Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

We lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath this morning. "Stay awake" was the message which didn't prevent a bunch of little guys from falling asleep during the service. The time of Advent is set aside to help us prepare for Christmas. My prayer for you and for us is that this time be spent wisely so that we can really celebrate the Feast of the Christ Child.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Simple solution




Problem: little people, dogs, chickens, cats and piglets always underfoot in the kitchen which is dangerous, unhealthy and frustrating for the kitchen help. Solution: there's a guy down the street who weaves reeds usually used for fishing or for rooster cages. Berthony asked him to make us reed walls and --VOILA-- no mas problema. Isn't appropriate technology grand!?
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Friday, November 28, 2008



Photo of Boss Elicnor, our master carpenter, and Ronald Nelson, our top apprentice, working on the altar for my chapel. They will be carving a cross which will fit onto the wooden square in front.
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We had a small, intimate party tonight to honor four young men who have successfully completed a demanding course in Public Health taught by Fritzner Phanor overseen by Will Perez, our Public Health Officer. They received certificates, a lab coat (gift of Doctor Blood), a small cash stipend and a huge cake decorated with green and white icing, the colors of medical institutions in Haiti. The boys- Webert, Delince, Sam and MarcKenson- worked hard to achieve this status so join me in congratulating them. Bravo, guys!!
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Writing boards



Our pre-schoolers needed some writing boards so our carpenters, once again, came to the rescue. Here is Sony painting the boards the politically correct color. Notice the abandoned wheelchair behind him? That's because our very own Yves decided to lend a hand. Here's a photo of him sanding the boards. Thanks, Yves.
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Mattress material


Here's a photo of our old military truck delivering our sponge mattresses and the waterproof covers. One of our people will sew the covers and the mattresses will be ready for the second phase of the Houses to Homes (H2H) Project. The children's neighborhood is finished and we are now working on the northern neighborhood which will be used by our older boys and workers.
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Kitchen Crew



These three ladies worked hard to make our Thanksgiving Dinner a huge success. They are Carmelle, Odette and Sonia. Dan and Linda each prepared a turkey to perfection. We had mashed potatoes, carrots, three kinds of stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, cheesecake... I think I need a (yawn) nap now.
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Thanksgiving Dinner




Like many of you we feasted yesterday. Will, our Public Health Officer, Linda, our Guest House Manager, and Dan, our Logistics person ate their full and then gave in to the turkey's effects and went to bed.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008



Luknor came to see us yesterday. He walked here from town and asked to be accepted into our program. Both parents are deceased and there's no other family to take him in. He was living at a friend's house but the friend's parents told him to leave. Luknor is 10 years old. We told him that he could join us temporarily until we could verify his situation. If his story is true (some lie to get in) he'll become part of the Espwa family. Needless to say, he was very thankful.
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Since this is Thanksgiving Day back in the states I thought it appropriate that we express our gratitude to you for your support and encouragement. Hundreds of you kind people support us by your donations of money, time, talent, energy and we are very appreciative. We pray for you, our friends and benefactors, so that God may bless you with patience and joy, health and courage, faith and peace.
Enjoy this day with your family and loved ones and know that we will be thinking of you as we sit around our table.
God bless.

Father Marc

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some are large and some not

Most of our crops cover many acres of land but this is a shot of my garden located just behind my house. Planted some tomatoes, cabbage, radishes, peppers and onions. Could not find any lettuce seeds. Darn, there's nothing like a fresh salad.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Irrigation Project



Part of our Irrigation Project funded by CRS/USAID is the digging of canals. Here are two shots of one that dissects one of our fields. This one was just completed. We should see a huge improvement in our yields as a result of these canals.
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Friday, November 21, 2008


The guys are forming music groups in order to participate in upcoming competitions. Here's one called BABTIME. The members are from left: Johnnie (Etone), Patrick (NoZero), Placide (Boundless), Fery (Surf), Dickenson (Vitamin) and Michael (Joker). Don't ask how they got their nicknames.

A day late and a dollar short

Waiting near the front entrance this morning, dressed in their Sunday best, was this lady and her little girl. She came to see the doctors. Told her that the medical team left yesterday morning but that our staff would see her. The little girl was dehydrated and had a fever. Mom was seen, too, as she was complaining of back pain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Challenge overcome

There's not much room in my combination living room/kitchenette but I wanted a dining table for the rare occasion when I have a guest or two. Saw one that I liked in the Ikea catalog and showed it to my apprentice carpenters. They had never seen one like it but were willing to try. Here's the result! I am very proud of these kids and how much they have grown.

Prayer request

I was pastor of Our Lady of Holy Hope in Castine, Maine in '89 and '90 just before I joined the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps. I became friends with Louise Biggie who was the music director, organist, cantor and church decorator. Louise has been a good friend to me and the children here in southern Haiti. She was one of the first to support my decision to come here. She's now in hospice care as her cancer continues to ravage her body despite all efforts. Please join me in praying for this very special lady and for her husband, Ed, their children and grandchildren. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 2-- Group 2

Here's the second string of the Athens Medical Group volunteers. Both worked like well-oiled machines. Some in triage, some in the lab, others in the pharmacy and the docs for consultation and surgery. Several hundred people are in their debt and we are at the top of the list.

