When we stepped into the church building in Turpin on a mild morning, 55 men and women were already seated on the narrow wooden benches, ready to learn. This particular Convoy of Hope Agriculture training session was one of four that we conducted in Haiti that week. We had a group of 14 pre-med and science students from Evangel University with us. Each of them had prepared to teach topics, ranging from basic plant nutrition to pest control methods, to new farmers in our ongoing seed program. It was an invaluable opportunity for everyone involved.
When I look back on this week, a few things stand out to me that highlighted the significance of this trip, and of education.
I can picture the eagerness in the eyes of the Haitian farmers as they drank in the information that we gave them about how to make their crops grow well, so that they can provide for their families.
I can see the kids filling up the doorways on either side of the church building, their curiosity getting the best of them as they passed by.
I also see the initial hesitancy on the faces of the university students as they stepped outside of their comfort zones and became the teachers, and then the way that their enthusiasm blossomed as the trainings progressed. There is a special joy that comes from having the opportunity to teach something meaningful, that you’ve learned, to others.
As a recent college graduate and someone who loves learning, these feelings are all familiar to me. I know, first hand, the worth of a good education. It is something that many people do not have access to all over the world. It is something that people are willing to pay a great price for, whether that is taking out thousands of dollars in loans or making the lengthy journey on foot to get to a place of learning. An education is something that these 14 university students from southwest Missouri now have in common with just over 3,400 farmers in the mountains of Haiti and beyond through our Agricultural Initiatives—and that number keeps growing.
Our Agriculture program at Convoy of Hope provides many tangible resources to our farmers in Haiti but what I am most passionate about is that we are able to provide expertise in agriculture that has all but disappeared from the country. I believe that this education is the irreplaceable tool that we can place in their hands to create sustainable change. Although the resources that we can provide eventually reach a limit, education carries immeasurable potential. It is a long-term investment that can carry over from generation to generation, continuing to provide meals and lift people out of poverty for years to come.