Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aramy's Wedding

Our Nancy was the matron of honor. Wow, Nancy!
Dino and Matante right after the wedding.

Aramy's Wedding

Bride, best man and flower girl arrive for the pre-wedding reception
Flower girl. Ain't she a cutie!
Pierre Aramy and Venette Charles about to become Mr. & Mrs. Pierre.

# 1 and # 6

Due to the many arrests made during the recent manifestations, there are 320 prisoners in the local jail. It was designed for 100 but usually holds 125 to 150 prisoners. The increased population plus the bad weather and the washing out of the main road from Port-au-Prince has left them no food. We were contacted by the prison director who begged us for help. Trusting in your continued support, we gave them three large bags of rice, one large bag of beans and two gallons of vegetable oil which will provide for them through Monday. What do #1 and #6 have to do with this? Think about it and let me know your answer. Will post your correct answer and name in the near future.

Friday, August 29, 2008

After the storm

If you look closely, you can see the mother in the photo. She and her children call this place home. Imagine weathering a hurricane in this? This wasn't lakeside property before the storm.
Raging waters of the largest river in the south, la Ravine
Grandmother standing in front of her home. She says that she is grateful that God kept her house from falling down. One of her grandkids is in the doorway.

Still raining

Am heading out to do Mass for Mother Theresa's group here in town. Just had another mini-storm with wild wind and rushing rain. Many homes have been lost; tons and tons of agricultural products have been flooded; over 60 Haitians have died in these past few days. Haiti is old news now as folks focus on Jamaica and beyond. With no real safety net here and an inept government, who will help? While heading home to LaMadonne from Castel-Pere yesterday afternoon, I ran into a group of young boys. When they saw me they started yelling "grangou, grangou" which means I'm hungry. Children should not have to beg for food. As the saying goes here--
Pa bliye'n. Dont't forget us. There's a transfer of funds coming from Cross International. It should be here by Monday or Tueday. Try not eating until then to see what it's like. God bless our friends at Cross International.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Residual effects

It rained all day yesterday and it's still raining though the sky is not as dark. Rivers are overflowing as the denuded mountains cannot absorb the rain. Many smaller roads have been washed out and the main road from PaP lost a bridge and an another area disappeared under water. This is our only supply route. We are hearing of many more people going to the hospital with sick babies, that many have lost crops, than there will be fewer children going to school this academic year. Haiti did not need this at this time. Food and fuel prices have gone through the roof giving cause to the political manifestations which can so easily turn violent. Will keep you posted on developments and what is being done to help. As you all well know, prayers always help and we need 'em now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It is eerily quiet right now. The night sky is very dark and foreboding. We had some driving rain earlier but none at the moment. Do you think that Gustav is trying to lull us into a false sense of security? We've arranged for the younger children to move into the second floor of the school if and when it is warranted. Wish us well.


As the dark clouds of Hurricane Gustav approach and the wind picks up, new violence erupted just around noon in the Savanne area of Les Cayes. Gunshots were exchanged between UN forces and the locals. People started running in all directions; markets, stores and businesses immediately shut their doors. Tensions are running really high right now and I just found out that the bridge leading out of town is once more closed. Pray for all the people here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The beat goes on...

There may be manifestations outside but the work goes on at Castel-Pere. Here some of the older boys do some cleaning near the gazebo.

Ladies in waiting

Mikelange, Sandra, Francize, Widline, Asheline, Darline
Girls waiting on water. When we pump water to our cistern the pipe leading to the street does not work so the girls (most often girls) need patience. Amazingly, they always have something to talk about.

So good

Scene from La Madonne looking west. Smoke is from the burning tires.
One of the crossroads secured by the UN (see the vehicle at right)
Bridge was cleared of protesters so we were able to walk across
Decided to walk to Castel-Pere as vehicles were prohibited on the roads and we could not find a moto-taxi willing to bring us. We hit the trouble spots just after UN people had secured them so we were fine. Found out I'm not as young as I thought. Gonna be sore for a while!


