A Deep Dive for Haiti: Bony Placy
I’m Bony Placy, a Haitian and several years ago I started not only to study but also to create and develop actions for Grand Boukan, my community in Haiti.
In March 2013, I had the opportunity to work on an activity that involved my community and the Melton Foundation. We started to plan something called Deep Dive; in fact, I didn’t know what it meant, but I joined in the experience. Well, we joined because the community was involved since the very beginning.
After three months of planning, everything became real. On May 29 the Melton Foundation´s staff arrived in Croix des Bouquet, Haiti. I went to meet them the very same day – after a seven-hour bus ride from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I finally met the people with whom I had interacted many times over the Internet. We talked about the Deep Dive and discussed some of the logistics that we had to organize for the week ahead.
A day later, the Deep Dive participants started to arrive amid a lot of preparations: first Olaf and his family: Silvia and Mia, together with Michael and Johanna followed by the others in the course of that day and the day after. To see the team in Haiti was awesome, but there were many open questions: How could we host all of them in Grand Boukan? How would the community receive them? Would we achieve what we aimed for and have impact? And impact for whom? Would the work outlive the Deep Dive and how could we continue the work in the different projects and the community in general?
After a day of orientation and final preparations, we went to Grand Boukan and it was amazing how the Melton Fellows mingled with the young and the old from the community, putting up the tents to stay in a rural area that does not have even basic services. But every day was a new day and we accomplished the activities working together, hand in hand. After we finished the Deep Dive (by the way, these days passed really fast), I had to return to Dominican Republic to continue my studies, with many questions and fears on my mind. There was only one way to face them: I needed to hear about the experience and learning from that Deep Dive week. So I called the participants of the different projects, the members of SOTIMOL – an initiative of young community leaders from Grand Boukan, and other members of the community.
Before the Deep Dive, the community gathered and organized themselves, but now it is different. Now, they share knowledge. For instance, the farmers who gather every Friday afternoon to recollect the knowledge and tips they got from Diego Nicolás and to teach the other farmers.
One month later, I met with the young community leaders of SOTIMOL, and I can see the changes: the young people are working with more spirit now. They are applying the knowledge that they learned in support of the community. They use their talent to multiply the organization´s resources. In fact, it is the first time in the history of SOTIMOL that they are distributing their work in a structured way. For example, they have created sub-committees to work in the fields of Education, Health and Culture. Each committee has a different schedule for short, medium and long-term goals and they monitor the activities. The first concrete action is the Back to school 2013 program to help the students of the Bassin Thomas Community School with the necessary materials before school starts again on September 20th.
Thanks to the Deep Dive, the motivation of the community to think about their self-development has increased. Today, more young people want to continue learning for their life. I can see that people and groups that were part of the Deep Dive are different. This space is a learning process where it transfers the responsibility of each citizen for his community.