Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

It's the last day of 2012.  I have mixed feelings as I review the year, our ups and downs-- our joys and sorrows, but the feeling of relief is right up there.  Why?  It's been a tough year for us financially.  Donations are down by 50% and we don't have much left in our reserves.  Necessary, drastic and painful cuts are just around the corner.  Food and payroll are our biggest budget items. Pray that we make wise decisions.
God has always come through for us and I have no doubt that He will again.  I just wish He'd let me in on His timetable. In spite of the dismal economic picture we remain hopeful (espwa).
We've been blessed with many generous friends.  We just need more of you! If you know anyone looking to help a worthy cause or sponsor a child make sure you send them our way, OK?  Thank you.

Happy New Year to you all.  May it bring much peace, fulfillment and joy.

Father Marc

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Medical students

For the last four years a group of medical students from L'Universite Lumiere in Port-au-Prince has been coming here over the holidays to do some training, teaching and various activities with our children.  This is their last year and so they brought along a new group (2nd year med students) who will continue this wonderful tradition.  Had a nice chat with them this morning - great bunch of young people.  The photo above is a partial representation.  Is it me or are med students getting younger and younger?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas gifts

This was a lean Christmas in terms of gifts for the children.  Here's Davidson, I think that's his name, with a couple of toy train cars.  But it's "the thought that counts" and most were thrilled to be receiving something.
A few of the older boys and Willetta who helped us distribute gifts this morning: (from left)
Jean-Robert, Johnny, Dimy (hidden), Fery in glasses, Bosiko, Willetta, Edika, Bonhomme

Christmas Morning

Mr. Jean J. Lexima, our General Manager, holding Jamesley, one of our youngest.  Both extend their best wishes to you all.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

We wish you all a blessed Christmas filled with hope.  Sonice and Sony, our youngest, can't yet articulate their appreciation for the care they are receiving thanks to your generosity.  They have a safe place to live, three nutritious meals a day, terrific medical care and a very large family to watch over them.  Hard to believe that these two were at death's door just seven months ago.
We celebrate the birth of Emmanuel which means "God is with us".  We see Him almost daily in the children and vulnerable people we try to serve. May He be present to you in all your endeavors, in all your trials and triumphs, when you are alone or among loved ones.
A very Merry Christmas to you from the children of Espwa, the staff and me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Our hearts go out to the victims of the horrifying tragedy in Newtown, CT.  The children and I have been praying for those who lost their lives and for those who lost their loves.  The kids here can't understand what happened.  Who can?  May some comfort be found in the support and prayers of children and people from all over the world.

Dome homes

Another foundation is being prepared while the latest dome gets some finish work.  Notice how high the foundation is.  That's cause this particular area gets a lot of run-off when we have a major storm.  Yes, walkways between the domes will be elevated, too.

X-ray techs

 Denise and Makentoche
Denise and Widy
Denise Hinatsu left us yesterday morning after spending three weeks with us training four young men to be our x-ray techs.  The photos above are of Makentoche and Widy during their evaluation sessions.  Mak performed very well (considering everything) and he will be our primary tech assisted by Patrick Ceva.  We will miss Denise around here as she had quickly become part of the family.  See you soon, Denise?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


While Sam and Julio are distinctly different-- Sam is all over soccer and Julio is a song and dance man-- they are the best of friends and are often seen hanging with each other. Who can better help us create positive childhood memories than a best friend?

Dome # 5

Work is advancing nicely for the dome home project.  This is the fifth dome which means that we are more than half way to our goal of building nine domes for our girls.  Gotta thank the Haiti Youth Relief Fund out of CA, the South family's non-profit called Domes for the World from Texas and another large donor who wishes to remain anonymous for their generosity in making this project happen.  If you listen quietly, you'll hear the voices of our excited girls talking about their new homes.  What a beautiful noise.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stevenson Samedy

I was stateside when TS Sandy hit Haiti.  We lost a roof on one of our houses, our fields were flooded destroying the crops there but we were spared the devastation that was visited on Haiti and later on in NY and NJ.  The boy above, Stevenson, lost his mother to the Ravine du Sud, a large river in the south.  He has 3 sisters and two brothers.  Stevenson is 8 years old and is still grieving.  His brothers and sisters all went to various family households and his aunts brought him to us.
It is because we have generous friends like you that we are able to take in children in need like Stevenson.  "Thanks" just doesn't express the gratitude we feel.  May God bless you.
Almost forgot to mention that the young man in the photo is Mackentoche Noel, a graduate of ours who works in the ChildCare Department when not attending school.


This is Denise Hinatsu, MRT from western Canada sitting with two of her three students who are learning all about x-rays and sonograms.  On the left is Patrick Ceva and on the right is Widy Laveus.  She's here through the 18th but she'll be coming back. Thank goodness as there's much to learn and master.  It is absolutely amazing how things come together!  We're blessed to have Denise on our team.

