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Cap Ceremony

April 2, 2012

Today was our Cap Ceremony for our nursing students.  It is much like graduation, but early in their training rather than at the completion of it.  The students wear their student nurse uniforms for the first time, and each is called up individually to receive their nursing cap, a somewhat lengthy process with 290 students.  Otherwise, as I said, it is much like graduation.

The ceremony was held in an open theater at Club Indigo, a luxury seaside resort.  As the students arrived the air was electric with excitement and anticipation.  Six hundred people gathered to participate in the event.  Several government dignitaries graced us with their presence.  There were the usual speeches, and a pastor provided a lengthy invocation.  The students had been rehearsing several songs over the last few weeks, led by a profession maestro.  He worked wonders with them.  Dressed in tails, with a rather exaggerated baton, he brought the nearly 300 enthusiastic voices together into a thing of beauty.  A few of the students delivered powerful solos, and the maestro himself did a somewhat theatrical a capella solo; the range, richness and power of his voice were impressive.  After the presentation of caps and the awards for outstanding scholarship, the nurses collectively recited their professional oath.  After a final hymn, all partook of a delicious buffet luncheon, and the students took over the  resort to celebrate with their classmates, receive gifts from their families, and in a few cases, to collapse from exhaustion on a lounge chair by the pool.

After the ceremony I was beset upon to take a lot of pictures as the students sought to record the moment for posterity.  Many also wanted a photo with “Mr. Barry,” looking uncharacteristically distinguished in a black suit, crisp white shirt and power tie.

There were a couple of hitches and the ceremony was very late in starting due to the resort not having water overnight.  But Haitians are patient about such things, and no one seemed to mind.  Their daughters (and a few sons) were being honoured, and the pride of the families was very apparent.  I dare say the pride I was feeling for  “my students” was very evident as well.

The event had some welcome perks for me personally.  I got to stay at the Club Sunday and Monday, and enjoyed quiet, air conditioning, a shower, large mirrors with enough light to actually see myself, unlimited electricity, a wide variety of food I seldom see, endless ice and all the other amenities of the resort.


Readying the theatre





The students assemble as families look on





Auxiliary nurses receiving their caps





Instructors pin caps on nurses





Yes, we do have some young men





Students celebrating with Dr. Appolon





Three happy nurses





Sharing the joy with some proud auxiliary nurses





With "my students"

















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