A teenage girl named Nana watched the construction activity below from her family’s modest Haitian home that summer of 2007. The latest addition to the cluster of buildings below was a high school! A high school? Impoverished rural communities don’t have high schools.
A faint feeling of hope was rising in her after many disappointments and setbacks in her education. At 21 she was among the 74 percent of female students in Haiti who drop out after primary school, often bringing early pregnancy and a bleak future.
Nana could not imagine finishing school but the scene below offered the only hope, though difficult and expensive. She prayed to God that it would be possible. What a glorious day when she was told she would get a scholarship and could start school again!
Nana started school as an 8-year-old at the Terre Blanche primary school, finishing sixth grade with financial help. But a higher education proved more difficult. She had to move to the city of Gonaives, not the best place for a young girl.
Living apart from family, a series of two devastating floods, emotional trauma from the floods, lessening income from the family garden, and failing the national exam to enter the next grade brought her home prematurely. Continual headaches, flashbacks and memory problems made it hard for her to study and pass that important exam so she resigned herself to life back at Terre Blanche.
Until the high school was built!
Nana loves learning — math, biology and Haitian history are her favorites. She is now 23. After two years of high school at Terre Blanche she is preparing to take the national exam in July so she can continue on.
She is worried she will fail again because of her memory problems that have persisted since the floods. But she considers how God saved her life during the floods, protected her family from cholera and provided food for her family when there was none.
Her face shines when she tells of encouraging people in their faith and learning more about God and spiritual things. She dreams of someday being a nurse.
Nana’s story is part of God’s ongoing stories of hope in Terre Blanche.
Written by Sandra Van der Pol, board member for Haiti Foundation of Hope