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.

Give us this day...

Our daily bread is prepared in a garage but that doesn't alter the taste one bit. There's nothing like a fresh, hot roll straight out of the solar oven !!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ambassador Sanderson

Ambassador Sanderson listening to a presentation on our agriculture project by Tanis.
Nadia after presenting flowers to the ambassador.

U.S. Ambassador Jane Sanderson poses with our Board at Castel-Pere.
From left: Father Charlie, Regina, Father Marc, Ambassador Sanderson, Doug, Beth (USAID), Jack and Dee.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Medical Mission

Folks waiting to be seen. The mission was set up with several stations: registration, triage, consultation, pharmacy, laboratory and surgery. Hundreds of people will be seen daily. What a terrific gift to the people of southern Haiti.

Medical Mission

Haitian doctors Vladimir (top) and Jacob check out patients in our temporary clinic set up for this mission.

Mission Commander

The driving force behind the Athens Medical Group Mission is Doctor Michael Blood. He has coordinated all aspects (from the fund-raising, packing of supplies, enlisting volunteers, buying inflatable mattresses...). He is seen here overlooking the waiting lines of Haitians.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Jean Will was released from the hospital today and came to LaMadonne. We'll be making sure he eats and drinks all the right stuff as he requires a special diet. He's much better though his back still hurts him. No, he's not a happy camper just yet but that will come.


Joey Lamarre, pictured here, made the top five in a competition for entrance into the finest private medical school in Port-au-Prince. This was out of 2,593 applicants. Bravo, Joey!! It is no surprise to those who know Joey. What is extraordinary is that he is always available for work details or working with the younger children, has time to write a book of poems and teach the altar servers, sings in the choir... He wrote, directed and starred in a play last spring. He is a great model for the younger boys and girls.

Denis and Gloria

Here's a happy photo for a change. TiDenis received a postcard with a personal message along with a sheet of stickers from his godmother, Gloria. Gloria comes from Port Orange, FL and has been his godmother for years now. One little problem: we can't make out the address on the envelope and our computer with all our foreign addresses crashed so here's hoping Gloria sees this and understands why we can't send a thank you note.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Living saints

The Missionaries of Charity (Mother Theresa's community) came to our aid last week when we were at a loss to care for Jean-Wilson who was suffering terribly. He had trouble breathing, was alternately hot and cold, had spasms in his back, legs and chest. It had been three weeks like this. Brought him to LaCharite, their place here in town, and they immediately rallied to help. They called their Cuban pediatrician and got him out of bed. Doctor Raphael took a look at Jean-Will and asked us to bring him pronto to the General Hospital and find a bed in pediatrics. After many tests, the results came in. Jean-Will had advanced typhoid so treatment was started at once. The sisters stayed with us all morning and provided all the meds he would need. While there we saw three abandoned newborns-- one had extreme hydrocephalus so Sr. Guadalupe asked about her and was told that nothing was being done for her. No nursing, no medicine, no history, no name, no paperwork, no family. Sister decided to take her back to LaCharite-- to the relief of the nurses. I baptized the baby with Jean-Will's water from his bottle. The child, now called Agatha, will surely die soon but she'll die in the arms of people who care.
While at the hospital I found out that there's a long list of people waiting for surgery. Trouble is there's no anesthesia for any general surgery so folks are waiting and waiting. What is ironic is that we have a medical team coming to visit and we have had a heck of a time with the bureaucratic Haitian Ministry of Health giving us permission to bring in donated, valuable medicine. We are still uncertain that we'll get permission and the team is coming in two days.
Just another frustrating day in Haiti.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bryan's Departure

Here are our girls, led by Nadia, doing a folklore dance in honor of Bryan King. Even though the rain and wind were pelting the building we were in, the show was a success.
And here are Delince, Alexandre, Jean-Ourdy and Daniel doing their part last night. Bryan was able to leave us this morning via TortugAir and we hope to see him real soon. Bon voyage, Bryan.

Hurricane Noel's legacy

One of the neighborhood children came by for breakfast this morning. Rain or no rain, one's gotta eat.
A photo of the yard (normally dry) in front of the Voc. School
That's our children's neighborhood village this morning. What a mess !!

Ravine du Sud

I've never seen the Ravine du Sud (River of the South) so high and turbulent. There's been lots of flooding, homes have been washed away, several local drownings. It's a terrible disaster for many of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Please keep them and us in your prayers. We have been helping as much as we can but there's just not enough money.