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#2326: Health precautions thanks, Earlham College trip (fwd)

From: Aletha Stahl <stahlal@earlham.edu>

Thanks to all of you who sent info to me privately or to the list
concerning vaccinations and other health precautions for short-term visits
to Haiti by blan. Initially, I thanked a number of you privately, but as
responses flooded in, I gave up. Please forgive and accept. . .

Mèsi anpil anpil anpil. In addition to extremely valuable tips that we will
put into practice, I appreciate your expressions of excitement and support
for Earlham College's upcoming trip.

Some of you also asked about the trip. It is offered jointly by our African
and African American Studies program and our Peace and Globals Studies
program under the course title, "Culture and Development in Haiti." A key
goal is to look at intersections of these two problematic terms as they
apply to Haiti, and clearly, together they encompass just about everything
there. Since the students are new to most things Ayisyen, I have set as
their objectives that they listen, observe, and learn about multiple facets
of life in Haiti and try to see links between various facets without
settling for simple ways of viewing social, political, and cultural
situations. In short, I hope that they can make enough personal connections
and learn enough about Haiti and themselves on this 3-week program to raise
the kinds of questions that could drive them to subscribe to this list, to
follow what happens in Haiti avidly, to pursue further study in related
areas, and even to rethink their own lives and positions. I also want to
hear what the students set as their objectives for going and to see if/how
these objectives change over the course of the visit.

For background reading, I am assigning students the introductory sections
to all the chapters in LIBETE (the Arthur and Dash anthology), a variety of
articles collected largely from this list, and even several discussion
threads taken from this list. They will also read a non-Haiti-related but
extremely relevant speech by Father Ivan Illich, "To Hell with Good
Intentions." In addition, students will do some independent bibliographic
work on a topic of their choice. Finally, thanks to Sauveur Rosier,
Earlham's teaching assistant in French this year, we will get some helpful
pre-departure Kreyòl lessons not to mention other relevant information
before going. Credit where credit is due: Sauveur and another colleague of
mine are responsable for much of this trip, and it is a pleasure to put our
heads together for it. Tèt ansamn. . .

Because most of us hail from the US and because Haiti and the US are two
"bò" of mutual if unequal influence, one of our goals will be to learn
about US policies and practices as they affect Haiti and about Haitians as
they make their way in the US. For this reason, we will begin by spending
several days in the Haitian community in Miami learning more about HACAD
and other organizations. Once in Haiti, much of our visit will be organized
by DOA/BN ("Delegasyon, Oryantasyon, Atizana"). In addition to lectures and
visits, we will spend about 4 days doing something "hands-on" in a
different way, i.e., playing with handicapped children or meeting with
schoolchildren. Some of the students will trek up to Latonnelle for the
mountain visit Bob proposed through Corbettland and of which several of us
took advantage about 2 years ago. (Pale si ou vle, Sauveur.) Upon returning
to the US, we will take several days in Miami again to debrief emotionally
and intellectually and to begin integrating our experience into the rest of
our lives.

I know that some of you have led similar trips, and I always welcome
hearing stories. There will be 12 students, which seems like a manageable
number. Also, the interest among my colleagues and students was so high
this year that I am encouraged to go with an eye to repeat the trip in some
form next year. I am generally more a proponent of longer programs and
reciprocal exchanges, but I am grateful to be able to get the ball rolling
for these students in some way. And oh-so-selfishly, I just want to get
back to Haiti.

Thanks again for the help and the interest. Kenbe -

Aletha Stahl

Languages and Literatures
Earlham College
W. National Road
Richmond, IN 47374
tel: 765.983.1452
fax: 765.983.1234

Sa ou pa sav gran pasé'w. -- Martinique
Sa ou pa konnen pi gran pase'w. -- Haiti
(What you don't know is greater than you.)