Sunday, November 28, 2010

Election Day

The only topic of conversation these days is the election and today is the day.  All is quiet out here but folks tell me that there are problems at the voting stations between supporters of the various candidates or with the election process itself.  No real violence that I've heard of but lots of shoving and name-calling.  Sound familiar? Authorities are nervous about reactions of the people so school has been cancelled for tomorrow.
There will probably be a run-off as the winner must have 50% of the vote.  Quite a challenge when there are so many candidates.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

From left: Sam, Paige, Wilson, Berthony, Renold, Peter, Frank, Doc. Jerry, Sam, Gedna, Djoune and Enock
We had two turkeys, mashed potatoes, Italian sausage stuffing with apples, cranberry sauce, string beans, poppyseed cake and pumpkin pie.  What a feast!
Thanks to Dee for bringing the birds and thanks to the many who made this meal possible.

Our Thanksgiving

 Our dear friend, Doctor Jerry, impersonating Santa Clause.
Frank Irr (friend from my Kodiak, Alaska days) made the pumpkin pie.   Sweet!  Frank is here helping us with capacity building: organizational chart, job descriptions for all key personnel, protocols and procedures.  All this in an effort to help us become more efficient and professional and therefore better able to address the needs of the children.

Burn victim

This little boy was burned last night at his home in the local area.  He attends our pre-school and was brought to our clinic this morning.  He has third degree burns on his hand so we prepped him (Nurse RoseMarthe [left] and Miss Tita) and then transported him the the local general hospital.  Our hope is that there's an experienced Cuban doctor on duty to treat the child.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prison Update

Doctor Jerry came to the prison yesterday afternoon and saw Jonas, drew some blood and we brought it over the the local lab for analysis.  Picked up the results this morning and found that the lab did not do the right tests so we are back at square one.  Cheesh!
There are nine diagnosed cases of cholera among the prisoners and two have died from it.  The Inspector, head honcho, asked us to provide training and prevention for his staff and the prisoners.  The head of our Outreach Program on AIDS Prevention, Djerline Clerge and Paige will organize this.  We'll also be providing treatment but the place is perfect for the spread of such a disease-- a bucket in each cell for a toilet shared by as many as 30 inmates, no sinks in the cells to wash their hands, not enough space...
We'd like to provide each inmate with a personal hygiene kit for Christmas that will include: soap, shampoo, lotion, Q-tips, toothbrush and paste, deodorant and a washcloth.  Cost per person is $7.00 and there are 460 inmates.  Can you or your organization help?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This is 17 y/o Jonas who is presently a resident of the prison in Les Cayes.  Whatever he is accused of, he claims innocence.  No surprise there.  Paige was visiting the prison today and was allowed by the guards to take this close-up so that we could show you.  Doctor Jerry thinks he has hepatitis but blood-work is needed to determine which type- A, B or C.  He is in pain and has no appetite nor does he have a family to provide for him.  We'll be going back tomorrow (with Doctor J.) to see how we can help him and the other minors being held there.  We'd like to purchase personal hygiene kits for the all the prisoners (all 460 of 'em) which would include soap, shampoo, deodorant, powder, tooth paste and brush, laundry soap.  Will let you know the cost in another post.


 Nathalie doing some wishful thinking
A 40 foot container arrived last evening just after 9:00 PM.  We waited until early this morning to unload it.  There were two Honda motorcycles and thousands of pairs of shoes.  After months of stupid bureaucracy in Haiti's customs and $3,000 in fees, we were jubilant to finally unload that box.

Painted Girls' Home

One down, one to go.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rosie's boy

This is Roosvelt Pierre's little boy, Marc.  Rosie was the first little guy in the Espwa family and he's now married with two children.  His son joined in the festivities today and had a whale of a time.  How time flies!

Deedelay and Evens

Both Dedelay and Evens have been with us for a long time and both are great kids always willing to help us out.  Dedelay is now a junior driver (on our property) and keeps all our vehicles clean and shiny.  Evens is a serious student and a member of the small religious community discerning his vocation.

Peter's back

Deacon Peter Faford enjoying a moment of respite in between supervising repairs, writing project proposals and contracts, putting up with dreamers...  Peter is our Projects Manager.  Yes, he went home for a while but he's back (on a little different schedule) and we're glad he's here.

Children's Rights Day

We had a ton of activities for the children today: sack races, guessing games, dance contests, a panel discussion, really LOUD music, a terrific meal topped off with something similar to ice cream bars.  We celebrated Children's Rights Day and the kids had a blast.

Children's Rights Day

The girls on their way to the talks and presentations this morning and then settled in their section.

International Day of the Rights of Children

"All children have the right to be protected which allows healthy development."
"All children are people. Let's offer them a helping hand."


