Imagine watching the world cup final game, second half just started, and suddenly, Blackout! No electricity. This has been my life for several years until inverters and generators became affordable to certain families like mine. Yet most families have not reached this level and cannot afford these tools. Interestingly I’ve noticed a strange thing about the blackout, which has surprisingly taken me to its bright side. Stick with me and in the following lines you’ll discover how bright the dark can be.
I’ve been to several places, and have seen the lack of electricity affecting people in so many different ways, that I came to realize that, too much of any blessing becomes its opposite. One should seek the right measure in all. There are, of course, many advantages of having proper access to electricity:
Candle light is outdated and boring. I used to spend hours studying with them, and let me tell you, it is not a good experience at all. My mother always motivated us to finish our lessons before the sunset. So that we wouldn’t have to read and study by candles. The most common side effects are headache and discouragement. I’ve been to a place called Savanette, where the luckiest ones have solar panels and batteries but most live day in and day out on candles and oil lamps. There is no electrical coverage in Savanette. With proper access to electricity, School success rates will increase.
Imagine walking in a complete dark street, so dark that you tend to use your cellphone to light up your path. That’s the life of some of my friends who have to wake up at 4am to go to work. Nowadays in the metropolitan area we have sun powered street lights that are incredibly useful, but they only cover the main areas. The tiny streets where most people live aren’t covered. In the country side it is even worst! Street safety and security will increase considerably with proper access to electricity.
Now you know why most businesses in Haiti only work from 8 to 5! All the money that they should’ve paid the state for electricity goes to fuel companies. So they spend more. They are ready to pay for 24hrs of electricity but the country simply cannot respond to their demand. If you want to build a business you must add an alternative source of energy to your list of equipment, and they are not cheap at all. Even boutiques need alternatives, that’s why they go for portable sun powered and rechargeable lights. With proper access to electricity private business will run easier and will be affordable to more of people.
There are many advantages I have not put here but those are the most important ones. Now, as promised let me introduce you to the bright side of the blackout. A side that most of you will understand and have even had glimpses of.
With electricity comes technologies like television, video games, radio, smartphones, laptop etc. all of these are attention catchers. We get so caught up in them that we forget life is happening away from them. Two days with a complete energy blackout would be the best cure for any of us. I’ve experienced it, and have realized that only in those moments of complete blackout, my family and I really gather together, spending some quality time that television and smartphone never allow us. I’m talking about real laugh, outside of the house, or even inside. No matter where we are, everyone seem finally present when their phone, tablet, or laptop is down. These moments are so bright that I think they would fix most family problems and conflicts.
As I said earlier too much of any blessing becomes its opposite. I would highly recommend those with a 24/7 electricity rate to spend one or two days in blackout. And those with blackout to have the blessings of experiencing the 24/7 electricity rate. For only those who can balance both will really take advantages of these technologies and make their life better in so many ways.
A few days ago, my brother got back from work and he starred at me and stated: “I’m broke man!” I was so astonished! Are you serious? He was like, no I’m not broke like I can’t buy food or fuel but, I don’t have the amount of money that I would like to have. I was pretty upset by that, but unfortunately that’s the way many people think, mostly Haitian folks. You might even think like this and in the following words I’ll let you know how I got my Bro out of this wonderful opposite of optimism.
I have other friends that are just like this, one is my famous clothes designer who earns more, lives more and has more than I do yet still complains about being broke. I remember when I asked her why, she said, when I say I’m broke I mean I have less than 1 or 2 thousand dollars in hand which for many people in Haiti it would mean you are rich.
I’ve realized that this sort of complaint is very prevalent among the late 20s to the early 30s throughout the Haiti. I don’t know about elsewhere, however the more I come across it, the more I understand that it has nothing to do with pessimism which in its original state is the opposite of Optimism.
I say optimism because most of my friends use it either to boost themselves to make more or to hide their wealth to others. Because in Haiti if you scream out that you have more than enough people will for sure ask you some. Personally I prefer diffusing that message and deal with those lenders than vibrating that opposite of optimism. If you’re doing this, here is something to think about.
I always speak like I’m the happiest person in the world, because that’s what I want. I don’t brag, neither argue about it nor faking it. When things are bad, I admit it, and focus my entire energy to feel a tiny bit better. You can use words like: I would like to have a bigger house one day. I wish I could make more money. Focus on creation rather than competition, because facing it just to stop others from bothering you is thinking that they can and are competing against you. It’s all in your mind sir.
With all that said my friends, I hope you’ll upgrade your vocabulary and will be fully aware of what that opposite of Optimism is. All that matter is how great you feel and how good you are at inspiring others. So use your words to create, not just to protect yourself from everyone.
Do you know someone who speaks like this? Share this article with them, they might thank you for doing so. By the way my Bro don’t speak like this anymore, at least not when I’m around.
We have started the construction of the school in Villard!
Tim has been working hard down in Haiti these past few weeks, buying materials and finding good construction managers. He has trained teachers on the latest post-earthquake building techniques and they have begun to pour concrete and are really diving into the construction.
Check out our facebook page for more pictures: facebook.com/haitischoolproject
Thanks for all of your donations and support thus far. We are collecting donations to make sure that construction can continue until the school is finished! Donate now for matching funds and make your donation go twice as far!
On the last day of the workshop we spent time working on things that the teachers wanted to learn more about. One of the main things teachers wanted to do was to see an example science lesson. Over the week we did a language arts lesson by having the teachers translate a poem. We did a math lesson about linear algebra where the teachers derived the formula themselves. Eric also did an example social studies lesson about Christopher Columbus including hooks to get students interested in the lessons and connecting the lesson to the knowledge that the students already have. The teachers enjoyed these lesson so much that they also wanted to do a science lesson as well. To give an example of a science lesson Eric had the teachers do an experiment in buoyancy by making boats! This was a lot of fun and the teachers had a great time, not to mention the kids in the schoolyard who were also very excited! It is important that science is fun and exciting and not too abstract so that students can really get into it and learn about the world around them.
Eric also did a summary of the week and after lunch we had a end of the week ceremony to give the teachers certificates. In the end we awarded certificates to 54 teachers in Villard!
The ceremony was a beautiful one with a speech from Principal Saimplice, Alina who organized the project and two of the teachers who expressed heartfelt gratitude. All the teachers received certificates from Haiti School Project for completing the workshop. It was an emotional day. Everyone was so happy with our time together but also very sad to say good-bye!