At the very end of the trip I start looking at some of the photos. It is a glimpse of the impact that our work has. Because, in fact, from the inside of the work, we don’t know our impact, just our experiences.
It is also through our small debrief conversations that we get a taste of the impact of our work. The kids lit up when we asked what it was like to perform outside of their community. Our film director told us about seeing parents transform when they saw their kids laughing at us in the hospital. In our debrief with the 18 Activity Leaders we trained the first week, I realized how much they had discovered about their own talents in that one week and how much they wanted us to come back to work with again them. In side conversations with the trainers, we heard about their inspiration for up and coming events. And from our primary contacts at TDH we heard that they have received feedback about people feeling proud of their work with us and validated by the audience response to their performance.
On our last night in Haiti we found ourselves stranded in the TDH office by a violent downpour. We were with one of the spectacular trainers that we worked with in Grand Goave, Morlon Lhe Bellerice. We played “You are my Sunshine” on the recorder, Jan practiced diabolo, and we drew pictures in silence. Morlon made us this drawing:
by Morlon Lhe Bellerice
Back in Paris now, I received an email from a trainer in Les Cayes saying that our work is bearing fruits and will continue to do so. And a great audio interview/debrief with four of the trainers.
This trip to Haiti has left me with more thoughts, opinions, and questions on international humanitarian aid than any trip before. It as stirred up my views on systematic inequality. It has whipped up my political convictions. It has also made me consistently question and re-evaluate our own work and our reasons for doing it.
Yet the structure of this project has and will provide us with the most feedback of any Clowns Without Borders project that I’ve been involved in. The more I hear back, the more I find myself convinced that this type of multi-faceted project - this type of relationship with a partner organization and the individuals and communities it works with - is one of the best ways for us to work.
Contribute to Clowns Without Borders’ future work in Haiti at: http://clownswithoutborders.org/support-us/donate-now/