Saturday, May 31, 2008


Here is Lila. She comes to Castel-Pere three times a day to eat cause her family is dirt poor. Gotta get her into the school next year.


Deraye, Peter and Rico posing for the camera this afternoon. Peter came in yesterday. He has construction work experience and is proving invaluable.


John and Romadin hanging out in their school uniforms. John's mother died a couple of months ago but he is coping well. Mothers' Day was celebrated last week and that was tough for all those who are orphans. For many of the children here, like John, Espwa has become their family. We are far more than a school or an institutional residence, we are family.

Picnic, anyone?

Will and Peter on the way back from one of the containers. The cooler is holding samples of "stuff" we have that needs to be sorted, used or distributed. It will be a long and dirty job that will take a while. Life for volunteers and staff is far from glamorous. We have our moments of joy but there are lengthy times of just plain old drudgery. Come to think of it-- isn't that life?


All the boys have chores here at Castel-Pere. Cleaning out the laundry trap is Faubert. It's a messy job but someone's gotta do it. Not only is he a good worker, he doesn't grumble when asked to do something like this.

1 Potato, 2 Potato, 3 Potato, 4

These gorgeous sweet potatoes come traight from our farm
It takes a lot of hands to prepare them before they end up on the children's plates. Our kitchen staff is fantastically devoted and they put in very long hours. Wish we could them a raise.


Jim Luttrell is with us for several weeks. He was instrumental in getting us the well-digging rig shown above. He's already gotten it working and is now doing some training so that a team of our older boys can dig proper wells and become independent in the process. The first well is situated in the children's southern neighborhood. God bless you, Jim.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Our Dokte Cynthia and Wil at the prison back in January
W2W? Welcome to Will, of course. We are very happy to have Will join us for a year as a volunteer. He'll be working on a health project that could benefit all Haitians, not just us. Check out WILL'S BLOG under the Links section on the right to keep up with him and his work. Great to have you with us, Will.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Two hour liturgies are a real challenge for a tyke like TiMarc to remain quiet and passive. As you can see in the above photo, he's reached the end of his rope. The whining started just after the photo was taken but then the program was over and he went merrily on his way.

Corpus Christi

Chello receiving a certificate and a Bible.
Receiving Eucharist from me with Deacon Peter in background.
Twenty-three boys and girls celebrated Corpus Christi by receiving their First Holy Communion. The liturgy lasted two hours and included singing, dancing, distribution of Bibles and certificates and a dedication ceremony. Today is also Mother's day here so we had a couple of special songs and prayers for all our mothers.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday nite

Where does the time go? Seems like Dokte Cynthia just got here and she's leaving already. Here she is with a few fans. Always good to see you, Cynthia, and have you with us. Thanks very much for being you (and for the Imitrex).
Forever networking!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Gracius Twins

Though the times are really tough right now with ever-increasing food and fuel prices and we should not be considering taking in any new children, these twins will be the most recent to join the Espwa family. Accompanied by their pastor and a nurse, the boys were here this morning hoping against hope to find a safe place: a place where they can eat every day, a place where they might go to school. Well, they found it. Falos and Fanes are ten years old.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Houses to Homes (H2H) Project

M. StPreux, our in-house cobbler, is working on covering the mattresses. They will last a lot longer this way.
Our carpenters preparing the wood for the H2H closets.
Our tailors preparing the curtains, tablecloths and bed-covers.
Thanks to a grant from Cross International-Catholic Outreach the children's homes will be made over. They'll be painted inside and out, get curtains and linens, tables and chairs; beds and mattresses will be fabricated and the children will finally get closets. The homes will be downright spiffy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dan's 25th Birthday Celebration

JaRoro, Dino, Herold (seated), Fritzner, Dan, Tiger, Scoobie, Frankel, Peter
Paige expressing her sadness at missing out on the group photo.
Matante, Dan and Carol
MarkKenson and Biondy drinking Sprite to Dan's health.
Happy Birthday, Dan. We wish you much joy, peace and health!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Welcome to Linda and Peter

Peter and Linda Faford of Worcester, MA have just joined the team down here. Peter is a deacon and an electrical engineer. He'll be the point of contact for all construction projects-- a huge help. Linda has agreed to manage the guest house and will be doing outreach, too. Please join me in giving them a hearty welcome.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stairway to heaven?

Are these photos cool or what? That's Ronald sitting just before he drilled the holes (by hand--see the drill on the floor?) for the bolts that attach the wood to the steel and make a staircase. When I asked the carpenters and welders to make this the reaction was "What are you talking about?" but they are all pleased with the results.

