Thursday, June 30, 2011

Solar technology comes to Espwa

A mutual friend introduced us to Joe Louis who owns and operates SUN TECH SOLAR HAITI.  He came by today and offered to install a solar-powered lamp post.  If we don't like it, he'll come back and remove it.  Pretty sure of himself, huh?  These lamp posts have a couple of solar panels which charge a 12 volt battery (in a metal box attached to the post).  When the sun goes down the LED (light emitting diodes) turn on and provide light all night.  We positioned the post near the children's village entrance as we need light there at night.  The local power company is less than reliable which means the village is often in darkness so this could the solution.  They aren't cheap as you can imagine but the children's safety is our concern here.

Promita Leonard

This is Promita Leonard, affectionately called Madame Jo.  She was one of our house mothers when we were all at LaMadonne and she was terrific.  Madame Jo came to see us earlier this week because she needs cataract surgery and can't afford it.  Thanks to a generous donor from Florida she'll have surgery next week and get her sight restored.  Thanks very much, Bernie, for making this possible.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest House wall

Most of the masonry (if not all) for the Guest House wall be be done this week.  We'll have to wait for the two metal gates which might take a week.  After that-- a coat of primer and another of paint and we'll have ourselves a nice protected courtyard.  Moving our accounting office into the Quad really necessitated this little project.   Yes, these are earth bricks made from clay, moist sand, a little cement and then compressed by hand.

Metal Workshop

 from the west
entrance (from the north)
As you can see, the metal workshop is coming along well.  We'll be adding metal grill-work to the back for added security.  The enclosed 30' x 30' space is a classroom and storage area while the back will be the working area.  This building was made possible by a grant from AMMI in western Canada.


 from the north
Clinic view from the east
Great news!  Susan and her son, Jameson, finished their SOS Alcatraz swim and are well on their way to raising the needed funds to equip the clinic.  Congrats to you both!  We are very grateful for all your hard work in prepping for this swim and for accumulating so many pledges. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First Communion

Top: Prayer of dedication
Middle: Offertory procession
Bottom: Liturgical dance/meditation

First Communicants

Photos of the boys and girls who received First Communion this morning.  The ones in the brown uniform are our residents and the others are from the area.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thanks, Madi

Thanks to Madi Sacks for a duffel bag full of soccer balls.  The timing couldn't have been better as school is now out and the kids LOVE to play soccer.  Madi is the founder of the Students for Haitian Aid Club at the Fieldston School in NYC.

Belated B'day Party

Nathalie was our guest of honor this afternoon-- a day late and a dollar short-- for her birthday party.  We wish her all the, happiness and peace.  Nathalie is our Finance Office Manager and doing a bang-up job.  Many happy returns, Nat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jean Raymond

Remember Jean Raymond?  He and his mom got back from PaP this evening where he underwent surgery for a severe cleft palate.  He's swollen but not in pain and he looks so much better.  He'll look even better in a week or two.  Our profound gratitude to Smile Train with Surgical Volunteers International and their Executive Director, Tom Flood, from Arizona.  You've given him a new life!

Lori and the Pizza Crew

Delince, Lori, Sam and Gedna
This is Lori Lampert's last evening with us on this, her fifth, trip.  She has become a dear friend and an inspiration.  Thank you, Lori, for all your efforts and your care.  May God bless you and your ministry.

Daily visitors

Here are five of the regular visitors who come eat with us every day. There are about 50 who come and go depending on the weather and their needs. They stand around and wait to see if we have extra food.  If they are lucky they'll go home and share with their families.
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Gift from Taiwan

Both headlights are smashed, dents and rust everywhere and no battery.
The Taiwanese government gifted the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture with a hundred roto-tillers like the one above.  Because we collaborate with the ministry, we were selected to receive a roto-tiller for our farm for a nominal fee.  These may have been new once, but ours is a mess.  One good thing is that it runs on diesel and one bad thing is that it came with no handbook.  Two more good things: the large tires are interchangeable with metal ones for working in rice paddies and the fact that it is already "broken in" means less anxiety when we dent it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Well intended

Madame "Mamie" Baptiste is one of our best house-mothers.  She had surgery last month and is recuperating well at home.  Her boys, above, were going to surprise her with a visit but the bus broke down.  The boys were disappointed but Mamie Baptiste will hear about their "good intentions" and be pleased, I'm sure.

National exam

This is a photo of most of our sixth graders who will soon be on the bus and headed to another school in town for the national exam which will determine whether or not they get to secondary school next year.  Keep them in your thoughts.  That's MaTante (left) with Jocelyn.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Graduate

This is Wencia, the daughter of Winzor Cadet who died a couple of years ago.  He was a former Espwa child and we have been helping out the family.  Here she is Sunday at her Kindergarten graduation.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pizza night

 The BLT pizza made of bacon, spinach and tomatoes on a bed of melted brie.  Hot dog slices were an added bonus.  Made by Sam.
 The 3 in 1 pizza--veggie, bacon and mushroom, bacon separated by twisted crusts. Made by Delince.
The traditional pizza with lots of mozzarella made by Gedna.

