Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009


Our wish for you, dear friends and supporters, is a year with less suffering, hardship, loneliness and loss-- a year of new beginnings, renewed strength, restored love and the ability to laugh. May God bless you and your loved ones.
Father Marc and the Espwa family
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Soccer success


Two of our teams played in the tournament yesterday and both of them won. Yah! The uniforms are rented (500 gourdes per team) but the pride and happiness on their faces are worth much more.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008


When I went to the airport on the 26th, I felt unusually weak. Had the "frissons" which means I felt cold. Having had malaria three times already, I was pretty sure that's what I had. Yup, malaria for the fourth time. Have taken the required meds and I'm starting to feel better but that first night was a real drag. Say a prayer for us old and feeble types.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our BAOBAB in Port-au-Prince

Here is our group BAOBAB dancing for the crowds last Dec. 20th in PaP. Their singing could not be recorded as Paige's batteries ran out. Darn!


Fabien was down in the dumps this morning. When I asked him why he responded that he has no clothes. The socks that do not match are not his; the shorts are well-ventilated (holes); the shoes which don't really fit him are borrowed. At least the shirt is his. He was consoled when Berthony said that he'd make sure that Fabien gets new clothes before the New Year starts. That explains the smile.

High school latrine


Now that the foundation is all dug up (remember the teens who volunteered?) our more experienced men have taken over. It's very important that this part be well done. We certainly don't want any seepage getting into the ground water. This latrine is made possible by a grant from Rotary International.
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Alfredo, Toussaint, Kenson and Enold are seen playing a game of dominoes yesterday afternoon. These four and other older residents have been busy keeping the younger ones busy these days. They've organized sports activities, debates, art competitions and help supervise the children. Fantastic job, guys.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Break time


A few of our little guys taking a break from the activities and enjoying a bottled drink, a real treat.
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Here's Ti-Polis having fun with an empty juice bottle. Probably has plans to transform it into a little truck.
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Our kitchen crew

We are very fortunate to have these ladies working for us. Most work seven days a week. A few took today off but these five stayed to prepare the meals for the children and staff. We will be scraping some money together to give them a bonus for January 1st.

Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the Incarnation be your source of consolation, joy and peace.
-from the children of Espwa, the staff and me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Pageant

Here are some before and after photos of our angels. The children prepared a Christmas Pageant as a prelude to this evening's liturgical celebration of the Nativity. It showed that they worked hard. There were no gifts this year (money is too tight) so we were free to focus on the greatest gift of all-- the birth of Our Savior.



Our Christmas celebration lasted an hour and a half. Of course, a few did not make it through the whole thing. Par for the course.
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The top photo is of our decorating committee working hard to make cut-outs which will be hung in the "chapel". The bottom is a photo of Adler who got a little too close to the gold sprinkles!

Christmas decorations

That's Kenson Jacob in the bottom photo helping to make our "aviation hangar" pretty for Christmas Mass this evening. The top photo should have a caption that reads:
LOOK BUT DO NOT TOUCH !! The manger set is a gift from the kind people of Shepherd of the Hills Parish in Eden, Wisconsin.

Two hundred families


Over two hundred people were here this morning to receive dry food, their monthly allotment. Two hundred families will have food for the next few days. It won't be turkey or ham, but they are grateful. This is the food distribution program sponsored by USAID and paid for by American taxpayers. In the name of these 200 and the 600 other families who receive food here, thank you.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008





I'll be celebrating my eleventh anniversary here in a week and by far the hardest part of my ministry is what I did today. We buried Aurel Calixte this afternoon after celebrating a Mass of the Resurrection for him. We lost Jean-Will in January, Meme in April and now Aurel. Please pray for the repose of their souls.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008





Was out and about this afternoon and had the camera with me so I took a few shots of the boys. Jackson and Yves stopped playing soccer long enough for a photo and then the gang showed up.
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Here's BAOBAB. From left: real name (stage name)
Guerson (Epidemi), Mackenson (Jason), Kens (Skinny B), Marc-Arthur (Kris), Biondy (Echoue), Evans Paul, Wilson (Best), Gilbert (June), and Nesly (Transparent).
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Another photo of the Unity is Power Concert. BAOBAB can be seen on the upper right.

Unity is Power

Above is the poster used to advertise a concert held last night in Port-au-Prince where Haitian musicians and artists celebrated their unity and support of development efforts in Haiti. We were one of the beneficiaries and our own group, BAOBAB, got to perform with the "big boys". It was a huge success. Congrats to Paige who helped make this happen and to BAOBAB for their energy, humor and hope.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

from Katie

Katie McCarthy is our volunteer webmaster, web designer, digital giving coordinator and a bunch of other things I don't comprehend. With her contacts and energy we were able to get a short television spot on cable to see if that was an avenue we should take to raise funds. Here is her recent email:

Happy Holidays to all of you!! We aired a 2 minute television spot in a national cable test, (thanks to the generosity of a kind donor). Unfortunately, due to the terrible economy, the donations for the orphanage in Haiti were few. You can see the spot on the You Tube link below…
We can no longer continue to air the spot on television, therefore I’m asking you a favor on behalf of the children in Haiti. Please help me in a grass roots effort to go “viral” and forward this video to everyone on your email list (as I did). Please post it on your webpage, facebook page, myspace page, anywhere that you’re able! It’s been a tough year for the kids in Haiti and the soft economy is making the year-end fundraising effort tougher than ever.
Thanks for helping the kids with the click of a forward button. Sorry to be so shameless. It’s for the kids.
Merry Christmas & Happy Hannukah!!

You can see the spot under LINKS on the right of this page. Thank you, Katie, I couldn't have said it better.

Rest in Peace

It is my sad duty to inform you that Aurel Calixte died last night at the General Hospital. Aurel has been sickly from day one. He lived alternately at Mother Theresa's La Charite when he was sick and with us when he was better. He suffered much in his short life and we find consolation in our belief that he is now without pain in our Father's kingdom. Please keep him in your prayers. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine upon him.

Food Depot

Our food depot is near completion. Here's a shot of the inside. We used cement stucco to smooth out all the rough spots and fill in the holes. Much easier to maintain cleanliness this way. This construction project is sponsored by CRS-USAID. They chose us for this food storage center because of our track record with them. We have been overseeing a food program for 800 local families apart from feeding our children and running a soup kitchen (cantine is what we call it here). Having a food depot on site makes a lot of sense and will be easier to manage. Imagine 200+ people arriving for their monthly allotment of food and the truck from Les Cayes doesn't arrive! It's happened and we would prefer it not happen again.

Water control


Here's a photo of our water supply control center for the central village. We had a patchwork of pipes going in all different directions so this is a huge improvement. Thanks to Peter for the concept and to Kevin for the realization.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

More from our carpenters

My head carpenter, Boss Elicnor, asked me to come by the workshop today and photograph the new dining set his crew is just finishing. He's especially proud (as he should be) of the legs of both the table and chairs. This set is for an outside client who will hopefully spread the word.

Staff team


Late this afternoon the old guard took on the youth of Espwa in a friendly match. Here are Abelard, Olivier, Dieudonne, Janvier, Brant, Tanis, Renold, Berthony, Jean-Marie, Jocelyn, Lener and Ginaud (on the ground). Younger staff members showed up to relieve them. Thank goodness! Our nurse and I were there just in case!! The match ended up in a tie so they'll be playing again but not too soon as healing takes time.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008




Here are the finished chairs. Pretty darn good-looking, don't you agree? There are four of them for the table and three, as you can see, for the counter.
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Our agriculture team putting in long back-breaking hours in planting onions.
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