The bridge leading out of town (to Castel-Pere) is blocked by burning tires and a large crowd; hundreds of people (some waving machetes) are gathered at all major crossroads and we can hear a loud rally of protesters in the distance. So far there's been no violence so let's pray it stays this way.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gift from Rotarians

One of several soccer balls brought to us by Rev. Andy Topp, a long-time member of the Ridgewood A.M. Rotary Club in New Jersey. Rev. Topp is with us for a week and will be keeping busy with a variety of projects.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Must be Saturday morning

One of our traditions is hair-cutting on Saturday morning. The above shots are of Rico Felix cutting the hair off another child's head with a razor blade. The hair gets washed and well lathered and it comes off quite easily (not always painlessly!). Shaving heads is one way of keeping parasites like ringworm at bay.


The walls of the food depot go up.
Berthony Piard, Proje Espwa Director, with Judenor Alexis, supervisor of construction
Workers leveling the filler within the food depot
It is always impressive to see how fast the walls go up once the foundation is done.

Friday, August 22, 2008


The hydraulic hose has finally arrived. Here's Scoobie holding the darn thing. Now we can get on with the well-digging for our neighbors. And, yes, we got an extra one just in case.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The joys of youth

I was just about to sit down for a quiet bowl of cereal when my dining area was invaded by 21 of my teens. They left Castel-Pere on foot (an hour's walk), played in the local soccer tournament, won the match and came to celebrate at my place where they ate all my cereal and bread and peanut butter and drank all my milk. They deserved more. Congratulations, guys! They'll be playing in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Food Depot progress

A couple of the ladies taking a break from delivering water to the workers
Hand filling the foundation
Putting up the forms for the footings
It is August and the sun is unmercifully hot. The photos don't quite capture this. The work is hard but progress is being made. I was with them this morning and was drenched with sweat in fifteen minutes time. And I wasn't hauling water or sand or rocks!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Castine, Maine

Back in '89-'90 I was pastor of a small church in Castine, Maine. The kind folks there have been following my adventures ever since I left them to become a chaplain in the Navy and then on to my mission here. They have been faithfully supporting us and this past weekend held a Parish Fair which was very successful. Pwoje Espwa was the beneficiary and we are all very grateful to the generous people who helped make it a fun-filled success. May God bless you abundantly for remembering the children of Haiti.

Junior carpenters

Chairs for the pre-schoolers
The senior carpenters are all on vacation but the work continues. Above are a few of the apprentice carpenters hard at work filling orders.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yeah !!

Dan and Paige with friends.
Paige coordinated the Summer English Program and did a bang-up job. We had a small ceremony yesterday and gave out certificates. Bravo to all the participants!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Down Side

1. We have had no electricity from EdH for five full days. Our generator was fixed two days ago so we at least have that.
2. Conversations today are all about the losses suffered in the agricultural area due to the high winds and rains of TS Fay. We lost half our banana plantation because their root systems are so superficial.
3. Friday, the Feast of the Assumption, was also the occasion for the annual Gelee Beach Festival. The weather had a huge negative impact as many planned activities had to be canceled and profits were not made as anticipated.
4. Our well-digging rig is on the fritz. A hydraulic hose burst and we have not been able to repair it. Sent someone to PaP to buy a new one but the store was closed due to the long weekend. With any luck we'll get the essential hose tomorrow and continue digging the well for our neighbors.
4. The price of rice has gone up again. A small bag of rice now costs $310 (Haitian), up $60 from two weeks ago.
5. Rumors are flying that people will be taking to the streets to show their frustration at the price increases and the government's inability (willingness) to address the issue. Let's hope that the rumors are false.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

TS Fay

According to the Underground Weather Report-- Tropical Storm Fay is beyond us. We are drenched and the winds are still pretty strong. Have not heard of any damage which is very good news.

Clothing distribution-Part One

The above photo is of Jocelyn, our older boys' monitor, standing behind a stack of jeans our own tailors made. They and the shirts in the lower photo were distributed to the boys earlier this morning. The younger children will get their trousers, shirts, and underwear in a day or two.

