Haiti update: School vs “peyi a lòk”
Conducting school in Haiti is hard right now. Each week there are protests throughout the city and sometimes the effects even reach the countryside, where most of our schools are located. The concept of “peyi a lòk” – locking down the country through disrupting movement with roadblocks and the like – continues to be the major popular response to anger at the government, a spike in gas prices, and a dramatic increase in the cost of living.
In this community meeting which was held recently at the Children’s Academy, a central topic was whether or not to keep school open. In some cases, protestors have viewed schools staying open as a betrayal of “peyi lòk.” In the city, this has led to schools being vandalized.
In this meeting – which was made up of members from our Community Change groups which span 8 different neighboring communities in the vicinity of the Children’s Academy – after much discussion, the group agreed that students shouldn’t suffer because of the political situation and that school should stay open.
As a kind of compromise, a few days later we decided to have students come to school, but for them not to wear their uniforms – showing solidarity with the protests, while still keeping the kids in school.
It’s a delicate balance, but we feel very good about one thing: Despite all these extraordinary challenges, the school community is demonstrating its resilience and commitment to their children’s education. We sometimes talk about “islands of sanity”. We are very proud to see the Children’s Academy community showing what an island of sanity looks like amidst all the troubling issues in Haiti right now.
Erik Badger for Haiti Partners