Administration Building

Here's a shot of the new Admin building, ready for us to pour the roof.  It'll be great to have most of the administrative staff together cause right now they are scattered about.  We have just enough dedicated funds for one floor so the second will just have to wait.
Directly behind this construction is the clinic.

Busy time

This is the first week of Advent already.  Where did the time go?  I've been away studying, reflecting and relaxing. Am now catching up on all that has happened in my absence.  I've new employees to meet and new resident children to get to know.  I'm being briefed on events and programs.
This blog has suffered in my absence but that will change soon enough.  Thanks for checking in.  I'll try and make your visits worthwhile.
God bless,
Father Marc

Sunday, December 2, 2012


You may already be making regular donations to Free the Kids, but perhaps you know others who might be interested in making a monthly gift. Any amount can help - for example, $30 sponsors a child's education, $20 can buy a supply of rice for a family, $10 may cover the cost of urgent medical care for those who cannot pay. For any new recurring donations to Free The Kids that are set up by Dec. 31st 2012 through GlobalGiving, that organization will match the amount of one month's donation to us (up to $100). It's an easy online process and can be set up using a credit or debit card. Be sure to identify us as “Free the Kids d/b/a Theo?s Work”. Please share this good news!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two firsts

Here's a shot of our first patient sonogram in action.  Amazing, isn't it?  The only sonogram machine in town-- maybe in the whole southern department.
And here is the first test run of the new digital x-ray machine. 

Elbow grease

This is Larry Gilbert, the former mayor of Lewiston, Maine (my home town).  He's attaching the chest x-ray cassette holder to the wall.  It is very exciting to finally unpack and set-up these two machines.  We are very appreciative of the great effort by Arnie to make this happen and for Denise Hinatsu's expertise in deciding which machine was best for us and now for the training.  We are truly blessed with fantastic friends.


 Denise Hinatsu and our Deacon Peter
Arnie Teppo, Denise and Doctor Cynthia
Denise Hinatsu flew in yesterday and arrived at 9:30 last evening.  She's from western Canada and came to help us set up our new digital x-ray machine and sonogram.  She'll be with us for three weeks to help train technicians.  Denise has over 40 years experience in this field and frequently works in isolated Arctic clinics/hospitals.  The weather is a bit different here.
Deacon Peter and Arnie were gracious enough to help test out the sonogram machine and it works perfectly.  This will definitely improve the level of healthcare we provide.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Top Rated Nonprofit

Thank you to all who helped to make Free the Kids a top rated Nonprofit. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Dear friends,
Thank you for all the emails and calls of support regarding the storm that hit us hard and then hit the US eastern seaboard with unbelievable devastation.  We suffered no loss of life or limb and we thank God for this.  One of our buildings lost its roof and there was much flooding.  That damaged our farm, our gardens and felled many trees.  The children, staff and I are praying for all those who are still victims of the storm.
With gratitude for your support.
Father Marc

Friday, October 12, 2012

# 4 Dome Home

 The fourth dome home goes up (on the right).
Here's a close-up.  See the rebar supporting the structure?  We have two sizes for the domes and we're thinking of using mostly the larger one as it lends itself to lots of options.

Work with what you've got

Was walking by the construction site and saw this.  We usually use screens which we make ourselves to filter out the rocks from the sand that we use to make mortar.  The screen was damaged so Raymond picked up an old fan cover and continued working.  Way to go, Raymond.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Opening day of school

Yesterday was the first day of school here in Haiti.  What a wild day here as children of every size and shape arrived to start the new academic year.  Old friends were found.  New friends were made.  Crying could be heard from the pre-school as first-timers were left by mothers.  Have photos but the internet is not cooperating.  

Vocational School Graduation

Of all the photos taken at Sunday's Graduation ceremony this is the only one I could upload due to the very limited bandwidth here.  Grrr!  The graduates were extremely proud to receive their diplomas as family and friends watched.  This is our third vocational school graduation and Deacon Peter Faford was honored by the class even though he won't be here until tomorrow.  Each year the students choose someone who has been an inspiration to them and they chose Peter.  Good choice!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boys' village

Probably the best thing to have happen while I was away was the grand opening of the boys' village sanitation bloc.  This new sustainable toilet can accommodate all the children and even the adults like the housemothers.  What a great development as compared to the old big and stinky outhouses we used to have.  The boys are grateful to all who had a hand in getting this project accomplished.

Girls' dome home

Remember that orange ball from the other day?  Well, here it is just a few days later.  This will be a small house for our girls, part of their own little village.
Here's a long shot with the new dome in the center.  The larger dome to the left will house the showers and sanitation bloc.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Once the foundation is done and the bladder is well secured to it, it is quite simple to build a dome.  Inflate the bladder, lay rebar @ 18 inches apart in a grid pattern, put in the conduits for electricity (as is being done in this photo) and follow this up with several layers of cement stucco.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Girls' dome homes

The girls' dome homes are coming along as you can see.  Notice the orange one in the middle?  That's really a bladder which will support the rebar and cement stucco for the third dome.  We are planning on nine domes: seven for sleeping, one for showers and toilets and one for recreational/study use.
Surprisingly, all our workers, residents and visitors love the domes even though they have a definite igloo thing going.

