Before coming to Cange, a village of about 3,400 people, I had an slight expectation of boredom--life in a sleepy little village in the mountains of Haiti would be far less active than, say, life in Sao Paolo or Hong Kong right? After all I do drink from coconuts, ride in dug out canoes, and sit through five hour church services on some Sundays. Quite the active life.
|When life gives you a fallen tree, make a dugout canoe.|
After spending two and a half months here, however, there has hardly been a shortage of things to do.
Groups of visitors come in all the time, bringing with them unique stories and impressions of the village and Haiti. Since October began, we've seen several groups from EDUSC, a group of Clemson Engineers from Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries, and a large group of dentists including fellow YASCer Julie Burd and fellow Episcopal missionary Kyle Evans.
|Julie Burd and me|
I've also done some introductory work with three different youth groups in the village that all focus on education and the development in Cange. I've enjoyed my brief meetings with them, and I hope to encourage them to work together and to leverage them in the economic development projects. The most immediate of their projects seem to be creating a public forum for the village and increasing the access to education through additional schools.
Economic development projects are slowly progressing, at least in concept. I've attended meetings for agricultural initiatives, forming a study abroad center, creating a virtual education center for Cange residents, creating a new market place, and micro lending, among others. I'm excited to see these projects move forward with the various groups interested in developing them.
A big part of this advancement will be the formation of the town council that I'm assisting. The sub committee is prepared to move forward with the plans for the council in the next couple of weeks. I look forward to seeing the new council created and helping them begin their projects around Cange. The current plan for the economic development projects is to generate the proposals through the town council and then seek support from EDUSC. They could also help build local ownership and maintenance of civil infrastructure like the water system and future latrine projects and the operation of a new market place.
Students, teachers and parents in Cange are looking forward to the coming school year, which finally started yesterday and will be in full swing by the end of the week. There is still work to be done including some electrical repairs, completing the inventory for the books, and replacing some benches and chairs in the classrooms.
|Another angle of Lake Peligre|