Try as we will, the boys still have a tendency to pick up and throw rocks at each other when upset or hurt.  TiMarc above is proof that foreheads and flying projectiles (as in rocks) don't mix.  Let's hope the scarring is minimal.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Aurida came to visit her aunt, Benita, who works for us.  She was hoping to attend our secondary school here but she applied too late.  Benita pays her schooling with our help.  Dokte Jerry thinks she's a beauty.  No argument from me or any other males here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Double trouble

If we could harness the zip of these two, we'd have no energy crisis.
Dave and TiOurs are indefatigable.


These photos were taken just over a week ago.  Hurricane Tomas wrecked these peoples' lives but that's old news now.  The epidemic of cholera and the few violent riots up north are the new headlines but these people are still homeless and need help.  The folks in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving in a week and maybe by then we'll be able to bring the victims of Tomas a message of hope that help is coming.  I know the economic situation is the states is rough right now but... 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Suppah (New England accent)

'La bouyi' is prepared for the evening meal-- it's a kind of sweet cream of wheat thing.  Joseph, one of our neighborhood kids, got caught in a rain shower so used his food pail as a waterproof hat.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Mister Edouard has been working for us forever.  He helps with security and works our fields.

Spa time

Our friends from Minnesota spent time today with our house-mothers.  The latter were treated to foot massages,pedicures and some make-up help.  The women loved it-- both the givers and receivers.  Our house-mothers work very hard for little money so doing this shows them (in a concrete way) that they are appreciated.  As I was leaving I heard one house-mother say to another- "Hope this group comes back soon. This is fun."  Our house-mothers are the front line of our care-giving so it's great that they were on the receiving end of a little nurturing today.

One of the Minnesota ladies shared a thought later in the afternoon: she has a new and personal insight into the washing of the apostles' feet by the Lord at the Last Supper.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Clinic Update

The walls go up quickly and one really feels like we're moving along.  Course there's still the columns, the roof, the plumbing, the electric, the septic system, windows, doors, finish work...

Dickenson returns

Five years ago Dickenson left us after six years as a child of Espwa.  He liked life on the edge and was always in some sort of trouble.  School was not his favorite thing nor was following the rules.  Dickenson went to PaP and worked at odd jobs.  Just over a year ago he moved to the Dominican Republic (illegally) and worked as a plumber's apprentice.  A year ago he was in the wrong place at the wrong time-- a friend's girlfriend was looking to get even with him and Dickenson ended up as her victim.  She threw acid on him as he opened the door to where he and her boyfriend lived.  The acid was meant for the boyfriend.  Dickenson spent five months in the hospital and another six months in therapy.  He had multiple grafts and says he is all right now.  Thank God he was not in Haiti for this tragedy as he would not have survived.  The Immigration Office of the Dominican Republic sent him home to Haiti but he has nowhere to go.  We will figure something out for him.  We gave him money to buy some food to carry him over to Monday.  Just before leaving he said "I knew you would help.  You will always be my dad."  He's all of 21 years old.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friends from Minnesota

Most of our girls spent some quality time with our friends from Minnesota this afternoon.  Each girl received a beautiful hand-made quilt and other goodies.  We are very grateful for the kindness showed by our new friends.  Sue Valiton made this trip possible but, unfortunately, could not join her friends as Scott, her son, took ill.  Please say a prayer for him.  We are in your debt, Sue.

Coastal damage

Mother standing just behind where her home used to be.
Grandmother in front of her home that is now without a back wall (see the outside through her window!).
Damaged wall on this man's house.

The above photos come from  Paige when she went up the coast to distribute food.
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Lots of runny noses these days due to the weather changes.  Here's a photo of Stanley as evidence.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clinic worksite

The guys worked late into the day as it is always best to pour a floor at one time.  What you see above is the floor of the first wing of the clinic now done and curing.  This means that we can start putting up blocks for the walls-- my favorite part!

Josue and mom

This is Josue and his mom. They have only each other. How old are they do you think? Mom is 58 and can no longer work because of poor health and Josue is 25. Yes, you read correctly. He has a growth hormone problem and has not developed. He started hormone therapy but had to stop as the shots (monthly) cost just over US $50 each. He asked us to help him grow up.
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Meanwhile, back at...

This is Elsie.  She's 16 years old and has been blind since age eight.  She came here yesterday accompanied by her mom to ask for help.  She lives with her mother and three siblings in a rented house in town and the rent is due.  They have no money.  I'd like to send her to Hopital Brenda (an ENT hospital) and have her checked out but our budget is already over-extended.  Rent is 8,000 Gourdes or US $200 for the year.

Return trip

On the way back from Tiburon yesterday, Maxo was very happy to see this equipment already working to repair part of the road.  This bulldozer and crane belong to a Taiwanese company that is working in the area. 

Latest from Tiburon

Two of the more dramatic photos that Maxo brought back from Tiburon. He says that he saw over a hundred homes that are no longer livable and he did not venture from the main road.  The immediate need is food which we can address once the road is passable but the long term needs are housing, agricultural restoration and employment.