Banana leaf plate

When we have electricity and the internet is up and I have time, I like to surf the web and check sites and blogs which deal with ecology and sustainability. You can find some pretty cool ideas that way and you can also see some folks' efforts to cash in on the treehugging movement. Restore, recycle, reuse are the mantras. This morning one of the guys went off to get breakfast (cornmeal) and brought some back for his friends but all he had was his little bucket. No problemo! The guys went out back for about 30 seconds and came back in with banana leaves which were a perfect compliment to the color and texture of the corn gruel. Perfectly ecological plates with zero carbon footprint! Waddaya say?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wow !!

Look at this vibrant, energetic painting by Choupie (pronounced Shoopee), one of our teens in the Arts and Crafts gang. There's lots of paintings floating around but most are copies. This is an original. I really like the colors and the musical theme- drums, guitars and singer. Way to go, Choupie!

Birthday wish

Last week we celebrated my birthday. One of the boys wrote me a note. Here it is without corrections or editing:

Dear Father Marc,
You did not leave your country to come enjoy Haiti but, you came because you have a mission to help the children in the streets. Orphans like me. Today is your birthday but, I have nothing to give you, and I hope that I'll make your heart happy in everything I have to do.
I hope that God always will bless you in all your life and Happy Birthday, Father Marc!!!
Your son, B.E.

Needless to say, this was one of the best things of the day and look how well he's doing in English.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Soup kitchen

These are a few of the boys who come to eat at LaMadonne every day. Two of those above go to school. The others spend their days on the streets or are domestic servants.

Thank you

We received 18 bags of rice and several large cans of string beans from Food For The Poor yesterday. We are very grateful for the timely help.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Say hello to Jeff. He's one of the resident clowns at Castel-Pere. You can count on him to bring a smile to your face even when you don't want to. He must have seen a pirate lately.

Our friend, Yves

Yves is a neighbor though he's always at Castel-Pere. The only thing he does not do with us is sleep. Saw him this morning and noticed the front wheel of his wheelchair needs work. We'll try to fix it, replace it or ask around for another wheel. There are no paved roads in our area so the wheelchair gets a real workout. Know any wheelchair makers who need a testing ground?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

John Dunkle

In what can only be explained as the working of the Holy Spirit, John Dunkle came into our lives. He is an enthusiastic, caring and successful business man who has decided to turn his energies and creativity into helping those less fortunate. John has accepted the challenge and responsibility of raising the necessary funds for a vocational training school. Click on the Technical Training Center link on the right to see what he's up to. In the name of all the kids and young people here at Pwoje Espwa, I thank you John and Jennifer.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Here's a photo of Vanel, one of our soup kitchen kids, waiting for the meal to be ready.


I took this photo of Rony cause he asked me to. He'll get a hoot at seeing himself on the big WWW.

Pedgine Joseph

Pedgine and I in my quarters.
Proud parents: Frankel and Marie-Lucie
Pedgine, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Happy godparents: Paige and Serge

School liturgy

Pre-schoolers to secondary school students gathered together to celebrate the schools' anniversary. The pre-schoolers are above.
Choir and drums enhanced the celebration immeasurably.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Three of the boys eating their supper, corn meal with leaves. It is not much but they are glad to have it. So many others do not get to eat every day. The financial situation here in southern Haiti has not improved and folks fear another cycle of manifestations unless something gives. Let's pray that violence can be avoided.


Martin securing the front metal door. It is unfortunate but true that we need to be careful especially in these desperate times. I don't think OSHA would approve of the blue barrel but one works with what one has here.

The house kitchen

Martin and Maxo fabricating the kitchen island.
The 'after' photo of the island. Pretty neat, eh?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Haiti Verte '08

Photo of our booth at Haiti Verte. You can see the Arts & Crafts, the plantains, onions, watermelon and the garments from our tailors. All for sale and drawing a really good sized crowd.
A nice shot of the grounds taken by MarcKenson Miliste.

Ecological charcoal

The small machine above makes these round brickettes (charcoal) from vegetable waste. Charcoal is usually made from wood [ten pounds of wood to make a pound of charcoal] and is the most used cooking fuel. As a result, Haiti is almost completely deforested. We will be starting to make our own charcoal brickettes as we have much vegetable waste on the farm, it is cheaper and keeps us from contributing to the deforestation problem.

Prison duds

Hyppolite, Serge and Nancy
The tailor program for the local prisoners is doing well. These are some of their creations. Those that don't fit the children of Espwa will be sold. The money made will go back into the program. Cross International-Catholic Outreach support allows us to do this for our incarcerated brothers.