I think it was six months ago that Deacon Peter taught the boys who work in the Guest House how to make pizzas and they have mastered the art as you see above.  The crust is made from scratch and there's no limit to their creativity.  The guests this evening were treated to the above pizzas and the comments were all superlative.
 How is the world does this dump truck keep on going?  It delivered sand this morning for the mortar needed by our young crew building the Quad/Guest House wall.
Recognize TiNoel?  He's the lead mason building the wall.  If you've followed the blog for a while, you might recall that we used earth bricks for the Guest House.  Made sense to me to sing the same tune for the wall.  It will provide another level of security for the accounting office which just moved in.  One advantage to the earth blocks--- it takes only one bag of cement to make 60 bricks.

Bon Voyage, Frank

Frank Irr
Frank left this morning after spending a week with us.  He is a partner at AIM Consultants out of Connecticut and has been helping us build organizational capacity with four visits over the past year.  It has been a real pleasure to have him here.  I'm sure I speak for the Espwa Executive Committee when I say that his gentle prodding has been invigorating, challenging and very productive.  Thanks very much, Frank.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This is Kristin Oles who is here for the week.  Kristin is a doctoral student in Public Health and we hope to be seeing lots of her in the future.  Oh yeah, almost forgot, our friend, Zach, is her husband.

A "Royale" Treat

The children were treated to something special this afternoon.  The name of the treat is Royale which is made of cassava with peanut butter spread.  Cassava is made from manioc, a root, which has been grated, washed, stretched, twisted and then cooked on a flat surface.  The treat was provided by one of our employees.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jimmy Louis

This is Jimmy.  He's 25 years old and will be graduating from a local university with a diploma in Business Management later this year.  Jimmy was in an accident several years ago and broke his hip.  Unable to afford corrective surgery at the time, Jimmy's hip socket has deteriorated and he now needs hip replacement surgery.  His family has sacrificed for years to provide him with an education and they cannot afford this medical intervention.  His doctor says that Jimmy will be forced into a wheelchair within the year.  Anyone know of a non-profit that provides orthopedic care here in Haiti?  If you do, email our case worker at and thanks very much.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Communicants

I dropped by the catechism classes this morning and visited with those who will receive Holy Communion for the first time in a couple of weeks.  Good group of boys and girls who have obviously been studying.  Keep them in your prayers.


Today was the first sunny day in ten days.  What a miserable week with all the rain, flooding, mud.  Everywhere you looked today, you saw clothes drying in the sun.  The tropical disturbance is finally gone and we are all very relieved.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day four of rain

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words so here's 3,000 words on the weather.
 Second floor Quad looking out to Matante's home and the yard.
 View of the food depot and the entrance to the children's village.
From left: Jimmy, Bonhomme, MaTante, Bossiko, Luckenson, me, Deacon Peter and Jean Brunel 
Church this morning.  Only about 75% of the children showed because of "grippes" and/or lack of dry, clean clothes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Come rain or come shine

Lunch for today consisted of rice with a legume sauce.  No matter what the weather is (and right now it is miserable with rain) our kitchen staff comes in and gets the job done.  They are incredibly dedicated.

TiOurs and Samson

Samson carrying TiOurs to keep his feet out of the mud.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pierre Coacy

This is Pierre Coacy who will be turning 60 later this year.  Pierre fell out of a tree when he was 14 and broke his back.  He is paralyzed from the waist down, is single with no family.  Pierre used to drag himself wherever he went until a foreigner taught him to walk using a walker like the one above.  He is articulate with a great sense of humor and has a positive attitude.  He asked for a wheelchair which we do not have at this time.  We'll be looking around among our contacts to see if we can't find one.  Hard to have any self-pity parties after meeting Pierre.

Wet days

 It's been raining since last night and the ground is soaked.  Small lakes are forming all over the campus.  Been told that this weather will continue through the weekend.  Ugh!
Our kitchen got a late start due to the rain.  Almost all the cooks eventually arrived and breakfast was prepared and served.  Can't wait for the new kitchen and dining room.  Our cooks have been working in terrible conditions for way too long.

Happy Birthday, Magistrat

We celebrated Maitre Franz Etienne's birthday yesterday.  Maitre Etienne (goes by the title Magistrat as he was the mayor of Les Cayes) is our Education Director.  Above is a photo of him receiving a gift that expresses our affection for him and another of the cake-cutting part of the informal party.