Thursday, May 31, 2007

Earth bag house

We have long embraced the concept of environmental sustainability. We use compost. We recycle. Our energy for pumps comes from PV solar panels; electricity for the Guest House is augmented by a wind turbine and we stick with natural pesticides for the farm. Having read about alternative construction going on around the world, we decided to try our hand at it. We will be building a small house with earth bags. Rice, barley, wheat (staples of our diet here) all come in poly bags which we've saved. They will be used to hold a mix of moistened sand and clay. Gotta purchase the sand which comes from riverbeds nearby but we have tons of clay on our property. The bags will be laid out much like bricks or blocks and barbed wire will be used as mortar between the rows. It's a learning process and we are anxious to see what will develop. Enjoy the project vicariously.

Earth bag house

JaRoro, Pierre Rinot, Venel, Denis and their supervisor, Junior.
This is day one. The site was looked over carefully and a plan was developed that would allow a couple of healthy young trees to survive. We decided on an L-shaped plan. Once the dimensions were decided, the boys set out to lay out the lines which guide the digging of the foundation.

Earth bag house

End of day 2. Foundation for the east wall is complete. It is one foot below grade, about eight inches above grade and eighteen inches wide. River rocks and mortar (traditional stuff here) were used for the the foundation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Paul (USAID) with cap and glasses, Jack with glasses, me with neither.
We were visited last Friday by Paul Tuebner, the Director of USAID in Haiti. He is seen here surrounded by a few of the kids in front of our pig pen. Jack Reynolds, President of Theo's Work and my brother-in-law, was here, too. Always glad to host our friends from USAID who are helping us with 600 meals a day for the children and an agricultural project.

Dan's family

Dan Sr., Dan Jr. and Cheryl
Dan's folks came down for a short, week-long visit. Here they are at the local watering hole, The Bay Club, on the eve of their departure.

Gary and the pump

Here's Gary from PA watching the submersible pump's effects. Yeah, it worked!! Gary was down here a couple of months back with Victor. He came back with his daughter, Rachel, to put some finishing touches on the water system.

Rachel and the gang

Jean-Robert, Siyovle, Tipa, Rachel and Yolen
This is Rachel, Gary's daughter, posing with the baseball gang.


The major artery for traffic in the south was blocked Sunday and Monday. A man from Pont Salomon was killed on Saturday and the police have no suspects. The local folks manifested their frustration by blocking the road. This is the road we take to go to Castel-Pere so we had to go the back way. Let's pray for a peaceful resolution!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A very special day

Maxime, Rachelle, Jean-Marie and Gina
It was a very happy occasion this morning for Florine's parents and godparents. Jean-Marie and Gina beamed as their infant daughter was baptized. Long-time best friends of the parents, Maxime and Rachelle, were honored to be godparents. Being a godparent is taken very seriously here.

Florine's Baptism

This is little Florine being baptized this morning. It was a simple but beautiful celebration held in her parents' home a few miles from Hope Village at Castel-Pere. Here we see the godfather and godmother. Of the 30 some odd photos taken only three came out as my new photographic assistant was unfamiliar with my camera. We miss you, Nico!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Arts and Crafts

Just two more of the dozen or so Christmas ornaments our Arts and Crafts people are working on. There are candy canes and stars and small suns and, of course, the angels I have already posted. Contact Connie by clicking on konnyskorner under links if you want to order some unique decorations. Thank you for supporting our Arts and Crafts effort.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bye, Nico. God bless.

Nadia sings a song asking God to bless Nick in his new life in Port-au-Prince.
Nico sitting near his godson at his going-away party last night.
Daniel, Widmy and Alexis singing a song for Nick.
Edouard, Nick and Yves have become fast friends over the last two and a half years.

