In the United States, it generally takes snow piling up to cancel school. At Haiti’s École Nationale de Roche à Bateau, when it rains in the morning—even for an hour—many kids stay home.
There’s no particular reason why. That’s just how it is.
But those who showed up on a soggy April 16 followed the daily routine, starting with the principal ringing the school bell. They lined up in the school courtyard, sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art” in Creole, and raised the Haitian flag to the national anthem.
Then off to classes they went—empty ones, because half of the teachers also chose to stay home on a drizzly morning.
The students were all dressed to impress in their uniforms. The girls wore matching pretty ribbons in their hair and white long socks. They lugged backpacks full of books—even the little children.
Why bother, I wondered, when teachers don’t show up either? Some of these kids live hours away by bus, while others have to walk through muddy hillsides to get to school. But they came.
Some really want to learn; others just want to get away from their small cramped homes. For some it was a chance to wear something nice. But best of all, it was a great way to just hang out with their friends.
I wonder what happens if it starts raining during the school day.
Read the entire series of dispatches from Haiti on NRECA International and the people it serves.
This story was originally published on RE Magazine.