The Road to ADECA
Sara Simeunovic, our guest writer, has been a passionate supporter of Haiti since her first visit 14 years ago. Since then, she’s been to Haiti over a dozen times leading numerous short-term teams. This February, she helped to facilitate a visit from Matthews Methodist Church in North Carolina.
Upon a mountainside, not too far from the thousands of busy lives scurrying about below in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; sits a school known as ADECA (Academie des Enfants et Centre d’Apprentissage/ Children’s Academy and Learning Center). How does one find ADECA? Visibly, you would be able to find small white, wooden arrows on trees with the red letters “ADECA” written on them. If you follow the signs long enough, eventually you will come to a well, turn left and you will find the academy. These are the physical, more concrete markers to help you find your way towards ADECA. However, the best way to get there just might be through the story of ADECA itself; through the lives and names of the ones who make up this precious community.
During the past eight days, I have had the honor of learning more about this community and the work of Haiti Partners; the organization in Haiti which founded this unique academy for children. Through the long-term vision of their lead team, along with collaborative efforts from other key partnerships in Haiti; it became more and more evident over time the circle of lasting change Haiti Partners is creating for this nation. This truth became even more evident to me one morning as I was speaking with the men and women who help care for the school. Our team arrived the morning after the dedication ceremony to help clean up some of the trash which might have been left from the night before. Although we arrived around 9am, to our surprise the entire school and area was clean. A group of eager parents (of school attendees) awoke early the same morning to volunteer to clean up the school. When I asked them about their commitment to their community, one father replied, “A few years ago, I would have never imagined a school such as this would have ever been possible. Now we have this hope and this nice light in our community and I want to take care of it. It is ours and I have to make sure it is looked after.”
Throughout the week, I spoke with many parents as well as school staff whose faces and hearts expressed great pride and gratitude for this new found hope in their community; a hope that I am sure without them having been part of the process might not be the same hope we see in them today. Places to grow and areas to thrive, this was the hope she was wanting to give every student which walked in door at the children’s academy. As we spoke she shared with me about how important every life is, that we must value each child and work together with parents if we are going to have a healthy community. As her and I were speaking, excitement filled her eyes as we stood on the steps of the school, speaking of the children inside and then later pointing to those on the playground.
The road to ADECA is lined with homes and fields, to which belong many new familiar faces and names. Taking some time on a few occasions to walk this path in the afternoons, I would often pass by them. “Bonjou, kouman ou ye?”, we would greet as we pass by. With a kiss on the cheek and a smile in their eyes, I could not help but consider lives, their stories, their futures and their dreams. How grateful I am to know them, to walk this road to ADECA alongside them.
From where I sit tonight, airplanes, travelers, and terminals are only in view. White arrow signs with red letters, goats, wells, and magnificent landscapes are no where to be found (though I am trying to imagine). Friendly faces, beautiful smiles like those on the way to ADECA, and the chances of anyone in this terminal speaking Creole with myself are very slim. Though the sunlight which leads the way to ADECA seems further away tonight, I am certain even as I am writing its road is still very much alive with hope in the hearts of its people.
Mèsi Bokou (thank you very much) ADECA for sharing yourselves with us.