Hard to believe that it has been 2 and a half years that Nick has been with us. So much has happened in that time and Nick was part and parcel of the whole thing. We are happy for him as he moves on to better his career and move closer to his goal. But we are sad that he will no longer be a part of our daily family struggle, our highs and lows. May God bless you, Nico. You will always have a home here in southern Haiti.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Things weren't going as Claudia thought they should so the tears began to flow. Five minutes later she was playing and enjoying Flag Day.

Flag Day

May 18th is Flag Day here in Haiti. All the schools participate showing honor to the country's symbol. We had parades, singing and dancing. It was a huge success thanks to the hard work of the teachers and staff.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Angel bearing a star

Another angel from our artisans. Sammy, the creator, explained that the star the angel is carrying is the one the Magi followed to find the Christ Child. This piece is 6 inches long and about 4 inches high. Some will be painted and others will be varnished.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Come one, come all

In a day or two our new web site will be up and running. This is one of the tools we hope will help us raise consciousness and money for the poor in Haiti. It order to be successful we need to drive traffic to the website so please write to all your friends via email or snail mail and tell them about this new source of information regarding our work with the children. Or you can add the url address to your email signature or you can have a bumper sticker made or you could put the news in your church bulletin or announce it during Happy Dollar segments of your meetings or... Well, you get the idea. I'll be adding the web site address under LINKS as soon as it is on line.
Thank you to Katie McCarthy for all her work and passion in making this new tool available to us.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Angels, anyone?

These snapshots are of three different angels our Arts and Crafts folks are working on as Christmas ornaments. They could be for any occasion, don't you think? The middle angel is approximately 6 x 6 inches and the other two are 4 x 4 inches. Which do you prefer?
These angels and other ornaments will be available as soon as Connie gets back home. Check konnyskorner under LINKS (on the right) in a couple of weeks for details and pricing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Arts and Crafts Crew

Connie, Jean Remy, Honel and Sammy
Connie is here for a few days and is seen here lending a hand to our core artisans. They are working on Christmas ornaments which we hope will sell. The goal is to make the Arts and Crafts Program autonomous. Contact Connie at konnyskorner's link (on the right) for ways to purchase and therefore support this great program.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Showers and Laundry

Here's the finished showers and laundry area for the children's neighborhood. All we need now is cisterns, plumbing and a pump.

Internet down and out

We have been having trouble with accessing the internet this past week or so. It is very frustrating. It's working right now so am taking advantage of the situation to post the news that no communication from us can be explained by the "slow as molasses" uploading and downloading or the complete absence of a signal. Be patient as we have to be, OK?

Rainy season

The rainy season is in full swing here. This is a shot of the road to Castel-Pere after some torrential rain.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Reginald, Peguens and Belizore preparing the dough for our "daily bread" in the garage for the tractor. The guys have to work where they can until we can find the dough (sorry, can't help it) for a small bakery.

Junior and the Roof

Boss Junior (his name is really Judnenor but Junior is so much easier to pronounce and remember) working on the roof of the laundry area. It won't be long now and we'll be seeing the hustle and bustle of cleaning in this very spot.

Betsy and Beth

Mama cow with her little one taking in some rays this morning before it gets too hot.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Meet our newest

This is Nadia, 11 years old, who comes to us from a restavek (domestic servitude) situation. She has never been to school, has never owned a new article of clothing, has never had a toy. Nadia came to us via the UN who intervened on her behalf when the abuse Nadia suffered became known.

And here is Kesnel standing between Father Charlie and me. Kesnel has never been to school and was so malnourished that Mother Theresa's sisters thought he was going to die. Well, he showed them. With the care they provided Kesnel has done miraculously well in his recovery but years of protein malnutrition have a lasting effect. Look at his face and his body size. Would you believe that he's nineteen years old? He is and had no where to go. He's got a home now. Kesnel and Nadia are only two of the thousands of children who need your help. Please continue to support our work and spread the word so that we can be there for more desperate children.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Sonsonn and Savary enjoying a free day. Today is the feast of St Joseph the Worker and a national holiday. We honor all workers today and students reap the benefits.
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