Lucky Fery

Fery wasn't so lucky in that he broke his arm but it's a good thing the doctors were here. Here he is proud of his cast!

Athens Medical Group

Top photo is of our own Fritzner doing some lab work after receiving training from Dr. Blood. Bottom: Doctor Blood consulting with Jay on how best to see the hundreds of patients who have come for help.

Over these past two weeks we have been the recipients of the excellent care and concern of the Athens Medical Group headed by Dr. Mike Blood. The lower photo is of the group with Will Perez, our Public Health Officer (wearing a white shirt). The top photo shows the whole team-- translators, Haitian medical students and the Athens Group. Thank you very much for coming and for sharing your expertise with us.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rainy season

It's the rainy season so frequent and sudden rain showers are the norm. There was one this morning which caused the kids to run for shelter. These three found it under the nearest table. The shower didn't last so they didn't have to stay there too long.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Last week two people (adults) died in the countryside not far from us. I was told that the reason they died was that they were so weak from poor nutrition that they could not fight off infection. One had malaria and the other had a respiratory infection. Clean drinking water is hard to find. Combine that with malnutrition and we have a health disaster in the making

I was in southern Florida earlier this week for a couple of meetings. The reason for these was the drop in donations on which we depend to help the children at risk in southern Haiti. The global economic crisis touches all of us and the poor are once again facing extreme hardship. We have more people coming to us than ever before for food and financial assistance. Our limited resources force us to turn them away. The word "sacrifice" has resurfaced in the media and many are rethinking their spending habits. We pray for you every morning and ask God to protect you. I ask that you remember the children here. May God bless all our efforts.

Our second nursery

We are taking advantage of the frequent rains and sunny days and have expanded our veggie/salad garden. In this photo are onions, tomatoes, leeks, cabbage and eggplant. If this succeeds (as we hope) we should be able to make this a cash crop as the local hotels and restaurants are always looking for salad fixins.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

This is a photo of Mariella Delisca, one of the victims of the school that collapsed in Port-au-Prince. She was nineteen and a good friend of Nick Kocmich (Nico) who worked with us a couple of years ago. Nick is now in Port-au-Prince in charge of the Norwich House, a ministry of the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut. Mariella was part of the Norwich family and will be sorely missed. Our prayers are for her family, her friends and for all those who have lost loved ones in that terrible accident that we now hear has taken 82 lives. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tragedy in Port-au-Prince

A large school in the Petionville area of Port-au-Prince collapsed this morning while students were attending classes. United Nations Security personnel were working feverishly to remove the rubble and save lives. Their efforts are hampered by the area shanty towns surrounding the school and a steep ravine and the lack of any organized rescue infrastructure in country. At least thirty children are dead. Another sad tragedy for our Haitian brothers and sisters. Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I encourage you to check out Will's blog to see how he and Fritzner are faring with the Marathon Fundraiser. They have an incredible $12,000 in pledges so far. All the money raised will be used to address the medical needs of the children. Will is our Public Health Officer but is doing a heck of a lot more. Read all about it at and see for yourself what dedication and motivation can accomplish.

Jean-Claude Romario

In school late yesterday morning, Jean-Claude Romario (a day student in our First Grade) felt faint and passed out. He fell to the floor and hit his head hard. Doctor Jacob and Nurse Rose-Marthe were called to the scene. They transported little Jean-Claude, 8 years old, from the classroom and brought him to our clinic. He regained consciousness but could only mumble. He was sent to the general hospital in town where he was seen by a doctor, prescribed medication and admitted to the pediatric ward. Jean-Claude died at 4:00 AM today. Please keep him , his family, his friends and teachers in your prayers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The wind

An internet satellite dish was installed on my roof last Saturday so that I can have email and be able to update my blog. Yesterday we had a windy and rainy day (slight understatement). The wind and my satellite dish got into it and the dish lost. A technician came by this morning to revive it. You'll know he was successful if you read this post.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Musos

Modeline and Fanuel Muso getting their water from the community well in the neighboring village of Madame Combe. Friends of Peter and Linda Faford made this well possible.

The Chouloute Family

Oscar Emmanuel
Louis Woodlin
Georges and Fedlaine
Michaela Remond
Here's the Chouloute family. Mom passed away when Michaela, the baby, was seven months old. The father died shortly afterwards leaving the seven children orphaned. The grandmother lives next door but cannot be of any financial assistance. Louis Erlise is the oldest and she does the best she can to keep the family together. It is a monumental task and she needs our help. This is what your donations go to.

Jeune Beret

Meet Jeune Beret, the younger brother of one of our farm workers. He's eleven years old and both parents are deceased. He was living with an older married brother who is a tenant rice farmer. Jeune was not attending school and only eating once a day. He is now with us. Your support allows us to help children like him. God bless you.