After months of study, research and planning, I am pleased to announce that our friends at the Guepard Boxing Club in Cité Soleil opened the Barefoot School this week. While we still have much work to do, we are very grateful to the families and individuals who have opened their hearts and purses to help us reach this important milestone.
Only 13 students attended the first day of class on Monday. Although the small number was disappointing and well short of the 100 children we have planned for, I encouraged our manager in Haiti and his staff not to worry. “Even Jesus started with only 12 apostles,” I told him. True to the good news, 73 students assembled at the entrance on Tuesday. By the end of the week, we had 113 children and have acquired an additional teacher, and expanded to five classrooms.
On Tuesday, Justin walked me through the classrooms with a video chat. It was an extraordinary and uplifting experience to see so many young smiling, focused, and even intense young faces thirsty for knowledge and hungry to learn.
One picture, in particular, struck me in an unexpected way. As I watched that child hold his pencil, it occurred to me that he had never held a pencil before in his life. Justin confirmed that thought and added that most of the children had never held a writing implement. I am humbled. I have taken so many things for granted in my life, and yet these children are mesmerized by the ability to use a simple pencil.
We have miles to go before we sleep, but the Barefoot School is off to a good start thanks to our teachers, principal, and managers in Haiti and to the first responders who have answered our call. If you can help, please use the contact form below to send us your questions and comments and we will respond quickly.