Friday, June 27, 2008

Bad news

Haiti halts gasoline subsidy; prices soar

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Cuts in Haitian gasoline subsidies pushed the price of fuel to $6.14 a gallon on Thursday, further burdening an impoverished people as the government redirected money to other programs.

The 80-cents-per-gallon increase was felt immediately in the struggling country where 80 percent of people live on less than $2 a day.

This above article was all the radio talk shows talked about yesterday. Opinions and nasty remarks were plentiful and usually aimed at President Preval or his government or the upper-class. The news is bad. It is bad for us just as it is for the majority of Haitians. It means higher food prices, higher prices for construction material, higher costs for transportation and generator use. We have cut back and will have to continue cutting back. Please keep us and the poor in your prayers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hannah and friends

Hannah Winkler is surrounded by her new friends as she starts her two months with us. Hannah will be putting our library together and teaching and playing and nurturing...

The books finally arrive.

Mark Brodie helps the kids transfer boxes of books to their new home. Mark is volunteering for two months this summer.
A group (TAQUISWA) of friends from Belgium heard about a book program so they inquired and discovered that thousands of new books of all kinds were available for poor countries. Taquiswa took care of the paperwork and fees and the books were on their way here. Unfortunately, they spent nine months on the docks in Port-au-Prince (let's not go there) but they are here now.

Dan's Dad

Dan Whitley's Dad, Pastor Whitley, is with us for a few days. He's been keeping himself busy especially with painting the children's homes and preaching in a small, local church. Thank you, Dan, for sharing your time with us.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer school

Summer session students of the English Program
Biondy and Nesly, secondary students themselves, teaching introductory English to fellow students. It's a real joy to see the kids working together to learn English.
John (Jameson) Surling, one of our young adults teaching intermediate English.

Technical Training Center

Pouring the roof requires a massive effort and a lot of bodies.


This is the agronomist who gave us some training on how to make charcoal using vegetable waste instead of precious wood. He trained four teams of four teens (say that fast!) so we will always have charcoal. We'll save on propane which is super expensive and we won't need to buy the charcoal that comes from cutting down trees which Haiti can no longer afford to do.


All this is corn cobs after we've stripped them of kernels. Even the pigs turn their snouts up when offered this stuff. We will transform this vegetable waste into charcoal.

Barrel oven

The barrel is partially filled with layers of corn cob and vertiver roots and then set on fire.

Barrel covered

This keeps the air from getting to the material inside and allows it to smolder and form charcoal.

Final Product

Our very own charcoal briquettes

Friday, June 20, 2008

Voila !

This is JaRoro holding a briquette of charcoal we made this morning from our own vegetable waste. We use the stalks of corn along with vertiver and end up with this which lasts longer than regular charcoal. It is economical and ecological as we don't contribute to the huge problem of deforestation here. JaRoro was the project leader for this and did and excellent job. The idea is based on Doctor Amy Smith's (MIT) D-Lab work. We now have a team of 16 working on making these briquettes and freeing us from super-expensive propane and regular charcoal.

Before & After

Wanki before
with Matante
with new clothes and a smile !
Some good friends came to visit yesterday and brought some clothing for the children. Wanki, known as Snoopy Dawg here, was one who benefited. He and we are grateful.

Technical Training Center Roof

I mentioned in an earlier post that the delay for the pouring of the roof was due to setting up the rebar (reinforcing bars) that is absolutely essential for a solid roof. Bigger job than I was aware and here are the photos to prove it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jean Robert Cadet

Dan receiving two copies of Mr. Cadet's book for our library.
Jean Robert Cadet poses with three of our boys: Woy, Ronaldo, and Blondel
Jean Robert Cadet, author of RESTAVEK, came for a visit this afternoon. His book brought the issue of child servitude and abuse in Haiti to the public's attention. RESTAVEK should be required reading for anyone interested in the well-being of Haitian children. Mr. Cadet said that he wished there had been a place like this when he was young and in need. A HUGE compliment when you consider his story.

Ready to pour

Here's the first workshop/classroom for the Technical Training Center almost ready for the cement to be poured for the roof. Took longer than expected for the rebar to be put in place. Pouring will take place on Monday. That's Pierre Louis in the foreground.


