Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Day

This is Tipap. Many who read our blog have met him. To meet him is to love him. He has a unique gentle spirit and a true desire to work hard and to learn. If you go back to this post you can read about his huge family and many siblings.

Growing up in Haiti usually means that education ends at about the 6th grade. Tipap was able to complete 7th grade, but went no further because he could not pay for it. His Dad had him working in the garden after he finished 7th grade.

From 7th grade until he was given a job at Lifeline he had no true direction and was not sure there would be much opportunity for him to ever get back to school.

He clearly wants to learn more and sits reading the Kreyol kids Bible out loud quite often. If you enter the room he is reading in, he does not stop. :) It makes us smile. He never turns down a chance to join us at church. He has learned a ton of English just working with Paige. The English he knows helps our little kids a ton - he helps them talk to Jeronne and vice versa.

Tipap is pronounced Tee - Pop and means "little daddy". It is a nickname that suits him. He is great with kids and loves babies. It makes us laugh when all three baby girls are wanting him to hold them. He is their favorite because he will just walk and walk and walk with them ... Jeronne and I put them down after a few minutes to do the next thing. :)

When we moved we told him we would try to find a school where he could be trained as a diesel auto-mechanic. He loved the idea from the start.

As of a week ago we had no solution for him yet. We could feel him starting to get bored and maybe unhappy. You can only do so much security for a place with a giant cement wall around it. ;) I felt bad, Troy was frustrated. We needed an answer for him.

A great and well-connected Haitian guy from our church offered to take him to meet with a school director at a large trade school. He said that the minimum requirement was a 9th grade education. He said he would vouch for Tipap's work ethic and see what he could do.

There was lots of smooth talking that had to be done ... but it worked!!!! That all happened last Wednesday ... and the first day of the school year for this trade-program was Monday/today! Talk about timing.

I am sharing this story for the family that sponsored Tipap's education and covered the first year of school ... because it is SO cute.

Ever since he found out he was going to start today he has had a bounce in his step. He worked like a maniac all weekend and seemed totally motivated and purposed about everything he did. I asked him if he was nervous and he said only about the theory portion which is in French. He will have to work really hard to keep up in French.

Today he left mid morning for school. When he got home he was so happy and chatty. Sometimes his English does not exactly translate but he told me all about it and from the parts that make sense he really likes his teacher and it did not take as long to get there as we all feared it would. The school is in Carrefour - not an easy place to get to from our house.

When Paige got home he said "Hi Paige, how was school?" Paige gave him the 13.75 year old response which is kind of a half response. Paige could tell he was waiting. She was wondering what the heck he was acting so weird about. He was waiting to be asked. Finally he said in a triumphant voice, "I had school today too!" It was SO SO stinking cute. It made both Paige and I smile.

We're so happy for him. We want him to succeed. We want to see him be trained and have opportunities to make way more than he can ever make working this lame security job ... we want to see him quit us and make some real money! In two years that will be a real possibility.

Everyone in this country needs a break. They could all use someone to stand behind them and cheer for them. It would be wonderful if it was this easy for everyone to catch their big break.

If you want to wish Tipap well ... I will print off comments for him to read.