By buildOn’s Rosann Jager, Vice President of International Programs
John Marek, Haiti Country Director
It didn’t take long to find inspiration. John and I witnessed an amazing story when we traveled to Berette, a small community about 45 minutes away from our Haiti office in Les Cayes. I always carry a pocket-sized notebook, so after putting our notes together we decided to co-write this blog.
Berette has many strong community leaders, both men and women, and with the pastor of the local “Iglise de Dieu” (Church of God) church in the lead, they have gone above and beyond our expectations for what a community can accomplish together. During our first community meeting, our staff told the leaders to prepare for a 12-week construction period. The pastor responded, “We will do it in eight weeks.” None of the staff could suppress their smiles of disbelief. One even laughed a bit as we told him that our fasted community, at the time, had only finished building a school in 11 weeks.
In order to meet this ambitious goal, the community members worked double-shifts. One crew would work from 8 am to 5 pm, followed by a break of a few hours. During that time, they collected donations from the group to buy fuel for a generator. Then around 9 pm, another crew of over 50 people continued to work on the school until 2 am! Then there were workers who started the 8 am work shift. That is 29 hours of work in a 33-hour time span; an incredible display of hard work in the name of education!
The community members in Berette kept their promise: the school was done in eight weeks. In order to keep this momentum going, we worked with the community to break ground on three more classrooms in the same community. They continue to work at an intense level, are progressing at a rapid pace, and should be done in a matter of weeks.
Their commitment to education and willingness to work hard to bring a proper school building to their village has been infectious. Our entire Haiti staff is even more energized and they have been telling the story of Berette sy community meetings across the country.
Inspired to help build a school in Haiti? Visit our Get Involved page for more information.