Every morning before breakfast we have training sessions for our little people. We cover various topics like personal hygiene, appropriate behavior, responsibility... Above is Maitre Aramie talking about respect for authority. It's not as dry as it sounds. The children sing, dance, do exercises and manage to have fun.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New sandals for Bebe

Spiffy sandals, non?
Bebe sitting and sporting his spiffy, new sandals made by TiSen, one of the Arts and Crafts boys.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Technical Training Center

Above is the open part of the workshop where the students will work outdoors. Can't beat the breezes here.
Long shot of the first classroom/workshop.


Woodlin and Bebe
Woodlin and Bebe were out for a walk this morning. There's a tinge of sadness in the air as many of the children are going home to grandmothers or aunts (extended family) but many more cannot. These two will be with us for the summer - we'll keep them busy and distracted.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lukson Dimanche finally gets his day

Lukson Dimanche underwent cataract surgery yesterday. Here he is less then 24 hours later. He complained of pain so we know he's all right. The docs gave him a local anesthetic cause they feared his heart could not take going under general anesthesia. The nurse told me that Dimanche has 'air in his heart'. Whatever, he's doing well.

Jim and friends

Took this photo yesterday just before Jim left us for Port-au-Prince. He was scheduled to fly out today so we wish Jim safe travels. Jim is sandwiched in between Johnny and Wilkens. Will snuck in there, too.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Swell well diggers

Scoobie, Wilkens, Johnny and Guito. Behind Wilkens is Janvier and behind him is Jim. Jim will be leaving us tomorrow and we will miss him. Thank you, Jim, for your time, experience and especially your patience with us.

Metalwork Shop-Classroom

The first unit of our Technical Training Center is coming along nicely. Posts and support beams should be done by this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Certificate Class

All sixth graders in the country have to pass a national exam if they want to continue on to secondary school. Our previous classes have fared very well. The students above gathered in the chapel this morning just before getting on the bus to head out for the exam. Three days of exams will prove exhausting. We wish them success!!

Ready and raring

Most of the certificate students were ready in plenty of time. Here they are waiting on Jackson, the busdriver.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


As you know from my previous posts, we receive many requests every day for assistance. Mothers need money for food or medicine; children come asking for clothing, food, help for school expenses; fathers come looking for work. We often cannot help as our budget is stretched to the limit. This week I was asked to help two amputees. One is a graduate of ours who was working in Port-au-Prince making and installing tiles. He was hit by a car and had his leg amputated above the knee. He owes the hospital, the surgeon and cannot get therapy unless we help him. The other is a young woman who had both legs amputated (I think she is diabetic though she claims that her legs were cursed) and she needs more surgery as they are not healing well. Life is tough enough down here and to have to deal with the loss of mobility is over the top. We will help them and trust that God will provide by inspiring someone to make a designated donation for them. I did not take their photos as it just seems inappropriate and lacking in dignity. When a donor steps up to the plate and would like a photo, I'll comply. Please pray for Emmanuel and Marielinn.

Metalwork Shop

Here's where we're at with the first classroom/workshop of the Technical Training Center. The floor is now completely poured and curing as I write this. Work on the posts will continue early this week and we'll be preparing the forms and rebar to pour the roof. Hope to do this by Friday but the weather may have other plans for us.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Final breakfast

Cooper, Neil (both from Greensboro) and Pat (Ridgewood, NJ)
Jack and Doug having their last meal in town before their 7:00 A.M. departure. Great having you here. We wish you safe travels.


The children receive fresh-baked bread from Matante.
Anticipating the warm, melt-in-your-mouth bread!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Greetings, tykes

Peter welcoming the neighboring children as they arrive to attend our preschool.

Bright smile

Every day when I come across Yves he greets me with his famous smile. He has every reason in the world not to. He is an inspiration and proves that love is most often a small act or gesture that dignifies another.

Tractor Repairs

Sulouk, Johnny, Andy (sitting), Peter and William
Some important maintenance work was done to the tractor when we discovered a leaking hydraulic hose. Andy Topp is seen here (not his best side) trying his best to fix it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Number 1

That's Junior in the white ball cap who is the work-site supervisor. He is speaking with Berthony and me about the details of the first vocational training center workshop/classroom. I'll keep you all posted on the progress. The Rennwish Foundation is our partner in this noble enterprise. Click on Technical Training Center under links for more info.

Jim Luttrell

Jim is hardly recognizable in this photo taken yesterday morning before church. He is usually covered in mud. Jim, from Michigan, is busy training a team of our older boys in the well-digging business. Some people retire and sit by the fireplace or buy a Winnebago and tour the states but not our Jim. He's down here working up a huge sweat and giving our young guys the gifts of experience, knowledge and compassion. Thank you, Jim.