Women’s Self-defense and Empowerment Training with Brookview Church!
I had full intentions of posting this blog before I left to New York for the holidays, but unfortunately that did not happen. I’ll back track a bit and do my best to catch up!
In mid December a group of 10 joined us here at World Wide Village from Brookview Church in Seattle, Washington. This team came prepared to do three separate two day clinics on women’s self defense and empowerment training. Pastor Jason and his wife Jen wove together a great program with a perfect mix of biblical principles while Erin and her husband Jon educated the women about the male and female reproductive system, how STD’s are transferred, and women’s rights. Erin is a police officer in Seattle who also teaches self defense classes to women.
Brookview really hit the ground running; as soon as they got in we went out to Luly to make bracelets with a few of the ladies. Jen made bracelets with two string colors woven together to make the word ‘selfless’. Pretty quick it appeared the ladies were not understanding how to make them-nether was the team. It was great to see on the first day how they problem solved this challenge as a team; they were flexible and enjoyed their experience even though it did not go as planned.
The first two days of clinic were spent at La Piste with 30 deaf women. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the deaf ladies in this capacity. As the clinic unfolded I watched the ladies faces and saw them understand the different concepts and principles. When it was time to try out some of the self defense techniques the ladies really got into it. La Piste is on the cusp of one of the most dangerous slums in the western hemisphere. For a year after the earthquake 400 deaf Haitians lived in 40 tents in this area. When I got to bed at night, I lock my door; I can’t say the same for them. I feel so blessed to be a part of the empowerment of this group of women. They are all special to me, beautiful – strong women who deserve respect, especially when it comes to the men in their lives.
The second two days were spent with a group of ladies in the World Wide Village community of Luly. 30 women from around the community met with Brookview for the self defense and empowerment training. There were clear differences between the ladies at La Piste and the ladies at Luly. The harsh reality of life for Haitians continues to remain outside my imagination. Although I live in Haiti, I live behind safe walls in a safe community. The ladies at La Piste don’t live the way I live. I am fortunate and blessed beyond my comprehension in the life I live. The ladies at Luly are blessed compared to the women living in camps and slums. I am so grateful Brookview decided to do this training and invest in these women.
The last two days Brookview did their training in partnership with WeADVANCE (weadvance.org), a women’s clinic in City Soleil. I was not a part of this as I headed home for the holidays, but Ali here at World Wide Village told me it went just as good as the first two sites and was unique to the women who were in attendance. I am sorry I missed it, but hopefully Brookview will return soon to continue their empowerment and education of the Haitian Women!
Each day Brookview wanted to provide the ladies with a snack at noon. At the end of the first day they made prayer bracelets and each Haitian woman got a letter and a picture of a prayer partner who attends Brookview Church. Brookview then took their picture for their partner in the states to have. There was also an exchange of prayer requests and the ladies made bracelets to remind themselves to pray every day for their prayer partner.
At the end of the second day the ladies received a certificate with their name on it from Brookview and World Wide Village as well as a Coub Button to carry with them for added protection in addition to their new skills! The ladies at Brookview really wanted to make sure they knew how special they were by washing and massaging their feet and painting their nails! It was a beautiful way to end the training!!
Once again my life has been enriched by the amazing people I find myself surrounded by. I am so blessed by the opportunities I have been given. To witness the deaf women at La Piste grow from tents to wooden shelters was a blessing, now I was a part of educating and empowering some of those women. Again I find myself speechless and in awe of the amazing life I am living. Thank you Brookview for your vision, hearts and service; come back to us soon!