tek4Kids Haiti National Director is to make sure our Haitian staff understands they have “skin in the game.” It is in their power to make lasting change for the future of their community. I provide day-to-day leadership, management and direction to our team leaders in Jeremie, and establish systems and processes that will enable Tek4Kids to achieve its goals and objectives. I believe everything happens for a reason and in God’s timing. Being in Jeremie serving with Tek4Kids is where God has led me.” — Maryse King