The Belt

On our way back from church in the morning about seven, Ouanaminthe is pretty much already alive and going- vendors are on the street, children are walking to school, wheelbarrows, donkeys, motorcycles, goats. The day after the riots started in Cap-Haitien, the streets were pretty quiet and the church was pretty empty. You could feel the tenseness in the air.

At school that day though I had my own encounter of violence. Usually I help out with P.E. outside. It’s fun- they do exercises and the older ones are learning to play volleyball. That day was the second grade class and there was a big number of children who didn’t come dressed for P.E., who have to watch from the sidelines. Class was going normal as usual and then I saw the teacher walk up to one of the boys on the sideline. I thought she was going to reprimand him for something. She took off his belt, grabbed him by the arm, and struck him several times with the belt while he was on his knees. I will not forget his yell of pain. There were two other teachers and they said nothing. How could you strike a child like that and more so during P.E. class, which is supposed to be for exercise and for fun. I was shaking; I was so mad. I asked the P.E. teacher why she did that and she said because he was laughing and that she was obligated to discipline. I told her she is obligated to follow the rules of the school which includes not hitting children. What are you teaching that child but violence and fear. She said she knew the rules of the school but didn’t agree with them. Sr. Danielle said she will keep an eye on the teacher.


About biffy317

This blog is about my year in Haiti. I came here not speaking the language, not having a clear idea of what I will be doing to a small, impoverished country in the middle of a crisis. Haitians have A LOT of sayings and one of them is Piti gren fe gro pie bwa, which means a little seed makes a big tree. I hope that my time here will be fruitful and also to participate and observe as Haiti grows and flourishes as well. Seeds need a lot of time, a good foundation, and help from others to grow.
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