Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lay out of the land

Rob McNeil, a civil engineer from Massachusetts, is here checking out the lay of the land and advising us on matters of water management. Thanks, Rob, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your expertise with us. Rob is seen above with Kevin as he tours the northern section of our property.

Medical visit

Jerry, Claudette, Will, Papa Dabou, TiLamp, Cynthia, Drew, Herve and Rose Marthe
Dokte Cynthia, Dokte Jerry, Herve and Dokte Drew
As you can see from the photo above, the medical team hit the gound running. The clinic was a busy place this morning. We are very grateful to Dokte Cynthia, our Medical Director, who is from Maine, to Dokte Jerry who comes all the way from Alaska and to Dokte Drew who hails from North Carolina. Herve and Claudette are also from Maine and so is Herve's son, Michael, who was not in the clinic when the photo was taken.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy news !!

We are happy to announce the arrival of Jacobin Baptiste, son of Doctor Jacob Baptiste and his wife Geralde. The baby and mother are both doing fine. I'll post a photo as soon as possible.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello Jamesly

Jamesly showed up at our gate last evening. He's 12 and was living with his handicapped grandmother who cannot help him. He desperately wants to go to school so he decided to leave St Jean and seek a family that needs a restavek. His hope was that this family would send him to school. Upon arrival in Cayes, he asked around for a family that could use him and was directed to us. Jamesly is articulate and knows what he wants. We'll process him today, verify the situation, visit his grandmother and most likely take him in. Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Douyon Duckens

Duckens was here today as well for dental problems but missed the group shot. Did not want him feeling excluded so here he is solo.

Daily occurence

Front: Fery, Bertho, Bonhomme, Placide, Berthony, Woosman
Back: Makentoche, Feguens, Dieufaite, Jean-Robert

Every day the small clinic at Castel-Pere sends some of our kids here to LaMadonne for lab work or dental care. We have to get them over to the lab or dental office. You can see why having our own lab to determine if they have malaria, typhoid, parasites... would be to everyone's advantage. We are working on getting a small dental clinic so that we can catch the cavities before extraction is the only option.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Short staff meeting

Berthony Piard meets with some of his staff: Francois (Head of Security), Nancy (Chief of Admin), Maxime (Supervisor-LaMadonne), Brant-May (Food Services Director), Jocelyn (Supervisor-Castel-Pere), Lener (Tailors Coordinator) and Assistant Director Berthony Constant.

A smile

Our Medical Clinic Manager, Rose Marthe, smiling at something she just heard. We're all excited that Dokte Cynthia will be with us very soon.
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Enel is very excited that the avocados (Creole- zaboka) are now in season.
Dabou is pounding rocks in the hardened mud. Why? Why not.
Makentoche staring out towards the main gate. Who knows what thoughts teens have? Mak is a serious student, a passionate soccer player, a member of our hip-hop dance troupe and a senior altar server. He's always first in line when there's something to be done. We are as lucky to have him with us as he is to be here.
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Tailor Shoppe

Ti-Ponyet, Waniak, Boss Nazaire, Senat and Boss Bertrand
Patrick, Claudia, Babinne and Boss Milord
If you don't seek them out, you could miss this beehive of activity as our tailors prepare the uniforms for the opening of school. They put in long hours and are exceptionally devoted. A huge BRAVO to you !!

Meeting in the library

Will Perez doing some medical training with his team: r to l-- Pierre Richard, Fritzner (master teacher), Sam, Will, Mackenson and Delince. They meet every morning and are being trained to give classes in hygiene and infections disease prevention.

Our library

This is Kens Buteau, our librarian. He keeps the place clean and in order just as Hannah taught him. Kens is a brilliant student--one of our best--, a terrific dancer, singer and soccer player. Any more well-rounded and he'd be a circle.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

For what it's worth

Some might think that all is well here if they only see the blog on occasion. There are a lot of problems here on all levels. Crisis is followed by crisis. Fuel and food costs keep climbing. There are more roadblocks than roads, it seems. But the people are hard working and always hopeful. The children are just like kids everywhere in that that they have their bad days and good ones. We can get caught up with overwhelming negatives that surround us or delight in the positive. I choose the latter. The poor are everywhere; the hungry surround us. We can hear the wailing at night. But we are here to help, to understand, to encourage. This blog serves to give you a glimpse of the beauty, talent and courage of our Haitian brothers and sisters. The mass media has another agenda. There are too many negative images of Haitians in the mainstream media and so here we are.

Food Depot

Hard to get a sense of the size of it from this photo but the food depot is a whopping 3,600 square feet. It will be the central food storage area for our food, the food that CRS-USAID provides and the dry food for the Work for Peace Program. It is funded by USAID.


These are a couple of photos of the backside of the first Technical Training School workshop. The kids and our neighbors are drawn here to meet and just hang out. I am very proud of the effort our guys put into this. Thanks, again, to the Rennwish Foundation for making this possible.


