In our trip report from March 2011, we spoke of a meeting with the women of Nan Mango. Our wonderful translator Bob told us that this was a very bad idea, that we would be hit with a wish list of things the women wanted us to bring. We told Bob that we were prepared for that but just wanted the dialogue. The women talked about the need for healthcare for their families and the ongoing need for water. They expressed an interest in sewing. And then, a slender woman from the back of the room raised her hand and came forward. She said, “you teach our children and help with our school but we want to learn how to read and write too.” The room exploded in applause and we were overwhelmed by this simple, most basic desire.
Bob had to excuse himself after the meeting to collect himself. He had been profoundly moved. When we returned to St. Francis that evening and told Pere Soner about our meeting, his eyes filled with tears. He had no idea that this desire to read was so intense. He talked about the mission of his church and how reading was fundamental to that mission.
We returned to Atlanta determined to find a solution. After much research, we have made contact with an adult literacy training program based in Port-au-Prince and hope to soon report that we have officially launched this initiative.