Pastor Lori

Here's Pastor Lori with Gary Pierre.  Gary showed us his new work station located in the old clinic building.  Gary works in archives and assists the monitors when necessary.  He's still in school so this is a part-time job.


A few of our little girls gathered to greet me when I visited the children's village yesterday.  I'm back with Pastor Lori Lampert for six weeks doing a mission evaluation.  Once that is done we will able to hone our activities in line with our mission.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dr. Tozzer Dental Group

We were blessed another year to receive services from Dr. Tozzers Dental Care for Children group. Dr. Tozzer has been coming annually with dentists and hygienists for more than five years. 

The dentists service all of the Espwa children, and then offer clinics for employees and neighbors. They work tirelessly from sun up to sun down in the Espwa preschool, seeing thousands of patients. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hurricane Issac

We have been spared. We've had some rain and a little wind but nothing like we've seen from other parts of Haiti. Satellite photos show the storm was right above us but we have been protected. Must be the prayers. 

Keep 'em coming.

Thank you.

- Deacon Peter Faford 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Girls' Dome Village

We recently received a generous matching grant from an anonymous donor who will match your donation for the girl's village dollar for dollar up to $50,000.  If you would like to help complete our girl's village go to the donate  button and choose the Building/Construction program.  Your donation will go to ensure the girls of Espwa have a village to call their own.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Espwa Klinik

The Pwoje Espwa Sud Klinik is up and running. Below is a picture of children, staff, and neighbors waiting to be seen.

Below is a picture of medication being organized. Vitamin C, iron, and children's Tylonel are a few of the most commonly prescribed medications coming out of the clinic. 

A couple of happy patients! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sony and Sonice

Sonice and Sony truly are thriving! Look how much they have grown in just a short amount of time. Wesberline and Wislove are just two of the preteen girls that help to care for the twins.

Food Distribution

Community Outreach is something we find very important and necessary. Above is a picture of local community members receiving vitamin enriched rice to help subsidize the intake of food their house requires. Not just anyone can receive food. We have an application process that helps determine the amount of assistance the family requires and how much we can provide for them. Unfortunately, our list of applicants is much larger than the amount of food we can actually distribute.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


On behalf of Free the Kids, I would like to apologize to any valued supporter who received a fake email from Father Marc. Unfortunately, Father Marc's email was compromised while he is away on sabbatical. The problem has been addressed, and we hope this will not happen again. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Nutrition is something that is not taken lightly at Espwa. One of the ways we ensure the children are receiving all the vitamins they need is by serving them freshly squeezed juice. Above, Jonas slices limes for citrus juice. 

The process is takes times, as each fruit is hand squeezed- no electric juicers here! Enough juice is made for all 600 children. See those five gallon buckets? They will be filled with citrus juice by the time these hard working men are done! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ekip Jeremi

Ekip Jeremi is the leadership group that Pastor Lori Lampert will be heading up. Through a tedious process, a group of about 20 young men, all still in school Pwoje Espwa, were chosen to launch the new leadership program. Pastor Lori will be spending time with the young men, teaching them the importance of faith, integrity, communication, and being a leader.  This program is a blessing with so much potential. We cannot wait to see how it unfolds, and to watch these young men grow.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Espwa Girls' Shopping Day

 The Espwa Girls had a shopping day in the Guest House. Our visiting friends from Springfield brought down handmade pillowcase dresses, undies, and handmade bows. They set the Guest House up like a department store, and with the help of their "personal shopper" each girl was able to chose the dress she liked the best, the undies she preferred, and the hair bow that looked just right.

It was such a special experience for both the visitors and the girls. The girls do not often get the opportunity to "shop", so they really used the day to their advantage. Like a typical girl, some spent A LOT of time finding just the right dress!
Here Esthere gets fitted for her dress. She liked the blue best- it really brought out the color in her eyes. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sony and Sonice

Occupational therapists Kayla and Leah are visiting with Lori Lampert's group this week. They spent some time evaluating the twins. Above, Leah is impressed with Sony's eye tracking and interest in her face. Below, Kayla helps Sony practice sitting, and Leah tests Sonice's ability to reach for objects. 

And the verdict- they are thriving! 

Both Sony and Sonice are very close to where they should be in regards to their developmental growth for their age. The ladies taught the house mothers and girls a few activities and games to play with the twins to really help them excel during "tummy time". Can you believe the unbelievable turn around these two have made in just a month?! Mesi Bondye Mesi!