Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ecumenical visit

We were visited this past week by Bishop Chilton, recently retired from the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. She's a good friend of Doctor Cynthia, our Medical Director, and wanted to see for herself what we are all about. She is now our friend. Come back anytime, Bishop.


The internet has been incredibly slow these past few days. I can't post any photos. Bear with me as I have to bear with the Internet. Thanks.


Mami LaMerci was one of our best housemothers and was with us almost five years. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year and passed this week. The kids who were in her care all those years are really saddened and shocked by this so keep them in your prayers.
LaChance St.Preux was one of our workers. He was a cobbler by trade, sewed our mattresses for us, and did all sorts of odd jobs. He died earlier this week as well. He leaves his brother, his wife, their three children and his wife's sister. Nineteen year old Marcnel is now the provider for this family. He's an apprentice mason with us. Join us in praying for LaMerci and LaChance. May they rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Food Distribution Center

Here's a long shot of the Food Distribution Center with yours truly. The doors ARE forest green as hoped for. All the folks who worked on this building are very proud as they should be. Thanks to USAID and CRS for this opportunity.


All the folks who had a hand in the construction of the food distribution center were invited yesterday to a little feast. Not everyone could make it but the majority who did had a great time. Photos of the group and the food lined up on the counter.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Latest news

Edy was transported to Port-au-Prince via TortugAir this afternoon. Fritzner accompanied him. They went directly to the best hospital in town. He will get a CT scan and an EEG tomorrow to try an establish the cause of his seizures. I spoke with his doctor and so did Doc. Mutty. The doctor's name is Albert Archange. His name in English is Archangel so we take this as a good sign and that he's in good hands. Keep praying, please.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A promise kept

A month and a half ago I announced the birth of a healthy baby boy to Berthony and Camille Piard. I promised you a photo and here it is. Above is Berthony, Jr who slept through Mass this morning.

Saturday Evening

The Doctors Mutty were kept busy all day, every day and often into the night. Here they are with Inel Pluviose who banged up his toe real bad. All in a day's work! We appreciate Danielle and Larry's dedication and willingness to respond to the many crises that come up. We're gonna miss them when they leave :(

Prayers, please.

On the 17th, little Edy fell and hit his head. He was brought to our clinic where he was seen by the Drs. Mutty. He was put on a raised bed to rest, yelled out and went into a Grand Mal seizure. He ended up on the floor. We brought him to the General Hospital and he stayed overnight for observation. The sisters over at LaCharite gave us some medicine for him and we took him home. Last evening around 7 PM he had another seizure and this one was worse. He remained unconscious for about two hours so we brought him to CiteMed, a private hospital in town. He is there now. The doctor said that we cannot determine the cause of his seizures here in Les Cayes as we simply don't have the resources. We'll take him to Port-au-Prince as soon as we can. Please pray for Edy.
If you look at the Kanaval post of the school children gathered in front of the stage, Edy is the one up front wearing a white shirt with cut-off sleeves and he's got a hand on his back.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ferro-cement roof

Moving right along. The guys finished the rebar infrastructure and mesh work and the sun was shining so they went ahead and put cement on the porch roof. We are now letting it cure and keeping it under wraps, wet burlap bags. Unveiling will be in a few days.

Kanaval '09

Today is the last day of school before Mardi Gras and Kanaval, the celebrations preceding Ash Wednesday and Lent. The school children celebrated with loud music (says something about my age), costumes, fun and games. One of the groups who performed for the kids was EasyCross, photo above. Dabou, broken arm, was less than enthusiastic when I saw him but he warmed up to the party as time went on. The bottom photo is taken from the stage we set up. A good time was had by all !

Berthony Constant was there, ever vigilant. Here you see his cast which is the result of playing soccer. James went with a minimal costume: over-sized sunglasses a la Hollywood and a fake earring.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Food Distribution Center

It's not the color we were expecting-- a bit too French's mustard --but the majority of the folks down here like it. The doors will be painted a forest green (well, we think it will be forest green). Check back in the next few days to see the done deal on the depot.

Ferro-cement roof

First you do the framing. Then you attach rebar at regular intervals. Cover with two sizes of mesh. That's Verrouce above working on the mesh. if the weather is good tomorrow we'll be putting cement on this and VOILA we'll have a new ferro-cement roof.


