Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

All the best to you and yours for 2008 !!

Orevwa 2007 -- Byenveni 2008

A Prayer for you

May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

Author Unknown

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Kevenson was the youngest participant this morning at the liturgy. I can tell you this-- he's got healthy lungs. The photo is out of focus as I was a little too close.

Jean Bertho

Jean Bertho was serving Mass this morning and paying close attention to what was going on cause he is new at it. He did a fine job!


Here's a close-up of the manger set we received from Shepherd of the Hills Parish in Eden, Wisconsin.

Father Patrick Samway, sj

Father Patrick waiting for Mass to begin this morning. Father is a professor at St Joseph's University in the City of Brotherly Love. He is spending a few days with us. Always glad to see him.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cabbage Patch

It may be Christmas day but the work goes on. Animals need tending, gardens need watering and the kids need to be occupied. Our cabbages are doing well but they need to be watered regularly. We have a delicious recipe for spicy coleslaw (piklise) that's the perfect compliment to fried plantains.

Christmas '07

Work of Christmas Begins

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…

And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.

-- Howard Thurman, adapted

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas 07

From a children's Christmas song:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in.
Be born in us to-day.

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas, a time of wonder and joy. It is less commercialized here. We are not inundated with Christmas carols and songs so when the choir sings it is special; the songs are associated with the birth of Our Savior. God gifted us with His Son who became a light for the nations. Much darkness still abounds but the light flickers on and continues to show us the way. May we be sources of light for each other. May your Christmas with loved ones be the best ever and filled with wonder and joy.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fourth Sunday in Advent

We celebrate the last Sunday in Advent tomorrow. The time to prepare for Christmas is almost over and still there's much to be done. We have a beautiful manger set given to us by Shepherd of the Hills Parish in Eden, Wisconsin which we'll be putting up. The dining room/chapel will be decorated with greens and a few strings of lights. There are no Christmas gifts this year but there's much for which we are grateful. The children either go to school or are learning a trade; they eat three meals a day; medical care is provided and we have many loyal friends and benefactors. Part of our Christmas liturgy will be to pray for you and to thank God for the Greatest Gift, His Son.

Renald Amazan

This is 23 y/o Renald Amazan. He was just released from prison this morning after being there ten months. He was arrested along with four others for a theft. Renald finally saw a judge yesterday who declared that there was no reason to hold him so he'll be home for Christmas. He came to see me because he has no shoes and no money to get home. Gave him 1,000 gourdes ($28 US) so that he could buy sandals and take a bus to Jeremie. We wish him well.


Father Charlie eating his eggs while reading a mystery novel, one of those that can't be put down, obviously.
Damon Fournier is visiting us for a few days. Damon is the grandson of dear friends of mine from California. He's in the process of getting his masters in English at NYU and works for the development office there. We'll be comparing notes.

Earth bricks

The guys are making earth bricks from clay and sand which will be used for a construction project. We have a hand-operated hydraulic press from Belgium and can produce 300 blocks a day. The cost of cement has gone through the roof so making these is smart and economical.


All the children at Castel-Pere have chores. The little guys clean the yards by picking up leaves and trash. This lasts all of 30 minutes before they become completely distracted and move on to some more fun activity.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What is it?

Three car garage with an apartment up above? Nope. This is the new composting toilet and it is huge. Our neighbors come by often and gawk. I just hope it works.

Clowns Without Borders

Clown Moshe
Clown Sarah
Clowns Sarah and Peter making a joyful sound.

Clowns Without Borders, a non-profit group, came to visit us today and were a huge hit with the kids and staff. They were in country for a week and will be leaving tomorrow. Glad they could fit us into their schedule.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Third Sunday of Advent

" Be patient, therefore, my brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer awaits the precious yield of the soil. He looks forward to it patiently while the soil receives the winter and the spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand." James 5:7 & 8 (Part of the second reading of Sunday's Mass)

Madame Kathy

Kathy Comito who worked with us a while back as our local Medical Director came to visit this week. Here she is with Bertho and Jean-Bertho. It was good to see her and catch up on things. Come back often, Kathy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Yesterday we had wild winds. Last night we had high winds and rain. This morning we had a mess of rain. Thanks alot, Olga ! Every time we get hit with a major storm the neighborhood looks like this.

Brushing away

Douyon brushing his teeth this morning. Good habit to learn early-- right, Pete?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas vacation

The munchkins (preschoolers) are on vacation until the second week of January. Vacation started yesterday and they are already bored. Saw these four early this morning and they were eager for an activity. God grant us patience. Now!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Human Rights Day

Today is Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Declaration, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, set out a list of 30 Articles describing fundamendal human rights and freedoms for everyone. Haiti adopted these rights so they are on the books. Sadly, the reality here is quite different. Join us in praying and working for a more just society in Haiti. It is our conviction that the children we help today will be tomorrow's leaders able to make the necessary changes to benefit all Haitians.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Apron Day

From left: Gardy, Pierre-Richard, Instructor Elicnor, Wesly and Wilnik
From left: Doubie, Wilgens, Elson, Djimy, Fanfan, Evelt, Michael and Kevin, the instructor.
The students of our new vocational school effort were given Espwa aprons this morning right after the liturgy. Not all were present but all were proud to be recognized. We wish them every blessing in their attempt to become skilled craftsmen. The photo on the top contains the carpentry class with their teacher and the other is the metalwork class with Kevin Scobie.

Farmer to Farmer visit

Me, Peggy, Benito and Tanis
Farmer to Farmer (F2F) Program Directors came to visit this past week. Peggy Carlson is International Director and Benito is the country director. We met to discuss future collaboration. F2F, member of Partners of the Americas, matches the agricultural needs in developing countries with experienced people in the states. We look forward to a long and productive relationship.

