A bit about my mandate

July 25, 2018 | Constanza, Specialization - Psychology, Haïti, Uniterra, Organisation de Gestion de la Destination Nord d’Haïti, Conseillère dans la création de l'Association des Jeunes Artisants de Milot

We have passed the half way mark of the internship and it has gone by fast! I have been busy working with our partner organization and country team, that I never realized how quickly the days were passing. I have been working six days a week, since our partner organization (the association of young artisans) is mostly made up of students, we decided that Saturday was the best day to meet, so I have been officially working Saturdays! I honestly don’t mind, it is always a pleasure working with the young artisans, they have so much enthusiasm and drive to advance their association, which has passed onto my own motivation to continue to work hard and do well in my mandate.

As a counsellor for the association of young artisans, it requires me to be able to go from Cap-Haitian to the small city of Milot, which is about 45 minutes away. I have come to embrace the bus ride on the ‘tap-tap’, with the swerving, the sudden stops, the kompa music and encountering locals, recently however, I have been fortunate enough to get a ride with a cab driver, and we have become acquainted with one another throughout our 40 minute drives. Milot is known to be a popular city for tourists, it holds one of the many popular attractions in Haiti, the historical monuments of ‘la Citadelle’ and ‘le palais Sans-Souci’. For this reason, every time I arrive in Milot, I always get stopped in my tracks and asked if I need a tour guide or information on these sites. It feels overwhelming at times since some locals are very persistent however, as I continue to walk, I know that once I see the pink house on the street of artisans, which has become our meeting spot, I begin to feel at ease again. It is also a town where you will find many artisans, who produce and sell a variety of crafts from wood work to painting to sewing. The artisanal work you see, you can tell is made with technique and detail and you get to interact with the artist who created such work, an experience that I found very endearing and special. I knew I wanted to buy a traditional artisanal piece made in this beautiful town, so I decided to buy a traditional wooden mask made by an artisan named Benjamin.

Throughout my internship I have had the pleasure of going to Milot every week, and now that we have passed the mid-way point, I still feel like I have so much left to explore in this town. Luckily, these past couple of weeks I have been going more often to work with the association of young artisans, which has given me the opportunity to travel over this beautiful town. Throughout these busy weeks, I have been working alongside my CECI supervisors and the association, in trying to write a project proposal in order to acquire funding from the World Bank. There have been tough times throughout the process, while trying to balance the vision of the young artisans and trying to manage a certain budget, it was a matter of deciding what would be possible in the first phase of the project and what could be continued in a second phase in another project proposal. Even though there were differences, it amazes me that regardless of the strenuous moments endured, the young group maintained their motivation, and continued to focus on their objectives for this project. A valuable lesson that I will take home with me, knowing that working in a team will bring differences in opinions, but that it’s still important to continue to stay motivated and focused on the end goal, which in this case is submitting a completed project proposal.

The project proposal itself, which is almost completed, has also taught me some valuable insight on what goes into a planning a project, in this project specifically it has been a project on construction and restoration. It requires leveling the road and sidewalks, building mobile and permanent kiosks and restoring murals. All of which requires a knowledge of different types of materials, techniques and terminology in order to execute this project. To say the least, it has been a learning experience for me and my knowledge in project management has slightly increased, and it has become quite exciting once you get the hang of it. It is a bittersweet moment knowing that my time in Haiti has come down to a month, but I know that I will continue to enjoy the weeks ahead and I will cherish the moments with the association of young artisans and our country team.

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