Orphelise Jean-Baptiste and Josette Louis
Bedsore on back of Josette
Both Orphelise and Josette were waiting on me upon my return from Castel-Pere. We have been helping them for years as they have no one else. Both lost all their belongings in the recent floods and Josette has developed an ugly bedsore from sleeping on the ground. We will buy them mattresses. They are beneficiaries of your generous support. Thank you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Well diggers

Kevin, Tiger, Johnny, Bertin and Janvier
Here's the old well digging rig with our team and a few spectators. The team is starting the Irrigation Project which will consist of up to 20 wells.


Linda and Peter took a breather this morning and watched the well-diggers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Mother Theresa's sisters came to see me tonight, asking that I go with them to baptize an infant at the general hospital. The child was born two weeks ago and was abandoned by the 15 year old mother when she saw how sick he was. He is hydro-cephalic and his chances of living are slight. The sisters asked me to baptize him before they took him to their home, LaCharite. He was never named so I baptized him Daniel. Please pray for this tiny little boy with a monstrously huge head.
The sisters quickly started to prepare to transport him, lifted him gently while singing softly to him. The small mattress was soaked with urine and covered with minuscule ants. Daniel's underside was raw from their bites. As the sister held him to herself I saw a hint of a smile on Daniel's face. It was probably the first time he was held by loving arms and hands. Thank you, God, for these devoted sisters who are an example for the rest of us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Joey and Toussaint

Joey Lamarre Joseph and Toussaint Morin
We are very proud of these two young men of Espwa. Joey is going into his second year at a medical university in Port-au-Prince. He was the second in his class for the year. Have had glowing reports from the university. Toussaint is entering his fourth year (five year program) in a local agronomy university. He is planning to be our agronomist and has started specializing in sustainable agriculture focusing on jatropha. While on vacation they got together and prepared a Tuberculosis Prevention Program which they're presenting to all our house-mothers, staff and older students. They'll also put the show on the road and go to Tiburon and Camp-Perrin. Thanks to Will Perez who helped them polish the presentation. These young men are a terrific example for the younger children.


Douyon (Papoute) is here with us as he was told that he needs to go to the hospital. The only thing is: no one knows why. He'll go back to Castel-Pere tomorrow and we'll try and track down what is going on. He doesn't look sick, right?
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As seen early this morning.


I took this photo of Father Marc and Frank at laCharite this morning. Frank was very happy to be with us and he cried when we left. The sisters at laCharite really do God's work.
Photo and words by Biondy

Two new ones

Wilgens Egzil and Ender Joseph
Wilgens comes from near the cemetery in town. His name has been on our list for two years. Ender comes from LaHatte, a small village way up in the mountains. Wilgens was very happy to become an Espwa child whereas Ender is still thinking about it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Painting party

A bunch of our teens painted the metalwork classroom today. "Ampil men, chay pa lou" is a Haitian proverb that means-- lots of hands make for light work.
The colors are tan with white trim, chosen by the teens. This is the first workshop/classroom for our vocational training school and it was made possible by the generosity of John Dunkle and his non-profit, the Rennwish Foundation.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Espwa family members

Matante sitting with brothers, Pierre Nery and Vanel Pierre-Louis, and six year old Jackenson. These boys have been eating with us for months now and are finally coming to live with us as their families cannot provide the basics for them.

Food Depot

The 60' x 60' food depot is progressing nicely, thank you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


And here is the new water pump for the village of Madame Combe thanks to some kind people in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Madame Combe's well

This is Pierre-Rino Macenat. He's one of our young masons at Castel-Pere. Pierre-Rino is cleaning up around the well so that we can pour some cement for the base.
A few hours later... the base is poured and is now setting. In a day or two we'll attach the India pump to the base and have ourselves an excellent, potable water station .

Elizabeth Rhau

Like her older brothers, Biondy and Duckenson, Elizabeth is an orphan. She was living with her aunt in Torbeck but the aunt could no longer send her to school or provide for her as the cost of living is just too high. Elizabeth is our newest Espwa family member and is very happy to be reunited with her siblings.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Two news items

1. The Minister of Education announced this morning that, due to the recent catastrophic hurricanes and prohibitively priced food and fuel, schools will not open as scheduled tomorrow. The new date is now October 6th.

2. Hurricane Ike passed Haiti to the north so we were spared his fury. We have rain but little wind. Join us in praying for our sisters and brothers in Gonaives who have suffered much lately. We have heard that the city was under 4 meters (over 12 feet) of water and mud. Hundreds have perished; all crops and animals were lost; hundreds of homes were completely destroyed and thousands left homeless with nothing but what they were wearing or managed to carry. God help them!

Sarafina Zamy

Five month old Sarafina was baptized yesterday. This photo was taken right after the anointing.
Proud parents, Dino and Jocelynne, holding Sarafina.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lull between storms

Schools are scheduled to open on Monday. Our plan to paint the Secondary School had to be postponed several times due to the wild weather so we attacked the project once the weather started to cooperate. Above are photos of the students doing their share to help. A donor made the purchase of paint and supplies possible. Many thanks!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Main St.

A shot of two homes right off Main Street. And this is after the water started receding.