Monday, June 23, 2014

BuildaBridge & Mercersburg 2014 Report

"Bèl Bonjou se paspò w"
"A beautiful greeting is your passport"

From June 1-10, BuildaBridge International collaborated with Mercersburg Academy for an educational service and cultural exchange project in Haiti.  Under the guidance of INAM (Inyon N a Sonje, AFSAKA, and MJRAV), a group of 9 students and teachers underwent an immersive experience of Haitian culture and language in the rural community of Gwo Jan (Gros Jean).

Gwo Jan is a quiet rural community in the mountains about an hour and a half's drive east of Port-au-Prince. In the morning, residents rise early to sweep the dust and leaves from their front steps. The calling of roosters and barking of dogs generally serve as an alarm clock. Corn grows in between mango, breadfruit, plantain and almond trees. The trees provide shade and shelter from the intensely hot sun. There are waterfalls and fresh springs where local residents gather to collect drinking water, wash clothes, bathe, or just cool off from the heat. A single dusty, rocky road winds through the town. In the evening, farmers walk their cows (on rope leashes) to communal fields for grazing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We Will Remember, We Will Learn

This summer, BuildaBridge and Mercersburg Academy of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania will partner for a youth tutoring and educational service project. The project supports BuildaBridge's values of education and cross-cultural exchange and Mercersburg Academy's values of diversity and service. A group of Mercersburg students and faculty will travel to Port-au-Prince, Haiti under the leadership of BuildaBridge personnel. The group will stay at the N a Sonje Foundation in Pétion-Ville and undergo an immersive experience of Haitian culture.

N a Sonje, a Creole phrase meaning "we will remember", specializes in hosting visitors, groups, volunteers, researchers, journalists to share in the history, language and culture of Haiti as well as to connect them with communities, groups, and organizations in order to provide tools for a meaningful, respectful and impactful visit. N a Sonje, in collaboration with national development leaders, also has programs that include micro-loans for women in the Foundation's base community, higher education scholarships, as well as organizational capacity building for itself and local organizations.

Mercersburg students will provide several days of service while tutoring locals students in English and Math. Mercersburg students will partner with local "twins" and have the opportunity of cross-cultural exchange and understanding. As "twins", Mercersburg and Haitian students will learn about each other's culture in a way that transcends conventional stereotypes and viewpoints. Creole lessons, traditional dance, and drumming lessons will allow the students to immerse themselves in Haiti's rich artistic culture. Students will also have the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of Haiti's rural landscape, waterfalls, and beaches.