Posted by: universallearningcentreblog | September 4, 2011

Serious Business

Despite miserable conditions, Haitians are a warm, happy people who smile easily.  Below, in Pilate, is a small group of children who stopped to check out the “tourists” including ULC Founder, Jacques Jean.  Having their picture taken by “tourists” was real cause to giggle (see the girl in the middle) and to call to other kids to come (see the boy on the right).

It always amazes me how happy Haitians are, how truly caring and sweet, but what surprises me more is their optimism.  I marvel at how they can be so hopeful when they have had little or no exposure to comfort and security.  But when it comes to having their pictures taken for something as important as a new library, Haitians, even the smallest of children, become stoic and poised.

Haitian’s seriousness may be mistaken for unhappiness or unease, but if the photographer is patient and takes pictures “between” the serious shots, he or she can catch a glimpse of a smile sneaking out on the face of someone trying their best to be serious.  Below, girls who did not realize that the best shot of them was not the serious picture of the group all in a row, looking very solemn, but this picture that expresses their lighter side and pleasure at being together inside a facility that would serve to supplement the education they receive in the private school they attend.

The ULC team, while very intense in their commitment to bringing resources to Haiti, is slightly less likely to be photographed with stoic looks on their faces.  Below is one of my all-time favorite pictures of Jacques and long-timer volunteer, Chris Barnicle, hardly doing their best to appear poised and stoic as they unloaded the 25,000 books in Pilate last year:

Pictured below are volunteers, Michelle Lemenager (left), Chris Barnicle (middle, slightly more poised than in the above picture) and Saskia Van Vactor (right).

Below, Jacques and Chris with one of the first groups of children to use the library in Pilate.

Smiles evident, Jacques’ uncle Henry and Saskia, have a meal with Jacques at the home of Madame Armand.

And last, a shot of the team at a blessing to kick off the first day of school, proving that they can indeed be somber in a picture.


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