|Me sharing a a Paper Bead Lesson|
As many of you know I was fortunate to be able to take a trip to Haiti last summer (2011). The goal of our group was to build a chicken coupe in a small village community while spreading the Good News.
One of the cultural differences led to the Haitian males taking away most of the American women’s jobs while working on the chicken house (polaye in Creole). Though frustrating for some of the ladies in our group, this was a good thing for two reasons. First, I strongly believe that it was our job to equip people rather than do for them. And second (third, fourth and fifth), this dynamic led to me being surrounded by tons of kids, and the opportunities to lead art lessons, learn some Creole, and having the chance to spend quality time with one of the older girls. One-on-one time with a role model of some sort is a major need for many young women in Haiti. In fact if I go again I plan to take nail polish to share with the young women (probably women of all ages).
The photo above is me teaching some of the order girls and young boys how to make paper beads. You can read more about the Upcycled paper beads in my tutorial. I also took around 60 friendship bracelet kits (just cut string ready to be braided or knotted) Using art to connect with people was a unique and beautiful experience. I went in with no Creole and some of the older kids knew how to count to 5 in English and say Miami. The art lessons allowed me to make friends with one of the families as well as some other kids and leaders in the community. Using art allowed us to teach each other basic language skills but also forces us to use sign language (actually having sign language experience was more beneficial than my Spanish) and other forms of communication such as body language and sounds.
I would love the opportunity to go back to the small village again, to show the kids that it was not a one-time event, but rather a sincere investment in their lives. I also have a small amount of money to take back from selling my art in response to the first trip.