Haiti 2020

Trust the Kids

In every CWB show, the audience becomes the star and kids lead the way. Robin Lara writes about the ingenuity of kids in Haiti, and what it looks like to trust yourself, even at a young age. 

Haitian people are genuinely ingenious when it comes to resolving day-to-day issues (you should see how they repair a punctured tire!) and their kids are no exception. I’m consistently blown away by how capable all the kids are here, and can clearly see that it’s because their elders trust them.

Walking around rural Haiti, we see toddlers wandering completely alone. If anything happens, a slightly older kid will come scoop them up, get them giggling, and set them back down. No one is ever too far away to deal with a crisis.

I watch slightly older kids demonstrate sharp-knife skills that are far better than mine. At one point a pre-teen almost cuts his toe off with a machete (not saying there aren’t still accidents!) but he handles it with incredible poise. He stays calm, doesn’t complain, and cleans and dresses his own wound.

Kid balloon work is fascinating to me. If a balloon pops, they just find a way to blow it up again using the remaining piece of latex. We cut off the necks of balloons to make juggling balls, and the kids blew up the tiny tubes and tied them off with string. They smash rocks to make filling for juggling balls and they pick up juggling skills way faster than most kids I’ve met.

Kids in Haiti are generally unsupervised outside of school (at least, they lack supervision that’s recognizable to Americans). They observe their elders getting stuff done and they become master emulators because they’re given the opportunity to try. I watch kids problem solve in ways that make me feel like a total dummy.

These kids grow up to be confident and independent. I’m returning home inspired to trust the kids in my life, and honestly, to trust myself. What would you do if you only thought you could?

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