Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brazilian Flag Day & Happy Campus Home Visits

Today was, once again, a very productive day with Tzu Chi Foundation! In the morning, we went over to BRABATT II (Brazilian Peacekeepers' Base) in Port-au-Prince. It is Brazilian's Flag Day today, so they had a small ceremony on base. All the soldiers lined up in perfect formation. It was beautiful. I stood there in awe in the neatness of the whole. Major Roland met up with us and explained that once every year, they will switch their flag. The will lower the old flag, fold it, and then raise the new flag for the new year to come. After the ceremony was all done, they will burn the old flag and start the celebrations. 
Look how orderly they are! This is why I love the military! So uniformed and organized! 

In the afternoon, we went and did a whole bunch of Happy Campus Home Visits. All 13 of them to be exact!!! Happy Campus is the Back-to-School Program Tzu Chi has in Haiti for four of the local schools in four different zones. We have around 500 children that Tzu Chi is supporting through school supplies, hot meals and yearly school tuition scholarships. It was really good to meet all the kids that we are supporting and meet the behind-the-scene parents, as well. All the families live in really bad conditions. The zones that we targeted were the zones in Port-au-Prince that were the poorest. Especially the charcoal zones, where the children are always covered in black charcoal marks, from head to toe. 

All the kids were super excited to see us! They all shouted "Tzu Chi! Tzu Chi! Tzu Chi!" The father vowed to be a Tzu Chi volunteer from now on! What a great example of the circle of giving! The seed of love has been spread from Tzu Chi to the child, to the parent, and now to Haiti as a whole! 
This mother was so grateful for Tzu Chi's help that she kept on bowing down to us. This little guy is 4 years old and in 2nd year Kindergarten class in EUDEC. He is a total sweetheart! 
She was showing me all her books and grades she got! I was so proud of her! 
This is a 12 year old girl in 4th grade at EUDEC school. She is very intelligent and works very diligently in school. She gets all 10/10 on all her homework assignments. She loves Tzu Chi and really cherishes her chances at getting an education! She is real bundle of joy! 
This 6 year old boy was showing me how he can write all his numbers from 1 to 20. He recited them in French for me. He was super shy and didn't speak to anyone. I was super surprised when he grabbed me over to the door and started to interact with me. What a precious little boy! 
His birth mother disappeared after the 2010 earthquake, so he was officially "adopted" by one of his mother's friends. He has been under her care and out of the kindness of her heart opened her home to him. She treats him like her own son and now he is blossoming so bright! Love and compassion is all over!

I hope this Happy Campus Program will keep on evolving and get better as we support more children back to school in Haiti! 

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