Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

The other day I was out visiting the new twins, Hebreaux and Hebreauson; they're growing older, gaining weight, getting more social and inquisitive. It was only a few months ago they were wasting away on a pediatric hospital bed, unresponsive and ravaged by malnutrition. At one point it looked like we were going to lose Hebreaux - a lot of breathless prayers and anxious hand-wringing that night. And yet today, here he is:

It's amazing, how having a little food makes the difference between life and death. Here's his brother, Hebreauson:

Nutrition, affection, a place to grow, a place to learn, a place to be loved... every child should have these things in their lives, but the reality is they're in short supply in Haiti.

All the more reason to be thankful here at Pwoje Epswa - thankful for the kids, thankful for our staff, thankful for you our supporters, altogether just thankful that we're still here. With the financial crisis, the shortfall in donations, and the challenges we've faced this past year, our situation is far from ideal. But the support that we do have, here and now, has enabled us to stand strong, move forward, and continue making the difference between life and death for children like Hebreaux and Hebreauson. And that's something we'll never forget.

Thank you.

(here's a picture of Jamesly smiling, because why not)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Cards

Cerrules here is taking up a pretty neat holiday hobby: hand-drawn Christmas cards with these ornate calligraphy messages - everything from the typical "Merry Christmas" to, my personal favorite, the achingly romantic "My life precipitates to obscurity without you." Gotta love it.

Drop me a line if you want any, sound good?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

International Children's Day

On Sunday we had a special assembly to celebrate Universal Children's Day, an international holiday honoring the rights of children. It included performances, like the one here featuring Julio, Tama, and TiMarc:

Also a discussion on children's rights:

And afterward, (everyone's favorite) ice cream for the kids - here's Stanley with his treat:

Happy Children's Day, everyone!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dome Homes

A group photo with the girls by their soon-to-be new homes. Under the direction of Deacon Peter, a long-time and dedicated friend of Espwa, construction on "phase 1" of the girls' dome village finished on schedule about a week ago.

All the domes that will house the girls, babies, and house monitors have been completed, as well as the main sanitation dome for the complex. The foundation for a recreation dome is laid and a concrete perimeter wall is planned for the future, but now the girls can move into their new dwellings - although not quite yet, as we still need to furnish the domes.

This is a big step forward for the girls and they're all very excited; they've been looking forward to this for a long while. They'll need a little more patience yet, but I hope you're as happy as we are about this development.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Patrick and Rose

Rose and Patrick are our two students who will be attending a summer enrichment program at a college prep academy in the US next August. This is possible thanks to our friends and supporters in MA who have worked to make this opportunity available, particularly Marillyn and Jill.

I got a chance to sit down with these two after school today; they are looking forward to traveling abroad. Patrick has lived at Espwa since 2004 and is currently in his last year of secondary school, called Philo here. He is taking his classes at College St.-Jean in town, as Espwa secondary school does not have a Philo program. Rose lives in the village of Madame-Combe, just outside our front gates. She attends school at Espwa and is currently in Rheto, the third year of secondary school. They are both very sharp and diligent students.

Their class loads include Chemistry, Social Science, Math, Physics, English, Spanish, and Biology (both their favorite subjects). In addition to that, Rose takes Literature and Patrick takes Philosophy. They would both like to become doctors in the future, Patrick a psychiatrist and Rose a cardiologist.

I'll be seeing more them; as the time draws nearer to their trip they'll be coming by to practice English at the guest house and and get used to American customs. It's an exciting time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ready, Set, Go

A lovely group of visitors from Minnesota is here this week; they've been setting up lots of different activities with the children. Today we held track and field races with a small group of boys and girls of all age groups. Above is Diversie running relay with the other older girls.

Here are our three winners for the relay category; there was also a baton race and, of course, some candy at the end of it all.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Yesterday Dr. Jerry, our visiting pediatrician, flew back home to Alaska after spending a month with us. Before he left, administrator Shedza and Directors Berthony, Nancy, and Enlod (Shedza and Enold are pictured here) came to the Quad to express their gratitude for Jerry's years of service at Espwa - he has been a very long-time supporter. They also wanted to ask his opinion about the state of our medical clinic.

