Are Haitians Generous?

This is a photo of teachers at the Jean-Jacques Dessalines school in Cabois. From left: Ormilyen, Rozlèn, Job, Junyo, Mirak, Jeral. They're celebrating Flag Day in Haiti.

Wanted to write very briefly to share what I have learned about the way that elementary schools are typically funded in rural Haiti (from what I saw).

I visited a number of elementary schools in rural Haiti. One was in Sitwonye, one in JanJan, one in Fayet, and one in Kabwa (Cabois). One of the things I was interested in was the way that the schools are able to function currently. The rural students’ families have difficulty paying for a minimal number of school books and writing instruments, and are able to contribute almost nothing toward the cost of teachers’ salaries. For the most part, the teachers work for no pay whatsoever. This, of course, is a hugely valuable donation to their communities. It’s one that costs them the opportunity to work for pay in another place, at the same time that they are using the resources they do have for transportation, food, housing, and other basics.

How do they do it? They, or their family members, are able to cover their living expenses using money earned at jobs in cities like Port-au-Prince, for the most part. Generally, I would guess, office jobs that aren’t too different from the kinds of jobs that’ll earn you a comfortable living in almost any country of the world.

Why do they do it? The teachers are generally deeply connected with these communities through their immediate and extended families, as well as having friends pretty much everywhere you look in their community.
People generally don’t talk in explicit terms about how these things work, so I’ve had to make educated guesses about how this works. But in any case, I think it shows a side to the generosity of Haitian people that’s really wonderful to see.

So, I invite you to consider the following questions:
Where would you like to see yourself being more generous?
In what situations have you seen generosity have unwanted consequences? In what situations is generosity the “wrong tool for the job”; where are completely different solutions are more appropriate?