Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mob scene

My afternoon of entrance exams did not exactly go well. Instead of the 50 candidates I expected, close to 120 people showed up! And staying true to Haitian culture, they refused to wait in an orderly fashion. Several times, they rushed the door of my classroom, over 100 people, pushing and shoving, yelling and demanding that they be admitted to take the exam.
After multiple failed attempts at crowd control, I locked the classroom, told everyone to go home and rode away on my bike to angry yelling and ugly insults. Any doubts I'd had about my decision were erased right there; if you can't respect the teacher of a class enough to speak to her politely, you are probably not going to make a compliant student.
Where I would have posted the acceptance list, I instead posted a sign telling everyone that I wasn't taking any students because of the unruly behavior displayed at the entrance exams. Students who are still interested in taking the course can return in April to sign up for the fall session.

It was a very disappointing day. However, on the bright side, it is encouraging to see that so many people want to learn about medical care and that they would be willing to come into a notoriously bad neighborhood like Jubilee to participate. A few had come from as far as Gros Morne and Marchands, both over an hour away! And I discovered later that a dozen or so are already nurses, presumably there to benefit from the equipment that you earn during the course.

I am still mulling over what to do. I will probably put together a small class for this spring semester accepting students entirely on referral from our Haitian clinic and school staff. And then somehow, I will find a creative and safe way to filter the scores of people who are going to show up in April.

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