It was a nice parting and a good discussion - particularly about the areas for improvement in our health program. Our beautiful new clinic facility gives us a great deal of potential to serve our own children and the surrounding community, but without someone to organize and coordinate a lot of things end up falling through the cracks. So moving forward, the need for a clinic administrator is always on our radar, and in the meantime we're aiming to improve communication about the medicine we need in our pharmacy.

Thanks for everything, Dr. Jerry-

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Steady Growth

Here's something encouraging: these are the fields by the main road, a stone's throw from the Children's Village. They're newly planted, now lush and continuing to grow. You can see the students have been diligent with their farming duties; and that's a very good thing.

A quick note: please say a prayer for Fr. Marc, who's come down with something nasty and is taking time to rest and recover. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Future is Now

Espwa supporter Jim and local network engineer Maxon, teleconferencing to do some good ol' troubleshooting. Jim (speaking to us from his office in California) has donated services from his company and coordinated with other telecommunications providers, so we now have the infrastructure to video-conference instantly with the States – not to mention high-speed internet. What a Godsend; the applications are endless for the Project and, most importantly, for the kids.

Next stop for the system is a tie-in social justice program with a CA middle school, where Espwa students and eighth-graders in the States can talk face-to-face. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This is Tony, leader of the chicken coop troop. He's very enthusiastic about all our agriculture projects and recently asked to take care of the Quad vegetable garden - judging by the work his team is doing with the chickens (up to 20 eggs a day now), we'd be crazy to refuse. Here he is planting rows of pepper seedlings and tending the other plants. Great initiative, Tony!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Good News for Cyber-Shoppers

Just in time for everyone's Christmas shopping: (I may live in Haiti but I know the stores are already playing "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer", no?)

Our fundraiser organization Free the Kids is now featured on "Amazon Smile," a version of that donates a percentage of every purchase to a charity of your choice. You can sign in, designate 'Free the Kids - Greensboro, NC' and have access to all the standard features of Amazon with the added benefit of funding us with every item bought - just go to

There's also "Goodsearch" aka "Dailygood", ( a Yahoo-like search engine that donates for every search. The site has a host of other uses as well, all of which can benefit us with the selection of Free the Kids.

Please consider incorporating these into your holiday routine - it really adds up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meeting on Responsibility

A few days ago a special meeting was held with all youth at Espwa, age 16 and older. That's director Berthony Constant in the front, speaking about the financial crisis and how, now more than ever, we need our young men and women to take responsibility for the well-being of the Project: to step up, to set an example for the younger residents, to work, lead, and contribute.

By all accounts it was a very positive meeting. Questions were answered, and good feedback was elicited - here's Laurent in the blue shirt encouraging the crowd to reduce wastage and save money by reusing materials around the Project.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Food Distribution

Recently CRS donated a load of surplus USAID food, to be distributed to our neighbors in the community over the course of two months. Today was our second monthly distribution - also our last for the time being - where neighbors lined up to receive rice, oil, and other staples. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Update - Evenson

Evenson got back from Port-au-Prince yesterday afternoon, and today I spoke with a nurse at our clinic who said the CT scan was clear. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Ev is still recuperating in the overnight room. Ever since the accident, going to the hospital has been a traumatic experience for him, and we're struggling to understand the range of different reactions - psychological, emotional - he's going through. 

Above all, though, we're happy it wasn't a life-threatening neurological issue.


Update as of 11/4

Evenson's returned to the Children's Village and is resuming his normal routine - school, friends, work, etc. I've heard from some and I know many of you have been praying for him. Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Prayers Needed - Evenson

You may remember Evenson - several months ago he was severely injured in a bad motorcycle accident with significant head trauma. He was sent to a Port-au-Prince hospital for two months, where they operated on his head and leg. Since then he'd returned, come back to school and generally made a good recovery.

But this morning he presented at the clinic with weakness, a bad headache, and some very troubling neurological symptoms. What's worse, earlier in the day he had fainted and last night he'd hit his head. With his symptoms and history, Dr. Jerry, our visiting pediatrician from Alaska, tells us the only responsible course of action would be to have Evenson get a CT Scan - as these could be signs of a blood clot in the brain.

Unfortunately, the only CT scanner is in Port-au-Prince. We're sending Evenson there, several hours away, for the procedure. It's an expensive process, and we're spending money we don't have, but we have to do this for the health of our kid.

Please join us in prayer, that he be alright. If you're feeling generous, please remember us - in your prayers, tell a friend, forward a photo, make a donation - it all helps.

Thank you and God bless.