Thursday, July 26, 2007

Neighborhood wall

I failed to mention yesterday that funding for the neighborhood wall is provided by a generous grant from Tom and Carol Cracchiolo in loving memory of their sister-in-law, Connie Cracchiolo, of Grosse Pointe, MI.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Neighborhood showers

Showers and laundry areas are finished. Notice the small blue sign in the foreground. This is Paige's idea-- signs are put up all over the place that have the names of the buildings in both Creole and English. Paige will be heading the English Program for our children and has already started to creatively challenge the children. Pretty cool, eh?

Earthbag House

Cement stucco is being applied to the exterior of the earthbag house now that the interior has been done. Still have the roof to finish but that will go up in a snap.

Neighborhood Wall

The order is reversed but you can see the fantastic progress being made in the construction of the neighborhood wall. The completion of this wall will serve to enhance the security of our children and allow us better control of their schedules and activities. We'll be able to move the youngest children into the neighborhood which will free up the Sixto dorm so that we can use it as an extension of the secondary school and computer lab.

Arts and Crafts

Sammy with his newly designed and executed angel candelholder.
Here's Raymond with his latest, colorful hammock.
The boys continue to work hard even though the heat and humidity make things a real challenge. Being away at this time, I find myself feeling very proud of the boys and grateful that Paige is with them to guide, inspire and organize their efforts.

Absence explained

Regular visitors have noticed a lack of updates and postings. There's a good reason: I am in southern California and have been for two weeks. Will be heading to Arizona tomorrow for ten days and then will be home in Haiti after that. Enjoy the following posts. I am grateful to Portia who has been keeping me informed as to what's happening.
My time here has been profitable. Was able to raise some very necessary funds and expand our support network.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Handmade sandals in rubber and leather or all rubber or all leather. The small ones (not shown here) are really "cute" (can't believe I used that word).

New Artisans

Tissaint and Michel are our new Arts and Crafts people. They make all kinds of sandals. That's good for us and the kids but we hope to be able to sell them, too. Will post a close-up of the sandals they had available.
GOOD NEWS !! Little Eddy Aunon had successful eye surgery, recuperated quickly and is now back among his friends at Hope Village in Castel-Pere. Thank you for your prayers.

Ralph, our epileptic boy, is now living at LaCharite where he will be better supervised and in a controlled environment. Mother Theresa's order does amazing, saintly work and we've been collaborating for eight years now. God bless the Missionaries of Charity.
Drying surface finished just in time for the sorghum.
First footing done for the second 40' container. All we be done today and the container will be moved on to them tomorrow.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Visitor talent

Angie giving us a helping hand with the tractor. It is always fun to see how visitors end up helping us. Angie has her doctorate in psychology so this is the last thing I expected.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

ins and outs

Two shots of the cut out window in what will be the dental clinic.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Father Bal

Another shot of Father Bal, me and Father Charlie at Father Bal's Party. Photo by Portia

Dental Clinic

Above image was taken from and is the inspiration for our dental clinic. This is an idea developed by Mark Meyer of Texas.
Day One: Dan, below, and Andy, top, after just finishing cutting a doorway into the side of a container. There will be two containers of 40 foot lengths with a courtyard in between.

Father Bal's party

Kelly, Angie, Daniel and Erin at the Going Away Party for Father Bal.

Father Bal

Fathers Bal, Marc and Charlie
Father Bal was the guest of honor yesterday afternoon at a Going Away Spektak. Father is 83, has been a wonderful addition to our staff, made possible our carpenters' workshop, been an inspiration to us all. He is leaving us Sunday to return to his home in Belgium where he plans on becoming semi-retired. God bless you, Father Bal.

New and renewed friendships

Here's Erin who will be with us for a month. She's found a bunch of admirers.
Jean-Bertho, Sylvain, Bertho and Rico with Dee.


Bottom left to right: Angelo, TiToma, TiDenis and Jimmy.
Top left to right: Jeff, TiPa, Beto, Kerby and Fery.
Dee Orlowski escorted a group of visitors here who will be with us through Thursday. She brought along a few pair of sunglasses.

