William & Mary

Jonna Knappenberger ’09 in Haiti

Planning a long-term project in post-earthquake Haiti has proven to be more challenging than I once thought. While there is an amazing amount of good intentions and financial support from the international community, both foreign and Haitian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are struggling with challenges of coordination and management.

Jonna and a Haitian friend named Laudia (age 6)My fiancé, Landon Yarrington (MA in Anthropology, ‘09), and I have spent months sketching our project to ensure its viability once we get on the ground. We will travel first to Port-au-Prince for a short visit and then to Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti. Working with a small, Haitian nonprofit, Sonje Ayiti Organization, in the rural area of Limonade outside of Cap-Haitien, we will be teaching English to displaced college students and residents. The goal of these classes is to facilitate communication for internet learning in the students’ desired specialties. If there is interest, we will also be holding a class on social science, writing, and research, with a special focus on “what is development?”

In the meantime, we’re working on Haiti Rewired, a blog run by Wired Magazine, recruiting and managing young Haitian journalists and contributing pieces of our own. We hope the classes and the forum on Haiti Rewired will combine to create new and exciting opportunities for the many bright and eager students in Limonade.

–Jonna Knappenberger, BA in Anthropology, '09 (and a fan of Africana Studies Department!)
September 2010

Binahkaye (Binah) Joy ’04

Photo credit: Colin Danville

Binah graduated in 2004 with a major in African Diaspora Studies and a minor in Dance. She is now the Visionary Space Activator of JOYISM!, a mobile dance laboratory. She facilitates movement and dance programs all around the world for diverse communities. She said she had celebrated humanity by reminding everyone that, as she put down, "the dance belongs to all of us!"