The countdown for the start of the Empowerment through Education (ETE) Camp in Hinche, Haiti has begun. ETE Camp is a not-for-profit summer camp that has been changing the lives of Haitian children for seven consecutive years. It was founded and facilitated by, Brandeis University alumna, Shaina Gilbert. The mission of the camp is to prepare youth in Hinche, Haiti “to become future community leaders for social change by strengthening their academic skills, increasing self-confidence, and building community and parental support.” In less than a month I will be in this brilliantly beautiful and resistant country, among the adolescents, teaching them and engaging with them in various topics including math, literacy, engineering, and leadership. In addition to those topics I will be piloting public health workshops to be included in the curriculum.
As a counselor I am responsible for creating a public-health curriculum and proposing it to Boston Public School ESL teachers for review to strengthen the program. This is the first part of my internship that has already begun. It is extremely exciting and slightly nerve-wrecking feeling to know that not only am I working with this program but that I get to start something that I’ve spent the last 3 years at Brandeis studying: public health. As a rising senior I am in a high-pressure yet eye-opening time of my life. I am responsible for coming up with options for my post-Brandeis life and this opportunity to plan and take part in a field of interest is not only invaluable but unbelievable.
The current part of my internship, that is pre-departure, deals a lot with research and networking. I spend a lot of my time looking at statistics and comparing the efficacy of other public health programs to build ideas from for ETE Camp. There is a lot of communication between myself, my bosses, and peers to integrate what I would like to see happen and what they can see actually working. There is a language barrier, Haitian Creole, to take into consideration, so keeping things simple and effective is the main goal. My workshops are covering a range of topics including leadership, self-love/self-esteem, fitness, and of course health and prevention.
My goal for this summer at the most basic level is to learn new skills and be completely immersed in this experience. I want to pay attention to how well theory does and doesn’t translate into practice so that I may develop necessary skills, as I prepare to leave my academic hub and enter the world, a place that is not as neat and organized as my textbooks. I will practice the problem-solving skills that I’ve learned to design my public-health curriculum and see what my skills produce. Giving this opportunity my full attention and dedication gives me the chance to not only show my gratitude for being a part of this experience but also gain insight into a future I am working towards. As I continue with the first, domestic, phase of my internship, I know that it is just as important as the second, contact-based, phase when I reach Hinche, Haiti. I am enjoying every part of my internship so far. The work that I have been given the responsibility to handle is showing me more and more everyday that I am capable of anything to which I set my mind.
– Zari Havercome ’16