Update on Rosie's house

Walls are up and stuccoed.
Georges, Jean and Rosie screening/filtering the sand for the stucco.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Louicot St. Pierre

I was making my rounds at Castel-Pere this morning and this young man asked to speak to me. His name is Louicot and he is the oldest of nine children. His father had an accident on Wednesday, March 28th which has left him handicapped and unable to work. His mother is busy with the young children and has no marketable skills. Louicot would love to continue his education but there's no money; he'd love to learn a trade but can't afford to go to a vocational training school; he'd love to help his parents and younger siblings but cannot. To continue his classical education would cost $250 (a year for two more years). To learn a trade would cost about $300 plus the cost of tools. Learning a trade makes a lot of sense but our resources are stretched too thin to be able to help him. I told him that I would post his photo on this blog and that we'd pray for him.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jackson with new sneakers

This is Jackson with his first pair of new sneakers. We're trying to get the kids ready for Christmas and are starting with those children who have no shoes or have never had a new pair. Actually, these are too large for him but those are the ones he wanted AND he will grow into them.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

First Communion

Jean-Levelt Prosper directs the choir which includes our First Communicants.
The feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, was celebrated in a special way yesterday when 20 girls and boys received their First Communion. Many photos were taken but the lighting was awful and the photographer was inexperienced. These two shots give you an idea of the ceremony.

Tailors' work

Girl's blouse
Boy's long sleeve shirt and red tie
Girl's school jumper (with a shy tailor behind)
This is the result of several weeks work. These uniforms are destined for St Marc (north of Port-au-Prince) where Cross International sponsors a school. Cross gave us the contract so our senior tailor went up there and measured all the students, came back and assigned tasks. We are pleased with the results and hope both Cross and the students are, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Composting Toilet

I asked Jonas Pierre to stand in front of the composting toilets so you get a perspective of the width and height. It is designed for six depositors at a time. The actual toilets will be on the second floor so what you see behind Jonas is all storage for future fertilizer.

Welding 101

On the bottom left of the photo you see a blower that was made by our apprentice welders. This is part of the forge that they are fabricating (think blacksmith). Kevin Scobie is overseeing this practicum of the metalworking class.


Our agriculture students are working on a small park near the entrance of Castel-Pere. The focus here is aesthetics, a new concept for many of our young people. We are waiting on you, Brenda.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Oops ! Check your calendar.

The dates of the 10th Anniversary Celebration of ESPWA are the 5th and 6th of January, a Saturday and Sunday. My earlier post and an email mistakenly said that we were going to party on the 4th and 5th. Thanks to Marty Bender (CA) for picking up on this.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

It may sound a little strange to you all as you are gathered with family and friends on this Thanksgiving Day to hear that today is just another day here in southern Haiti. No parades, no televised football games, no huge table brimming with scrumptious food and turkey. That’s not to say that we are not grateful. Every morning prayer, every Mass and every meal include a moment of appreciation for all our blessings. We have much more now than we did years ago. Early on we thanked God for the daily meal which wasn’t much at times. Now we thank Him for the roof over our heads that keeps us dry during the rainy season; we thank Him for three meals a day; we thank Him for our schools and teachers, our dedicated staff (kitchen and laundry, especially); we thank Him for you who do so much for us.

We also pray daily for those less fortunate: for the children still homeless and hungry, for the sick who have no one to care for them, for the families struggling to provide for their children. We have cause to be thankful but we are surrounded with cries for help. Maybe once the hubbub of the day is over you could check out our website at and make a donation to help us continue to provide food, shelter, medical care and education to thousands of grateful children. A recurring donation provides us with a guaranteed income so we can better serve the children and reach out to others who are desperately in need.

God bless you and yours.

Father Marc

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New nursery

Guy-Robert cleaning out the seedlings.
Samuel working and weeding
We've started a new nursery near Lake Monik as the old one is all filled up with saplings. It is looking good and the guys have every right to be proud. Now if we could just keep the neighbors' goats and cows out of it...

Composting Toilet

Construction team from left: Rousseau, Edouard, Maxo, Blanc, Junior, TiWawa, Andre and Marknel
First stage is done. This is a photo of the bottom of the composting toilet. There will be large metal doors which will give access to the tractor to come in and empty the compost. The toilets will be on the second floor-- so to speak.


On the 5th and 6th of January we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary here in southern Haiti. Saturday will be dedicated to the children. They are putting together skits, dances, songs for a very special spektak (show). There'll be a feast and I am hoping that we can get ice cream (a first) for all the kids! On Sunday, the 6th, we will have a Mass of Thanksgiving presided by the bishop and attended by local dignitaries and friends. Tours will be provided by our older boys so that guests will have a chance to visit the grounds, work spaces , gardens, housing, schools... That will be followed by a huge Haitian buffet. So if you're in the area, please consider dropping by. Dan will be glad to make arrangements for you. His email is:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Welcome back, Jean-Wil

It has been a long time coming but our old Jean-Wil is finally making an appearance. He is gaining strength daily, eating well and smiling like he used to. He is still in some pain but has no more fever. Joints still bother him but less so and he needs to put on some weight. Thank you for your prayers as we were really scared there for a while.
Thank you, Dokte Cynthia and Rusty and all the folks of the Athens Medical Group Mission for being so attentive to Jean-Wil.

Rosie's place

Back door
Front porch
Thanks to a grant from Cross International, Roosvelt Pierre and his family will soon have a new and safe home to live in. Above is the front porch where you see three of our older boys posing. This is the first house they build entirely on their own. We are keeping an eye on them but from a distance.