Here's Thony sandwiched by MaTante on the left and his grandmother on the right. Thony's father is deceased and his mother abandoned him to her mother a few years ago. Grandma can no longer care for him and so brought him to us this morning. We'll check out the situation and he'll likely join the Espwa family. The grandmother said she was actively looking to put him in domestic servitude (restavek) until a neighbor told her about us.

Bye, bye thatch

As you might recall from earlier photos, there was a thatched roof over the back porch to my house. It was the cheapest way to go, was attractive in an indigenous way and kept the sun and rain off the porch. It was TOO attractive to a myriad of tiny, little termites and other insects and spiders. It had to go :( and will be replaced by a ferro-cement roof. Here you see Rousseau and Robenson (on top) and Verrouce preparing the infrastructure. We've never done this type of work so it'll be interesting to see the results. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This is Michael (pronounced Mikael) all dressed up for church on Sunday morning. Have no idea where he found this outfit but he looks good and feels good in it. We provide the children-- when we can-- the basics like shirts, trousers, underwear, shoes... It costs $75 (that's US dollars) to fully dress a child and we have 600 of 'em.

Fresh coat

Wow, what a difference a coat of paint can make! This is the first coat on the food distribution center and I like it. Peter thinks it looks like a huge marshmallow but the next coat with be a beige color with white trim. Graham cracker and marshmallow sandwich?

Annual check up

The doctors Mutty are back for their annual medical mission. Danielle and Larry Mutty are seen here consulting with Dr. Jacob Baptiste. This little boy, accompanied by his father, has a chronic dental problem. Gotta get some dentists down here! The Mutty's always bring along some family. This year they brought Larry, Jr and his daughter, Alexandra. It's always a pleasure to have them with us and to catch up on what is happening in Castine, Maine where they now live and where I used to be pastor in a previous life.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Duckens takes care of the horses here. He makes sure they get water, exercise and enough food. He loves his job. Anyone have any extra saddles and such?

Here's Robenson doing some recycling. He's stripping an old metal chair. Once he's done it will go to the carpenters and get a new back and frame for the seat. Then it'll get a new paint job. There's a local guy who canes so he'll do that to the seat. At the end, we'll have another solid chair that will look great.

Arts and Crafts

Here's the first group of apprentice artisans along with Kelly, their teacher. The boys are: Pierre-Michel, Bertho and Jean-Bertho. Gotta have a lot of programs going when there are that many kids. Wish them luck.

Friday, February 13, 2009


This is Sonsonn. He spent a great deal of time outside of G&B's and Star Market wiping down cars and offering to help the customers. Unlike other street kids, Sonsonn would go home at night and give his mother the tips he made during the day so that she could buy food for his three brothers and two sisters. We offered him a place with us months ago but he refused as he felt he was letting down the family. When his mother found this out she convinced him to join us at Espwa Village. Sonsonn is 12 years old.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CRS visit

We were visited yesterday afternoon by supporters of Catholic Relief Services. They come from the mid-Atlantic region so were probably appreciative of the weather. They enjoyed the children's dance routine (above) and the opportunity to see how CRS collaborates with its partners to help the poor in Haiti/

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Linda Faford comforting little Inder Joseph whose rubber ball was misappropriated


Date: February 11, 2009
From: Executive Committee Pwoje Espwa
To: Personnel Director and Volunteer Director of Pwoje Espwa
Subject: Phrase to insert in all new contracts

The Executive Committee of Pwoje Espwa has determined that all new contracts with employees and volunteers will include the phrase "be available to nurture and/or attend to the hurts of our children" in the section that describes employee and/or volunteer responsibilities.

Thank you for your compliance.

F.M. for the Committee

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Patrice was brought to us last Sunday. His mother died two weeks ago and Sister Gloria (from Colombia) made arrangements for his younger brother and sister to live with foster families but could not find a home for Patrice. She finally called the Oblate Provincial who called us and asked if we could take him in. Patrice is bright and out-going. He was first in his class at school in PaP and looks forward to school with us. He is very worried about his younger sister and brother; we'll try and track them down so they can at least communicate. Pray for these children.

Matante and Ronaldo

Ronaldo came to us today from Port-au-Prince. He was found on the streets of PaP by MINUSTAH (United Nations people) and brought to a seminary. The people there asked around and no orphanage would accept him because of his age. He's fourteen. In desperation they called us and we said yes so they drove from the city today and dropped him off. He's from up north. His father left for the Dominican Republic to work and never returned. The mother could not provide for her family and sent Ronaldo to a relative in PaP. They never connected and so Ronaldo was walking the streets, begging for food, sleeping under bridges and doorways. We will attempt to find his mother but he is with us now and does not have to worry about eating or sleeping safely.


