Thursday, August 16, 2012

Teaching at a Haitian college!

At long last, the past four years of informally teaching ecology in schools and workshops in Haiti has led to an opportunity to teach at a small university on Haiti’s southern coast!*  This fall I will teach (in English) Tropical Ecology and Project Management at the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) in Les Cayes. 

Les Cayes is a coastal town, Haiti’s 3rd largest city.  Here’s a video of the town (if you’d like to visit please note that it has resorts!).  AUC is a Christian college of about 300 students and is accredited by the Haitian Dept. of Education.  They offer three degrees: Civil Engineering, Agriculture and Environmental Science, and Community Education.  The dean of the college, has a blog which will give you a sense of the classrooms and labs.  She indicated that though tuition is very low by US standards, students make a big sacrifice to attend the university.  Also, students are not able to afford textbooks, but photocopy relevant pages of textbooks to share. 

I will basically have no budget for classroom activities but will use the resources I’ve acquired for the informal education I’ve been doing in the central plateau, and binoculars and items recently donated.  I will also be looking for opportunities to continue teaching ecology in the local schools and perhaps community centers.  AUC cannot afford to pay their American teachers, but I’ll be teaching in exchange for room and board.  My church has set up an account for any funds that people wish to donate to help with education on or off campus (to donate on-line look here under GIVE).  Some of my expenses will include: a cell phone, food for days the cooks have off, transportation around town, taking the students on field trips, travel back and forth from the capital, and teaching materials.  See this blog's side bar for how to donate to these projects directlyAnd one of my biggest needs will be your prayers and support as I figure out how to teach college students who have not had the educational opportunities we get in high school and for whom English is a second language.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates about this new adventure!

*Here’s the back story for those just joining this blog.  My dream of moving to Haiti is to teach both adults and kids about science and the wonderful creation that surrounds them in Haiti.  My experience in rural Haiti is that people rely so directly on their environment for their agriculture and water, yet have many misunderstandings and superstitions about nature, many tied to voodoo (Such as snakes actually are the devil and should be killed!  But in reality there are no venomous snakes in Haiti and they eat the rats that eat grain and chew on the people’s feet at night).  People have told me they thought they couldn't do anything to improve their environment because the degradation was all due to evil.  They were elated to learn the science behind it and realize they could make a difference.  It's sounding like teaching at AUC will be a perfect first step, or maybe long term fit, for this vision!

1 comment:

  1. Please email me at I would like to help