Monday, January 8, 2018

20 Years of Learning and Love

On January 4th and 5th, Pwoje Espwa Sud celebrated 20 years of existence.

The first Haitian Cardinal, Chibly Langlois was the Chief Celebrate for the Mass; Monsignor Cologne, Father Marc, Father Gregoire concelebrated and were assisted by Deacon Peter. Attendees included 300 staff members, older Espwa children, and dignitaries. Staff and children participated in various parts of the Mass, such as the Prayers of the Faithful, the offering, and in the choir. After Mass, a short Spektak (talent show) was performed and dinner was provided to all those in attendance. It was an evening filled with nostalgia and joy as we all celebrated and honored Pwoje Espwa Sud and all those who have contributed over the years.

Father Marc, Deacon Peter, Monsignor Cologne, Cardinal Langlois, and Father Gregoire 

Some house mothers presented different fruits and vegetables to the Cardinal during the offering. 

Frank Irr, Ben Ablies, Linda and Peter Faford with the Cardinal and Monignor after Mass.

We ate delicious peanuts during the reception.

On January 5th, we celebrated with all of the kids! A ten course meal which included cake and ice cream was provided to each child. As the kids ate they watched a Spektak which included singing and dancing acts from current and former Espwa children, who are now in their mid-20s. Of course, the celebration ended in a wild dance party where kids, dressed to the nines, broke out their best moves.

Look at all those cakes!

Visitors helping distribute cake to the kids.

Matante and Berthony watching the kids celebrate.

How can one capture the work that this place has done since 1998? Pwoje Espwa Sud has been an oasis of hope for so many – children, staff, and volunteers; it has filled hungry bellies, provided laughs for sad souls, and given faith to those who had given up. God bless the children, staff, volunteers, donors, supporters, Matante, and Father Marc. Here’s to 20 more years of learning and love!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Pizza!

While Christmas traditions vary from family to family, city to city, state to state and country to country, there’s one thing most of us can agree upon: delicious food. Usually these yummy Christmastime meals are comprised of items that are a special treat; something that we wouldn’t eat on a normal evening.

This year the kids at Pwoje Espwa had a very special Christmas Eve meal, something that they definitely don’t get to eat normally: PIZZA! 30 pizzas were prepared throughout the day on the 24th for the children to enjoy that evening.

And who was behind this delicious treat? Sam and some of the older guys at Pwoje Espwa came up with this idea and made it all happen for their little sisters and brothers. It was certainly a lot of work for the pizza-making crew, but the love and dedication they have for the littler ones motivated them to get it all done! We are deeply thankful for our Espwa family at all times of the year, but especially during the Christmas season!

Have a blessed 2018.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

International Children's Day!

Tomorrow - Monday, November 20th - is International Children’s Day!

Pwoje Espwa celebrated this special day today during and after Mass. In a church adorned with homemade decorations made by two of Espwa’s young women, Father Gregoire preached about the rights that children have. Espwa children offered up ideas about their rights – the right to eat well, the right to education, the right to have a voice in the world. Father Gregoire reminded the children that with their rights come responsibilities.

After Mass, a celebration team came together to put on different activities for the kids. They played music, enjoyed mini competitions, and watched performances of talented Espwa children. The celebration ended with yummy treats!

Psychologist Emma discussing the special day with the children.

A new dance routine. You go girls!
Julio wrote a song for the special day. He sang beautifully.

The sack race was a big hit!

Psychologist Emma and DJ Delince celebrate with the winner of the sack race!
 As you remember and celebrate the children in your life, we ask that you pray for children around the world who are less fortunate. Happy International Children’s Day 2017!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hurricane Matthew: One Year Reflections

A year ago, category 4 Hurricane Matthew slammed the southern peninsula of Haiti. The eye of the storm was just miles from Pwoje Espwa. 

The roof of the secondary school strewn all over the ground.

The storm's strength was so powerful, it uprooted huge trees on our compound.

One of the boys' homes after the storm.

All roofs in the boys' village were completely destroyed.
While all children and staff were physically safe, the storm severely wounded spirits. As we looked around and saw the damage done to our own compound, worry for families and friends grew - many of these people lived directly on the coast in structurally unsound homes and without access to weather warnings.

Pwoje Espwa continues to rebuild a year out from the storm. Structurally, we have repaired and are in the midst of constructing hurricane proof domes to ensure children and house mothers' safety in these kinds of violent storms. We also work on the rebuilding of our spirits, remembering how blessed we are to have one another especially in times of tragedy. 

As we reflect on this event, we cannot forget YOU. You - our donors and supporters - are the reason why Pwoje Espwa is able to continue forward. The support that we received after Hurricane Matthew was unfathomable and was a reminder of just how far our family stretches. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Pwoje Espwa is here because of your unwavering generosity and love. 

As always, we remember - Kote gen lespwa, gen lavi. Where there is hope, there is life. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Prayer Request – Odette

We are calling on all members of our Pwoje Espwa family to shower our dearest Odette in prayer. For the past week, Odette has not come into work in the Guesthouse; she has been experiencing intense vertigo that has made it hard for her to walk and eat.

If you have met Odette, you know that her not coming to work is a big deal. This woman defines what it means to be a hard worker. She walks from her home to the Quad each morning, a 2-mile trek in the heaviest of heat. When she arrives, she immediately gets to work making the neatest beds and scrubbing clothes for visitors. Visitors often tell us that the clothes Odette washes for them are cleaner, brighter, and whiter than they were when they were originally purchased.

Yesterday was Odette’s 85th birthday! The kids who work in the Quad kitchen prepared a cake and we all packed into a car, along with Matante, to visit this vital member of our family at her home in town. When we arrived we sang ‘happy birthday’ and Matante laid her hands on Odette’s head and prayed for her to get well soon. Staying true to her character Odette stated, “Oh, I’m so sorry I don’t have anything prepared for you all. I don’t have anything to give you.”

Here is Odette holding her birthday cake. Happy birthday, Odette! We love you!

This wise woman’s firm beliefs and dedication to her work are an inspiration to us all. Please pray that Odette gets well soon and be thankful for the older people in your life today and every day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Three Cheers for a New School Year!

Hip hip hooray! Today marks the first day of school at Pwoje Espwa. This morning, speckles of green, pink and plaid spotted the compound as children marched their way to their respective classrooms in their freshly pressed uniforms.

After some introductory time with their new teachers, Espwa students gathered in the chapel to celebrate a traditional back-to-school Mass. This time together is meant to call the Holy Spirit into the lives of all children, including the 1500 students that come to Espwa just for school, as they begin a new academic year.

As always, we are so proud of Pwoje Espwa’s students and teachers for their dedication to education. We wish them all the best as they begin a fresh, new year! Bondye beni nou, timoun yo.