'But what about uniforms?'
This was one of the questions that was asked of me when I told the mountain kids that they would be starting school in October. It was kind of a surprising question to me at first. Personally, I never grew up wearing school uniforms so it had never crossed my mind.
In Haiti, it's a different story. School uniforms are mandatory for all national schools, or private schools for that matter. It's actually pretty neat because everywhere you go on a weekday, you can spot school kids in their colourful plaid shirts and tailored pants and skirts.
Unfortunately, because of the late start and lack of supplies we had to begin with, uniforms weren't the priority in my books. I did my best to assure the kids that they didn't have to have a uniform to go to school - a nice shirt and skirt or shorts would be perfectly acceptable. After all, they were only going to school in Source Matelas on the porch of the teacher's family, right? This seemed to satisfy the kids, but with the number of students around the island wearing their matching pressed button shirts and bottoms, I couldn't get it out of my head.
During my time at home this past Christmas, I was given a generous gift from some people who have been following along with the mountain family, and they asked me to put it towards something for them. It didn't take me long before I knew exactly what to use it for. After I returned back to Haiti in January, I was on a serious mission to outfit the kids for school.
As most things in Haiti are a little different from North America, I learned quickly that getting uniforms would be more of an ordeal than I thought. Definitely not a 'one-stop' shopping trip.
First, you have to pick your fabric... For one that is indecisive to begin with, this was no easy task. See why?
Next, you find your seamstress. Luckily, Robenson has connections.
Then, the kids get measured and the sewing begins...
A week after purchasing the material, I got word that the outfits were completed and the kids had their very own uniforms. Visiting them this past week was such a treat to see them sporting their new 'school colours'. It's thrilling to see them all decked out!
Through this whole experience, I have been reminded again how blessed I am to have such a vast support system of people around me, both on the island and across North America. None of my connections with these children and their families would even be possible without the partnership we all share. It's a picture of the body of Christ, and a testimony of the Lord's goodness. Thank you for all of your encouragement and generosity that you have shown me and these beautiful people. I can't wait to see what else He has in store.