Immediately following the news that Martelly had officially made it to the election runoff came an announcement that he would be holding a press conference at the Hotel Oloffson.  Beth and I had been having a hard time getting journalists to get back to us, so I decided to go have lunch at the Olaffson instead of attending the start of the children’s class.  I was also curious to see Martelly for myself, given all that I’ve heard of him.

I asked my taxi to first stop off at Rue Magua, the street where AMSAI and Beth were located so I could talk to Beth about it.  She doesn’t have a phone here, so the extra trip was needed.

At the Olaffson I had time enough for a Coke before I went down to pavillion below where the press had gathered.  Making small talk with fellow foreigners, I managed to sidestep the fact that I wasn’t representing anyone but myself.  I spoke with a gentleman from the Miami Herald and another woman who knew John Engle.  All talk stopped when Mr. Martelly arrived.  He gave his speech with professionalism and vigor.  Given a choice, I’d probably vote for himself myself, though mostly from what I’ve heard from his cousin, Richard Morse.

After his talk, I introduced myself to Emily Troutman, who I’d written to before.  She told me to email her again, and again.  Her Twitter posts from Port-au-Prince have been especially insightful these last few months, so it was good to meet her.  Upstairs, I spoke with Richard Morse.  He offered to arrange a driver to his mother’s school, which we’ll visit today.  On the way home, I took my first motorcycle taxi through Port-au-Prince.  While riding, I thought again how quickly one becomes used to the destruction.  Here are two photos from the trip . . .one is an example of the endless earthquake damage, another is a roadside mattress shop.

Back at class, I learn that only half the mentors and half the children have shown.  Apparently the threat of violence, even given the favorable results, was enough to keep them home.  We got some feedback that perhaps some of the trainers needed to prepare better, and that they needed to project more … be less timid as teachers.

Between the classes, I spoke with the trainers, highlight the need to be animated when presenting material.  Some aspects of teaching are almost innate: projecting the material with enthusiasm and confidence, keeping things flowing, sensing the need for pacing changes.

I decided to lead the next mentor’s class, showing them the beginnings of scripting with my usual silly antics, bouncing into stuff with the paper compass, etc.  The class was laughing and engaged.  It seemed they appreciated my approach.

Here’s the thing though . . . it’s not about me.  At the end of the trip, I need to be unnecessary.  Talking to Beth about this, we agreed that it’s all mentoring, all of it.  Mentoring the children, the new mentors, the trainers, ourselves.  We’re all guiding each other, learning from each other, prodding each other to take risks and tackle challenges.

At day’s end, the group returned to Visa Lodge for drinks and conversation.  I spoke at length with Michel, our translator, who very much wants to work more closely with Waveplace.  As always, I didn’t promise anything, as he is currently connected with AMURT and because we really don’t know what will happen next with our workshops.

It’s difficult though . . . everyone wants opportunity, everyone wants to give their all to our efforts.  I want nothing more than to give them all work, though we don’t have the money yet.

Time will tell.

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