I have “friend” that lives at an orphanage. I must admit, I became his friend after he told me several times that I was his friend. His favorite expressions seem to be “James, my friend,” and “thanks be to God.” About 2 years ago, he came to COHH and said that he wanted to help us with the children. He speaks Creole and English, but he needs to work on his English. My friend graduated high school in July of this year. For the past couple of years he has been volunteering at COHH primarily helping with the children with Creole. He is a bright young man that desperately wants to go to “university.”
My friend stays at an orphanage that provides education for children through the 8th grade and then sends them to the local catholic high school to complete their high school education. My friend asked me to help him to go to a university in Port Au Prince. Unfortunately, in Haiti there are many schools of higher learning that charge young people money but do not provide much in the way of education. The school my friend wanted to attend does not appear to be an exception. My friend was not receiving any guidance or help from the people at his orphanage. He was told that when he finishes high school he had to leave the orphanage. He was concerned that if he did not go to a university, he would not have anywhere to go.
I told my friend that he should consider going to college in America, but to do so he needed to demonstrate that he could read, write and comprehend English. He said that he would be willing to learn. We recommended that he visit a well-regarded school in Port Au Prince where he could be trained to read, write and comprehend English. It turns out that this recommendation was almost the kiss of death for my friend.
My friend asked the director at the orphanage for permission go to Port Au Prince with us to visit the school where he could learn English. The director became irate and accused him of “crossing the line!” He denied him permission to go to Port Au Prince and threatened to dismiss him from the orphanage. We are stunned by this development since we thought the director would be delighted that one of the students was being helped to pursue his dream of going to a university.
Out of concern for my friend, I cannot use his name. He is an orphan at an orphanage.