Day 2 in Port-au-Prince: Balanse a Drot a Goch

LitWorld's Executive Director, Pam Allyn, and Creative Director, Dorothy Lee, are visiting LitWorld's Innovation Hub in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Dorothy is keeping the LitWorld community updated and connected to the work happening in Haiti with daily reports from the field.

"We had a wonderful second day here in Port au Prince. Today was focused on our engaging, dedicated, loving TOYA LitClub Leaders.

We visited the beautiful Hub space and met with a carpenter who has been working with Nadine to draw up plans for furniture, from sectioned desks for the cyber cafe area, to bookshelves for the library area, and talk with him about the optimal sizes and placement.

We then gathered together with the TOYA women who are running LitClubs, as well as our inspirational interpreter Peterson, and our dear and wise driver Armand, and did a refresher training on the different aspects of the LitClubs, from singing, to affirmations, to community building, and reading aloud.

One of the highlights was surely a rousing round of Mingle Mingle, during which we got into some heated chants about all manner of topics. And our version of Bullfrog, which translates to Hatian Creole as Crapo, turned into a full-on dance party as we sang "Balanse a dwat a goch, dwat a goch, dwat a goch, balanse a dwat a goch, dwat a goch, ki sa?"

The women shared moving responses to the prompt "Think of an important memory you have," browsed the French and Creole picture books, and we had a delicious lunch, brought over by Maria, the inspiring HIV positive woman who we must connect with the Power Women in Kibera.

In the late afternoon, we visited a LitClub made up of teens who have just had a few years of school because of their very hard lives. It was, as with so many, a tough yet entirely tender group. We played a name game to get a bit silly first, and then used a similar prompt to earlier, asking the girls to draw their hearts and then draw or write inside one or two memories that they hold in their hearts. They shared moving stories of hardship and strength, of lives without the family support they deserve.

Next, we had them present hopes (espwa) for their LitClub. They would like to become LitClub leaders in the future.

Looking forward to Day 3, stay tuned for more updates and highlights!"

--Dorothy Lee