Looking good

Here's Raymond near the refined, textured wall. Raymond moonlights as a weaver of fishnets, hammocks and bags.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Operation today

Little Eddy Aunon will be undergoing surgery this morning to reattach his retina. Doctor wanted the swelling to come down and be able to better examine Eddy's eye. He decided yesterday that this was the time to do the operation.
Got a message from home asking for prayers for my god-daughter, Donna Marie. She is having another serious heart procedure. You can imagine the distress this causes the family.
A friend has asked for prayers for his son who has gotten into trouble with the law.
Please add these three intentions to your prayers.
Thank you.


I use the word 'texture' when I comment on the cement stucco adhered to the earth bag house walls. Brings back fond memories: like the first time I gift-wrapped a present. It wasn't pretty but still got the job done.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Two visits

I was visited by two people today who are responsible for children. The first was a policeman, Junot DesRivaux, who runs a small orphanage in town. He has no money and no support. He spends his own meager salary to purchase food for the children but they need much more. They need to be educated. They need clothing and medical care. There are nineteen children, all under ten, in his care.
Sister Flora is a Canadian nun who has been working at Ile-a-Vache for 26 years. She has 55 children in her care and more than half are severely handicapped. She can't make ends meet. Both are doing God's work here in Haiti and need help. Do you know someone or an organisation looking for a worthy cause? Please help us help them. Thank you.

Small orphanage

Here's a group photo of the children living at FOCSED, an orphanage in town.
Here's a candid shot of the youngest at FOCSED. Looks pretty normal to me.

Poor children

This is what greeted us at the small orphanage this morning. Nineteen children, all below ten years of age, eager to meet us in the hope that we can help them.

Agronome Brice

Agronome Brice holding a mango seed that has already started germinating. It will be put in one of the bags our teens are filling. Once well rooted we will plant it and then graft it to have a variety of mangoes.


Enoch, Evens, Fritzner, Attache and SonSon filling in bags with a compost mix.


Our guava plantation
These little guys will become huge pink grapefruit trees. Can't wait.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Earth Bag House

The "ceinture" is finished. Don't know what it's called in English. It bonds the bags together at the top and allows us a way to secure the wood framing for the roof.Here's Boss Junior working on the forms so we can pour the roof over the toilet. There'll be a cistern up there to provide water.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


If you are faint of heart or a bit squeamish, skip this post. Jameson is eight months old and was left unattended in the front yard of his home. His mother was off at the market and his grandmother was out back doing something else. Grannie heard Jameson screaming and came to see what was up. She saw a pig dragging her grandson by the ear. The boy was brought to Hospital Brenda Strafford where he was immeditaely taken into surgery. I saw him this morning and his grandmother shared the story with me. Hospital Brenda is the only hospital I know that does not refuse patients because of lack of money. Sister Evelyn Tremblay is the founder-director and one of our best friends. She has been a source of inspiration for me since day one. May God continue to bless her and her courageous and faithful dedication to helping His poor.

Good news !

Here's Eddy drinking some juice this morning. His eye is much better and he says he sees with it. A huge relief!! Doctor is hopeful that Eddy will have his vision back to normal in a little while. Thank you for your prayers. I knew right away that he was much better as he was crawling out of his bed this morning as I walked in.

Drying surface

This is the newly finished drying surface that we have needed a long time. Corn, rice, beans...are scattered here to dry in the sun and then are stored for later use. The cement building is a mill so it made sense to do this here. Once milled, it is stored in the container which is right behind the mill.


Israel Valcourt was laid to rest yesterday. The family could not afford to send the cadavre to a funeral home. They could not afford a casket nor new clothes for the funeral. We offered to make a casket for Israel and, as soon as it was done, a short funeral service was sung and he was buried. The family was invited to join us for Mass this morning where his classmates plan on eulogizing Israel and singing one of his favorite songs. Please continue to pray for the family.