the shelah marie

Encouraging healthy women from the inside out.

Update 10 -- Setbacks & Such -- Sustainable Theater Workshop

Going with the flow? August 7th, 2012

I arrived to Haiti on July 30th. I was supposed to start The Sustainable Theater Workshop that week, but since travel is not that easy in Haiti and multiple people usually have to travel in one vehicle, we had to wait a week (!) before going to San Rafael where the cultural center is. My first session ended up being on August 4th, so I really only have less than two weeks with the kids in my program. It’s extremely frustrating that I lost so much class time, but what ya gonna do? I really enjoy my time when I am working with the kids, but I'm finding that organizationally and logistically things are harder than I expected. I haven't had the same group of kids twice and that's very hard when trying to establish trust and create a sense of community.

Also, there is an interesting power dynamic going on the classroom. It's a male dominated space. When I ask for volunteers, the girls look around and check for the "permission" of their male counterparts before going. The room is absolutely dominated by the boys, particularly one boy (archetypal alpha male) who controls the temperature of the room. This is just a refection of the gender dynamics more generally in San Rafael. In many ways, the traditional male-female roles are the only option for the kids. I want to tell the girls in my class that thy can b a morn woman an o whatever they want, but saying that without any real structures in place to support that idea is dangerous territory.

I am staying with the owners of the agency in their San Rafael home, which has given me a great perspective to the style of living in the Haitian countryside. Yesterday we drove to Gwasimal, a small town deep in the bush. Earlier in the week we went to Pétion-Ville, which is where many white landowners live in Haiti. It’s clearly more constructed and developed than other parts. We visited to the crowed capitol of Port Au Prince, the quaint town of Mirebalais (the only place I’ve visited so far that has 24 electricity) and San Rafael, where the workshop will be held.

That's all for now.

Shelah