Today was our final day in Grande Saline, and as our bus pulled up hundreds of kids ran to greet us. Our numbers have grown each day, and we estimate that we had well over 400 children with us today. With the numbers this large it was difficult to work on organized songs and actvities, but there was plenty of singing and dancing and the kids who had made instruments seemed to enjoy using them. A few of the boys really went to town with Marcia’s drum. We rented a large and very powerful sound system and moved the party outside. It was loud and crazy and very fun. Today’s lunch was very special, the children ate rice, beans and goat. The four lunch ladies did an awesome job cooking and serving so many children. And they did it all with a smile.
Lynn finished her workshop on “Multiple Intelligences”. All of the teachers from Grande Saline received a certificate and they were able to keep all of the materials that Lynn prepared and brought for the workshop. It was very touching when Lynn told them that she retired last month and that instead of gifts she collected money for the teachers. They often go months without pay. Because of Lynn’s generosity the teachers will all receive their salary for the first three months of the school year. It was hard for them to believe that Lynn would do this for them.
We also gave out the books designed by Lynn’s GFJ students. They are the start of a school library in Grande Saline. We distributed flip-flops and school supplies collected by Tioga Hills Elementary School and Saint John the Evangelist School, and soccer tournament supplies collected by 5th grade at Johnson City Elementary School. Thank you to all the New York School Children who sent these items.
We were also thrilled to have two members of the Saint Marc Rotary visit us in Grande Saline to survey our projects. We are hoping that they will partner with Heath for Haiti, the Endwell Rotary, and other upstate New York Rotary Clubs on a Rotary International Global Grant. The grant would be used to convert the water system from gas to solar power. They were very impressed with our project and even had a drink of our water. We had a great meeting with community members and the Rotary members. They exchanged contact information and plan to begin working together in the near future.
Overall, it was a great day. We are finally home at Jude’s (after a couple bus “issues” and looking forward to a shower and some rest. Thanks to this amazing team and to the people of Grande Saline.