Wednesday, October 19, 2005
As the son of peasant farmers from the Northern town of Borgne, Haiti, Charles Edner made a long journey to join UNIF 2004’s founding class. First, he beat the long odds of pursuing higher education, an even greater challenge for students from rural areas. Second, he made the more than 300km trip from his hometown to Fondwa (over two days), traversing mountains, valleys, and rivers on the nearly impassable roads.
Education is always a sacrifice in Haiti, and nowhere is that more evident than in Fondwa. “No one else is taking this initiative,” says Charles of UNIF, Haiti’s first rural university. His educational experience is the result of many people sacrificing for a common cause. Though the students come from all over the country, “we have adapted well to one another,” Charles says. “We also have a very close relationship with our professors, and we are very satisfied with our courses. The education we receive here will help us solve the problems in our communities.”
Because of his rural upbringing, Charles finds that he has a close relationship with other peasants, which is essential for his studies in Agronomy. Thanks to UNIF’s rural setting, “we have more contact with farmers and their work. When you go to Port-au-Prince, you are disconnected from the reality of rural Haiti.” This semester, Charles is doing an internship in Limonade, in the northwest, with Vétérimed, “a very well-known NGO in Haiti,” as he notes. He looks forward to the internship as an experience that will improve his professional skills as a future Agronomist. All part of the UNIF education.