Friday, June 16, 2017

We are the champions!

We are the champions! Our older Pwoje Espwa soccer team has been ROCKING it these past couple of weeks. They have been involved in a few tournaments and have won two of them so far.


 The Executive Director of Free the Kids, Frank, and the Executive Director of Pwoje Espwa, Berthony, attended the game together.

In a recent game, the team was presented with quite the challenge as they were playing against an older (and bigger) team from Port Salut. One of our players broke his leg during the tough competition. He is recovering well, with lots of love and support from the rest of the team. Prayers for him are appreciated.


By the end of the game, the score was 1-1 and the final came down to penalty kicks, best of five. Our goalie saved almost every one and helped us to win the game! Everyone in the stands burst into cheers, hopped over the fence and ran onto the field! The team carried the goalie above their heads, whose shining smile and sparkly eyes portrayed the pride he felt in himself and his team. 


Jean Didley - our amazing goalie!

video

When they returned to the compound after the game, the team marched around to each of the villages, showing off the trophy; screams of pure joy broke out as children realized that their older brothers had won! We are all so proud of our team.


Tomorrow the team will play against a group of young men who are in Espwa’s transition program. Everyone is excited to see the game; it will be a fun and family-oriented competition!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Happiest Place on Earth

Emily Dabrowski was an extremely passionate young woman whose love for Pwoje Espwa grew with every visit here. Emily planned to work at Pwoje Espwa once finishing college and would beg her parents to come visit as often as she could. She passed suddenly earlier this year, which shocked her family and friends as well as everyone in the Espwa community. She was full of light and life and was loved deeply by many.

This past week Emily’s mother, Diane, came down to Pwoje Espwa for the first time. In her time here, she reconnected with her daughter and began to see the beauty that Emily would rave about when she returned home after every trip.

In Mass last Sunday, Diane gave a beautiful speech to the children about the importance of loving and caring for one another. She then gifted Espwa a painting of Emily that was created by some of Emily’s friends back home in the United States.


In return, Pwoje Espwa gave her a piece of metalwork made by a former Espwa child. The sign states, “The Happiest Place on Earth” which is the phrase Emily used to describe Pwoje Espwa.


These beautiful moments remind us of the beautiful family-like relationships that Pwoje Espwa fosters. We will all continue to carry Emily and her joy of life in our hearts.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

First Communion

This past Sunday, 32 children received first communion during Mass at Pwoje Espwa.

  
  



19 of these children were residents of Espwa – 17 boys and 2 girls – and the other 13 were children from surrounding communities. All of these children have been taking spiritual formation classes in preparation for the big day.

 



The church was embellished with beautiful handmade decorations and everyone was decked out in their very best to celebrate this big step taken in the spiritual journeys of the 32 young people.



Sending congratulations and love to all of them!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Soccer Weekend

Over the weekend two Espwa soccer teams played in town. On Friday, the older team beat their opponent 3-2! Everyone at Pwoje Espwa learned of the win as soon as the team returned to campus; the team sang, chanted, and whirled their shirts above their heads in celebration.

On Saturday, Espwa’s younger team played in town for the first time. They played hard and lost by 1, but were heavily supported during the game by Espwa kids who watched them play. The kids loved the outing and enjoyed munching on peanuts and lollipops while cheering on their friends!











It was a great, soccer-filled weekend! Nou renmen jwe boul! (We love playing soccer!)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Happy Birthday Father Marc!

What a special day it is indeed! Today we celebrate the birthday of Father Marc who is the founder of Pwoje Espwa Sud.  The love that Father Marc has poured into Espwa is evident everyday; we find it in the smiles of children, the handshakes between staff members, and the overall family environment on the compound.


We honored the special day in the Quad with food and fellowship. The kids, dressed in their very best, enjoyed the special meal.

Little Ferlando trying Sprite for the first time. Mmmm!

Sonia, Charles, and Adeline - our cooks for the celebration. Big thanks to them for their hard work! 


Tama helping little Rose Andrèe eat the special birthday meal.




Check out what's in Sara's hand; she's loving the chicken!
Happy birthday Father Marc! We love you!  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Prayer Request - Mr. Albert

Today we ask for prayers and good thoughts for dear Mr. Albert.



Mr. Albert works with our liturgy department, giving religious formation lessons to our kids and preparing for Mass every week. We often find him in the Quad chapel, with his glasses sitting on the edge of his nose, collecting and organizing programs for the upcoming Sunday Mass.

Last week Mr. Albert had a stroke. He is struggling to use his right arm and is only able to speak out of one side of his mouth, but he says with exercises he becomes stronger each day. Seeing him in this state - using a small round fruit to stretch his right hand - is a reminder of the privilege we have in the United States where medical care after a stroke is much easier to come by.

Mr. Albert’s spirit is definitely wounded. After a visit to his home yesterday, where Matante, Prosper and others prayed over him and sang with him, he described that his main concern is coming back to Espwa. He misses working with the kids and being around his second family. Matante reassured him, “You’ll be back soon.”

Matante, Albert, Prosper

Please send out prayers for this wise member of our family, whose dedication to our children and to his faith is an inspiration to us all.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Update - Rose Andrèe

Today we can happily announce that sweet Rose Andrèe’s heart is normal. We learned this from the Haiti Cardiac Alliance who did a full work up for the little one at Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

While this visit did not necessarily “cure” the precious 2-year-old, it did give us important information about her heart and allowed Pwoje Espwa to make a valuable connection with another organization.

The trip also served as an important reminder of the love that children within Espwa receive from staff each and every day. Watching how the nurse and house mother took care of and advocated for Rose Andrèe every step of the way demonstrated Espwa’s important role in the lives of these children while their biological parents work to get back on their feet.





All of this was made possible thanks to Dr. Christopher Powers, a volunteer who first visited Pwoje Espwa in March and made the connection with Haiti Cardiac Alliance! We are so grateful for these connections and for the determination of all parties to get Rose Andrèe well.


As we move forward with a plan to visit a hospital that specializes in throat problems, we will be sure to keep you all updated! Thanks for your love and prayers in the meantime.