I had been talking with Gary Boice for the better half of a year about returning to Jeremie, Haiti but outside events kept arising to delay the trip. First, there was the onset of Hurricane Matthew in October, 2016. Then there was political unrest in January, 2017. Finally in late April, after a speedy road-trip across the country from California to Louisville, I found myself on the plane to Port-au-Prince, and then the small one traveling to Jeremie.
It was a little surreal to look over the same cliffs that form the Haitian coast as we approached Jeremie from the air. It had been almost a year and a half since I left in December, 2015, and I could already see some of the changes that had occurred. Most noticeable was the damage done by the hurricane. Many trees had been stripped of their vegetation and even blown over, while buildings were severely damaged or in ruins. Nevertheless, the familiar signs of life seemed more or less the same, with motorcycles and cars dodging the potholes in the roads as men leading mules laden with charcoal and women carrying their burdens on their heads made their way to the market. Still, it wasn’t until I began to see my old colleagues that it truly hit home that I was back. Their warm greetings assured me of what a good thing it was to be back in Jeremie volunteering with Tek4Kids again.
As usual, with Gary’s arrival a flurry of activity and excitement ensued, in part because Gary’s son, Michael Boice, gave a week long IT seminar at St. Francis School of Technology. This was received with great enthusiasm by the students who often continued to ask questions even after the allotted time. As for myself, I found a place in the classroom at St. Francis where I had the privilege to work with Mr. Reginal Remarais, Tek4Kids’ English language instructor. Together we prepared lessons and activities for the students at St. Francis, giving me the opportunity to know them on a more personal level, for which I am grateful. In addition to this, I also held English classes for the Tek4Kids teachers during the evenings, much to my delight as it is our quality staff of intelligent, hardworking individuals that is one of the best parts about working with Tek4Kids.
All in all, it was good to be part of an organization like Tek4Kids again. I know of few places where one can find such a dedicated group of people committed to helping others improve themselves as well as their communities. Truly, it was refreshing to be back.