Promes se det -Part 4
Life in the Neighborhood
Unity and participation are essential components of success for any community development project.
When we started painting the tables, we noticed that the residents were still standing by, so we invited them to join us. Their response to the invitation was an estatic “Sa ta fe’m telman kontan (“that would make me so happy” in Creole).
We all worked as ONE: Haitian youth in Haiti and Haitian youth from the Diaspora, community leaders and neighborhood residents, school kids and parents, construction workers and artists - all working as one! This was a real life illustration of our country’s mantra: “L’union fait la force” (Strength in Unity).
Everyone had an opportunity to mix colors and paint, while others helped us get snacks and water for all those involved.
The “Boss” or handyman in the neighborhood played an instrumental role in helping us complete the tables. We didn’t know how we would cut the plywood for the table-top, especially since it’s in a circular shape. He stepped to the plate, took charge, measured and drew out the cutting area, and took a few of the youth with him to his “lakou” (yard), to cut the board.
A few other handymen taught us how to properly hammer a nail. All of us developed a deeper appreciation for construction work; a field that requires precision and perseverance.
We painted and got our fingers and knees dirty. It was a blast! Everyone wanted to sit on the tables and “try them out”. Some said that this would be their new homework spot, especially since the gathering spot had a solar light post. Others said they would have lunch there because the tables would make it enjoyable.
What really made us smile was meeting the youngest neighborhood leader. This little boy, intrigued by the tables and boisterous activities, slowly approached the working space. His presence commanded our attention. He projected the traits of a natural leader.
He then climbed on one of the tires, sat down and looked around. He investigated our work, tapping the tires and tabletop like a quality control manager. Everyone laughed.
Patterns, shapes, color contrasts, imagination and hearty laughter were the perfect formula for a successful community development project.