Achecaina comes from the part of Haiti most hard hit by Hurricane Matthew. Her family of 10 people lives in the province of Jeremie, and most of their possessions were destroyed by the hurricane. There is little money for necessities, much less school for the children. So Achecaina has come to Port au Prince to live with her older sister Claudine, and Claudine’s partner Bazelet. Her grades are impressive. Despite very low marks immediately after arriving in the city (completely understandable), she is now in the 80th percentile.
The letter that her sponsor wrote describes her and the situation very well.
I write these words to you on the subject of the little girl Achecaina St. Fleur. She was born in the province of Jeremie, where her family is composed of 10 people. This is a very intelligent little girl, very serious with her studies, but due to economic hardship and the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated everything that her parents possessed, this has rendered it extremely difficult for her to continue with her studies.
If she receives this scholarship, she will have the first step in her future, and as such she will be able to move forward. Her desire, her enthusiasm to go to school will be proven in her results. This scholarship will be like a drop of water in the mouth of Achecaina’s family in the desert.
Achecaina’s letter to us for her application was very sweet.
I hope that everything is well for you. I am Achcaina St. Fleur. I am very happy to write you this little letter to tell you why I want to study, and receive this scholarship.
I want to study to become a great doctor and a great teacher.
A great doctor to help people in my family who are always sick. A great teacher to teach children like me who don’t have the money to pay for their studies. For that reason I would like to receive this scholarship, to help them and to succeed in my future.
We are delighted to be able to help Achecaina, in whatever she decides to do. Her older sister will take good care of her, and she has Bencille as a great example of someone who has kept studying even when things get hard.
Achecaina placed first in her entire class at the end of the year! She has worked so hard, despite all the extreme challenges of her life these days. Because of her achievement, she was offered the chance to take the state exam in the coming year, which is early. This will mean she needs to essentially study two years at the same time, meaning that next year she will be studying in 8th and 9th grades simultaneously. We have decided to pay for this, and we have a very strong belief in her ability to accomplish what she is setting out to do. In addition, her tutor is giving her a discount because of her academic performance. This is quite an honor and we are very proud of her accomplishment.
Achecaina is nearly done with 6th grade, and she will have to move to a different school for her next year. She is doing so well in school, despite the huge challenges her country faces. The violence there is unimaginable; her sister Claudine was attacked and their home broken into. They lost everything and now are living with another relative. It’s been so hard, yet despite this, Achecaina achieved a 98% on her most recent grade card. She is growing up so fast, and now looks like a young woman—most of the time!
We sent her some questions to answer in her year-end letter and although it took a while to receive them, we did receive her answers. We attach her letter here with our translation.
The thing I liked learning the most this past year was handicrafts from which I learned to make cones, flowers, balloons with paper. It was really a very exciting thing.
The hardest part of 6th grade for me was geometry, because the current situation in my country made me very stressed. But little by little I ended up understanding it.
My favorite joke is to take something that looks like a snake and put it under my sister’s pillow while she sleeps and then hide under the bed.
For me, the idea of going to another school next year wasn’t a good one, but I thought about it, that since my old school didn’t offer the rest of my classes (years), then I accepted it and now I feel very happy in my new school.
Achecaina entered 6th grade in person in August. Things are pretty chaotic in Haiti right now, and we will see how long the schools remain open, or it is safe to attend. But for right now, she is back in school and happy to be there studying.
Achecaina is back in school in person, and she is growing up so fast! We received a couple of photos that show, even though they are blurry, how tall she has gotten!
Achecaina begins fifth grade in October of 2020. It’s been a pretty rough year for school in Haiti. They had just started to consider reopening the schools from the strikes and the violence, and the pandemic hit. Everyone has been studying from home, and they didn’t even start that until halfway through the year. Despite that, Achecaina did pretty well. She struggled in some areas, but who wouldn’t studying from home? We asked her to describe some of the challenges of studying online, and she wrote us a letter to answer our questions.
It is with a lot of enthusiasm and happiness to have gotten news from you. We have been praying about the pandemic that is in the world. I have been sincerely worried about you. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Unfortunately, dear Christa, as you know this academic year has been very difficult and had been interrupted. In fact, I have not worked online but have been working with my tutor during this time. I don’t like working like this because I miss the company of my classmates because I like working in groups. But the good thing about working with my tutor is that I was able to complete the school year. We are praying that everything will go back to in person learning next year.
Lots of love dear Christa,
Achecaina St Fleur
Unfortunately, the schools in Haiti are still closed, so Achecaina can’t enter fourth grade just yet. We hope that they will be back in school soon. Claudine says they are hoping for January. We hope Achecaina will be able to start studying soon; she very much wants to be back in school.
The schools in Haiti are in bad shape, and the protests are affecting everything. Our contact Claudine tells us that there are weeks at a time when the schools are closed and the students can’t study. We believe this has affected Achecaina’s grades, which were definitely lower than usual. But she did pass into fourth grade and we are very happy for that.
Achecaina started the year with a few challenges and her grades suffered a bit, but by May, nearing the end of the school year, she had raised her grades back to great levels. Her older sister Claudine says that she is working very hard in school, and she’s very dedicated. She sent us a wonderful letter with a favorite legend, which we attach here and translate. It’s a great story about the perils of being too greedy. We love her handwriting, so we thought we should put her letter up, even if you don’t speak French. We’re very excited to watch Achecaina move into fourth grade soon!
The legend of “ti Malice and Bouqui, mi Ro and mi Ba that I love a lot.
One day ti Malice was walking in a forest. He arrived in front of a beautiful house without doors and windows. Ti Malice walked around the house and there hidden behind the house was a tuft of grass. After a long time he sees a man approaching the front of the house and says loudly, “Mi Ro” just as he says that the wall lifts up and the man enters the house then the man turns towards the wall and says, “Mi Ba”and rapidly the wall closes. Ti Malice doesn’t move at all. After two hours the wall opens, the man appears and turns towards the wall and said, Mi ba” and leaves towards the city. Ti Malice comes out of his hiding place and he goes in front of the wall and says, “mi Ro, the wall goes up and then he enters and says “mi ba” and the wall closes. Ti malice enters the house and sees a lot of things. He fills up his bag including a lot of food and gold. Ti malice repeats the magic words to open and close the wall and leaves. He walks slowly with his bag and passes in front of his uncle’s house, “Bouqui” without saying anything but his uncle saw him and ran out behind him and said, “How can you go in front of my house without saying hello? Where are your manners? What do you have in your bag? Are you going to give me something?” Ti malice gives him some gold. Bouqui jumps with joy and asks his nephew, ti malice where he found all that gold. He explained to his uncle how where he found it and what he has to do to enter into the house. His uncle goes to the house but he followed the instructions backwards. When he arrived at the house he said “mi ba” and the door didn’t open. He said mi Ro and the door opens. He goes in and is surprised to see all the things around him and starts to have a good time putting things in his bag but Bouqui was too greedy and wanted to take everything. Now the devil is going to come and Bouqui forgot what he needed to say to get out of the house.
I like this legend a lot about ti Malice and Bouqui.
Achecaina finished her school year with wonderful grades. She’s very dedicated to her studies!
However, although she is dedicated to her studies, she is also (like many students) very dedicated to vacation! In a very sweet video we received, Achecaina is singing about how much she loves vacation.
Achecaina’s grades for the midterm are really good. She received an 85% average, which is really high. She’s growing up quickly and her older sister Claudine says she is a serious, committed young lady and student.