Last week Raymond found a paralyzed four year old boy living with his single mother in a shack not too far away. The mother had to leave him for hours at a time so that she could work in the fields to earn a living. We brought the boy to LaCharite (with the mother's permission) where he will get some therapy and be evaluated. The very next day the sisters brought me Daniel who had snuck into their place in town. They discovered him sleeping in an empty room. Daniel is an orphan and was living on the streets. They told me he was an honest boy who desperately wanted to attend school so he's now with us. Welcome, Daniel.


Here's a shot of Odette in the Guest House. She is constantly cleaning and is a joy to have around. She's more family than employee and we are lucky to have her with us.

Some say tomato...

Above is a photo of Sonya, our Guest House cook, preparing tomato sauce from scratch. The tomatoes come from my little garden but there are too many at once so we thought we'd make some sauce and maybe some ketchup, too.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Enfants de Coeur

We celebrated the anniversary of the altar servers yesterday. From left: Patrick, Placide, Berthony, Dedelay, Janelle, John and Marc-Kenson. This is a staged photo, obviously. If it were church time, there would be kids all over the place.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Michael, Placide and John are trying to keep warm during the cold snap we are experiencing. This photo was taken right after daily Mass on Friday. Temperatures were in the lower 70's and high 60's. Brrrrr!! I can imagine a few of you wouldn't mind changing places with us right now.
Internet access has been frustrating. It takes up to 12 minutes to download an email message and forget about surfing the web. Grrrrr!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reflections in the Round

One of the new programs we have going on is this reflection seminar which is all about sharing experiences. A new concept down here and we are indebted to Dan Whitley for bringing it to us. Dan left us today for PaP and other parts of Haiti. Dan spent three years with us as Visitor/Volunteer Coordinator. He will be pursuing a degree in medicine and we wish him well. Nou pap janm bliye w, Daniel.

Two reasons

Here are two reasons we are here. Benito in the top photo is simply hanging around the laundry area (he was literally hanging from the pipes just before this photo). He's a little over two years old. Dave, in the bottom photo, was out for a stroll when I caught up with him. Dave is not yet two. Both do not stray very far from their mothers who work for us. The mothers were homeless and dependent on charity before coming here. They're both saving money and have plans for a future.


Rotary International has provided us with a grant that allows us to build sanitation buildings like this one which is coming along rather nicely (if you read this blog regularly, you'll notice that I used the same adverb the last time I talked about this construction. I gotta get a thesaurus!). It's a WC and will be used principally by the students and teachers of the secondary school who now have to walk a good distance to take care of Mother Nature.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Linda and Estanley

It isn't all work and misery down here. Here's a photo of Linda, our Guest House Manager, taking some time out to show Estanley how to blow bubbles. Another hidden talent that we did not know Linda had!!

Fabien Chery

This is Fabien Chery. He's fifteen years old and he plays the cornet. Fabien's mother passed away years ago and his father is dirt poor. Fabien was playing his cornet last Saturday evening as part of a Mardi Gras festival in Camp-Perrin when a truck from Jeremie loaded with people and coal came barreling through the town and hit the people who were celebrating. Eleven people were killed that night and over 20 suffered critical wounds. We found Fabien on Monday in the local hospital with both his legs broken. He was luckier than most. His father could not afford medicine or treatment so Fabien was not given even an aspirin for his pain. We bought him pain meds, paid for an x-ray and the casts he needed. One of our young guys will make sure he gets food and other necessities. Thank you for supporting us in these tough times so that we can be of help to His people here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Peter decided that the fridge in the dining room needed to be cleaned. He unplugged it and started with the freezer, removing the excess ice and putting it in the sink. Dan saw the pile of ice and more--he built a small snowman (ice person) to be in solidarity with all our frigid sisters and brothers up north. It quickly melted but for a few minutes we felt connected to you all.
Seriously, we have been praying for all those suffering from the extreme weather up north.

Monday, February 2, 2009

School celebrates 11th anniversary

Here are photos of the celebration at our school in Camp-Perrin yesterday. There was a little feast for the guests of honor, the professors and staff. There was loud music for the children along with beans and rice. Above is Berthony Piard addressing the students and teachers.