Mackenson Dabouse

Mackenson had a boil on his left cheek yesterday. He woke up this morning looking like this! Yikes !!

TS Fay

Tropical Storm Fay is over Haiti today and has already started to show her true colors. Lots of rain, wind and noise. Please say a prayer that there is no flooding like has happened before. Thanks.

Progress Report

Work on the new food depot is coming along as planned. The building is 60' x 60' and will exclusively be used for food storage. About 50 locals and a team of 12 of my masons are employed in this project made possible by a grant from USAID.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Was invited to celebrate Eucharist and baptize three youngters at LaCharite (Mother Theresa's place) yesterday. Linda, Frank and Nelson were all good sports about the whole thing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bon Voyage

Elliot, Raphael, Lee, Alex, James and Patrick
"Bon Voyage" is what the children wrote in colored chalk on the cobblestone path outside the Guest House yesterday as our visitors prepared to leave after spending a week full of work and play. They worked on a veggie garden, played sports, frisbee and spent quality time with the kids. The photo above captures the sentiment that they will be missed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

CRS training

The folks from CRS have been really present these last couple of days. Two reps from CRS spent all morning yesterday and this morning doing some training on the rights and responsibilities of children. There was good attendance and lots of positive feedback. Good going, CRS.

Food for Peace Program

Here are a few of the local ladies working on the food depot.
Here's a long shot of the construction field for the new food depot we are building thanks to a grant from USAID. The skilled workers will be paid and the laborers will receive food for their efforts. This is a great USAID program managed by CRS. We figure that 60 people will receive enough food as a result of this project to feed everyone in their families.

Well diggers

Three of the five member team: Johnny, Ebel and Tiger
We started digging a well for our neighbors in Madame Combe. The well is a gift from some kind folks in Worcester, MA and will be the principal source of potable water for over 200 families.

Water tank

It took a little over an hour to fill the water tank which we will use in digging a clean well for our neighbors.

Foot race champs

Jakson, Djimy and John
These three were the winners of the footraces that were held last week under the supervision of Nicole. It was a lot of fun. Medals were provided by Rev. Neil Dunnavant of the First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, NC.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Notice the colorful necklace TiJean is wearing? He made it from the wasted balloons from the water balloon fight on Friday. Pretty creative, non?

New friends

From left: Nicole, Donna, Paige, Dee, Dino, Rob, Widmy, Jack and Arnie.
Our new friends and Dee will be leaving us tomorrow. It was a pleasure to have them here and they will be missed. Come back soon. Donna and her daughter, Nicole, are from CA. Rob and his son, Jack, are from Maine. Arnie is from Washington. Pretty good representation of the states don't you think?

Feeding the thousands

Today's gospel recalls the miracle of feeding the thousands. The disciples were concerned that the people needed to eat and Jesus asked them to share what they had-- two fish and five loaves. In themselves, the loaves and fish were inadequate much like our talent and resources in the face of life's challenges. But when we are grounded in the Lord and trust Him our meager offerings are transformed and can meet the challenge. Look at what we have been able to accomplish by trusting in God and working together. Over 2,500 children are being educated in southern Haiti, 3,000 meals are prepared daily for hungry children, caring homes are provided for 650 vulnerable children, pro-active medical care is available to all our children and neighbors...this is nothing short of a miracle because we put our faith in God. We are very grateful to you, our benefactors, for supporting our efforts. May God bless you abundantly!

Coming and going

The day I returned from my trip to the states, Hannah and Mark (both of North Carolina) departed to go home. They were with us for a good chunk of the summer and quickly put themselves to work. Here's a photo of Hannah teaching English creatively. Hannah put together our first library and trained one of our older, stellar boys to maintain it. Mark got a team of youngsters to help him with painting the children's homes which look 1,000% better. We are in their debt and want them to know how much we appreciate their sharing of themselves with us. God bless you both.