First the update: "Mwen la."
"I'm here." This is one of the standard Creole responses when asked "How are you?" and it is my current status. Our kids left a week ago for Indiana. Melissa left five days ago. (It all seems much longer to me!) I stayed behind to tend the crowd of puppies and to monitor the situation in hopes I might be of use to Cowman as soon as life normalizes. (Besides, I knew that back in the States I would find all the half-price Valentine's Day candy had already been stripped from the counters. At least the good stuff.)
Because of the absence of fuel and the presence of sometimes violent protests in the streets, school has not been in session for two weeks and two days now. Fuel has started flowing again recently, but rumor is that protests will flare again tomorrow. Until then, it is unclear if things are back to "normal" or if we're just getting started on a "new normal".
So we are waiting to see what tomorrow brings before we start recalling missionary teachers who evacuated. We have at least four teachers and our principal in the States, another teacher in the Dominican Republic and at least one other in Turks and Caicos. It will take a few days to regather everyone.
We are encouraged that many parents are desirous of us re-opening the school on Monday, assuming the streets are quiet tomorrow. So Melissa is currently considering what it might look like for us to open with a possible quarter or more of the teaching staff missing. For the junior and senior high, it will mean just myself and Mr. Jeffney for grades 7 to 12. It might be a tall order, but I am certainly well-rested at this point and open to any challenge if it means minimizing further loss of instructional time. As always, prayers are appreciated!
Now for a Plea:
Back on Valentine's Day, after getting our four kids safely to the airport early in the morning, Melissa and I met with any teachers who were able to travel safely to Cowman in order to discuss the school's situation, to pray, and to prepare grade level appropriate learning packets that parents could pick up at their leisure. We had a window of power at the school from 10 am to 2 pm and the photocopiers were going non-stop. The way the staff united that day, motivated by a sincere desire to serve our students and parents, was a wonder to behold!
In the course of that morning, because of the unpredictability of this present crisis and the steep rise in food prices, Melissa, as Director, offered to release payroll before the end of the month to any worker who desired it.
EVERYBODY desired it.
Melissa knew it was the right thing to do – the only thing that could be done – but it meant a near complete depletion of Cowman’s account at a time when the influx of March tuition payments is anything but certain. In fact, electricity and other bills may mean we are already in the red here in February.
IF the smoke clears and IF we are able to resume classes before February ends or as March begins, how many of our families will be able to make tuition payments? Businesses have been closed and prices for necessities have skyrocketed. Many families were already behind at the start of February.
Melissa is very concerned that Cowman will not be able to pay current bills or full salaries in March and the thought tears us up. And so we are reaching out for help. Your contribution to Cowman, through OMS, can put a stop to the downward spiral of this weakening economy … at least at the feet of the 50 dear Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ who work alongside us day by day for a better future for Haiti, all to the glory of God.
Would you prayerfully consider giving to Cowman in order to maintain some predictability for our staff in the midst of Haiti's crisis? OMS makes it easy to give at https://www.onemissionsociety.org/give/cowman-international-school .
Thank you for your prayers and all the support you show our family and the Cowman International School family!
P.S. In the best of all possible scenarios – which we certainly pray for – any excess funds from what is given to Cowman will be used to continue the construction of sorely-needed new classroom space (which has been largely sidelined by budget constraints the past six months).