Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rabbit farm

Ilsonge Vincent with one of our rabbits. He takes his job very seriously and the rabbits are responding very well. That's TiPolis on the bottom right, a future rabbit farmer.

Robyn and Tama

Robyn of Cross International and Tama bonded in the short time that Robyn was here.

Cross International

Shaun, Jim, Robyn and Michael (standing) with me as the children perform.
We were visited by our friends of Cross International who support our mission to help these disadvantaged children. They provide us with regular monthly support and fund special projects. We are very grateful for their faithful assistance.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday morning

This is Rachel in her best dress attending church this morning.
Nancy, our Chief of Admin, and daughter, Jucy, were present for Mass though I don't think Jucy was all that impressed.

Tiburon School

Putting finishing touches on the new school in Tiburon
School Director surrounded by her students
Thanks to a generous donation via Cross International, we have a new school to replace the two room shack that served as the school. Tiburon is located at the very western tip of Haiti's southern peninsula.

Farmer to Farmer

We were visited by Farmer to Farmer volunteer, Myriam, and national coordinator, Benito (on the right) this past Friday and Saturday. They gave a seminar on raising rabbits which was well attended and received. Myriam is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Niger) and is now a wife, mother and farmer in Northern California.

Portia and Olivier

Didn't have a good photo of Portia available so I asked Paige for one. Here's Portia with Olivier Cavey, a good friend from France and a senior MINUSTAH official.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bon voyage, Portia

Portia Marie Elizabeth Mills left us yesterday. She was with us for nine months. True to form, she was busy making contacts and working for us right to the last minute. Portia was able to reach out and spread the word on who we are and what we do to many NGOs, UN, Haitian government officials and a host of folks from the US. Though she is gone we know that we will forever be a part of her wherever she ends up. Likewise, we will remember her with great fondness. How could we forget her escapades, her networking, her TV show concept, her tears and laughter... ah, the memories!! Be happy, Portia.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Neighborhood Wall

The wall entrance is now ready for the gate. We've got a design for the gate and our guys will be doing it. Something to look forward to.


Macdonald is fourteen and he came to see us this morning. He's from Tiburon which is very far from here. Three or four years ago Mac fell and the result was this swelling above his left ear. It is soft to the touch so it probably contains liquid. He has not been to a clinic or seen a doctor as his father is dirt poor. His mother died long ago-- so long ago he does not remember her. We'll get our Doctor Cynthia to check him out when she comes next month. Your support allows us to help children like him. Thanks.

Monday, August 20, 2007

One more thing...

Another mama pig gave birth to 14 piglets last evening. That's a total of 25 new piglets. Is there a connection between hurricane winds and giving birth?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

After Dean

All the news reports warned us that a category 4 hurricane was coming our way. Internet weather sites confirmed that Hurricane Dean was to pass just to the south of us. Windows were boarded up, vehicles were moved to higher ground, property was secured and the children were trained to respond to a call from Matante by marching in order to the school. Dean was way to the south so we got some wind and rain but nothing like expected. We lost quite a few banana trees as they are very fragile but we gained in the pig department. One of our mama pigs gave birth to eleven piglets very early this morning. Thank you all for your prayers and concern. Let's remember our sisters and brothers in Jamaica as they face Dean head-on.

Prep for Dean

The windows of the elementary school were boarded up with plywood in anticipation of Hurricane Dean. We decided that everyone would be safer on the second floor should there be flooding. It ended up not being necessary, thank God.

School night

All the children and staff spent the night in our primary school. It was a festive evening and more like a camping out night than anything else. Some kids did not sleep at all. Our older boys did a terrific job of minding the younger ones.


A photo from inside the vehicle this morning on my way back to LaMadonne in town.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hurricane Dean

It's a busy time for us as we try and prepare for the worst that Hurricane Dean could bring our way. All the children and staff at Castel-Pere will be moved to the elementary school when the storm approaches. Food and cooking supplies are being moved there now as well as extra clothing and mattresses. Our medical personnel have prepared some First Aid kits for both LaMadonne and Castel-Pere and one of them will be with the children throughout the weekend. Animals and vehicles will be moved to the highest point of the property (the northern neighborhood). Anything of value will be moved up as high as we can... computers, printers, files and the like. We already have potable water ready for the two or three days of the storm but the toilet facilities will be rustic, to say the least. The satellite dish and the solar panels will be secured as much as possible and we are studying what to do with the wind turbine. The next time you hear from me will be after the storm. Keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hurricane Dean

If Hurricane Dean keeps coming as predicted we will be in a heck of a lot of trouble. We are doing what we can to get ready. Saturday and Sunday look to be miserable days. Keep us in your prayers, please. For updates check out the Weather Underground site.

Elementary School

Principal Joel Vital and his assistant in his office.
New books have arrived. They need to be sorted, wrapped and distributed.

Protecting the books

Here's a shot of a few of my older boys wrapping the new school books in plastic so that they'll last longer.


Thanks to a gift from one of our faithful donors we were able to install railings for the school's second floor overlooking the courtyard.


Roberto standing next to his creation. He made this out of cement on the exterior wall of the Earth Bag House.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Neighborhood Wall

The bulk of the work to put up the neighborhood wall will be done shortly. There will remain the finish work and the gate but it is already serving to protect the children's housing area.


Jean-Robert and Jeff planning their next activity. When you see either one, the other is sure to be close by.

Kate Burke

Kate Burke, seen here with Danale, left yesterday after three weeks with us. Kate was working on an independent study for her master's degree in theology so spent time doing research and visiting local ministries. On her off time she occupied herself with the kids and made a lot of friends.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Daniel Blood

Daniel Blood, sitting uncharacteristically idle in this photo, spent two months with us this summer and was a huge help. Dan will be entering his second year at engineering school. If he tackles his school work the way he tackles projects, he'll be successful. Extremely talented in all matters of construction and repair, Dan worked on many projects. He was an ideal volunteer, showed initiative and resolve and was a terrific example for the boys at Castel-Pere. We miss you, Dan, and look forward to your return. God bless you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


You have to use a microscope but this is a photo of the wall that went up yesterday. It was a huge effort. Thank heavens the rains stayed away.


Mackenson, one of my artisans, was taken to the General Hospital last night as he was showing signs of meningitis. The hospital had no space so he ended up sleeping in a hallway with another one of my older boys. There's only one doctor in the south of Haiti who can test him for what we think he has. Here's hoping that we are wrong in our diagnosis and that this will pass. Your prayers, please.

Rough morning

This is a photo of Smith. First thing this morning he could not find his sandals and things just went downhill from there. It is tough to be five years old and not understand why your mother would leave you in a hospital and never return for you. Both Smith and his brother, Roro, were extremely malnourished and are still showing signs of it. We are hoping that the damage is not permanent. Keep them in your prayers, please.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dental clinic

Here are a couple of photos of the future Espwa Dental Clinic. Doesn't look like much right now but with a little putty and paint (as an old friend of mine used to say) it will look great. Dan Blood put a lot of sweat equity into this project (among several) and we are very appreciative.

Earth Bag House

Tige and Herold posing next to the bedroom window in the earthbag house. The inside walls are done and look kool.
Outside walls are slowly getting done. Work on the neighborhood wall was our focus during my absence so the house saw little improvement. The effect of the stucco is very similar to old structures in Europe or early homes in the southwest-- see the rounded corner here.


Work on the wall for the southern neighborhood is going well. We are about two-thirds done. We'd have been further along but the rains came. I'm very proud of our workers and staff who are so dedicated to their tasks.

Rain, rain

It rained cats and dogs last night and what a mess was found this morning at Hope Village.