Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fun with Facepaint

From an activity with our visitors - 

Moyse the pirate.

Cats and clowns.

TiOurs, "Little Bear."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sewing Machine

This week we have a group of old friends from SC visiting us. They've come bearing gifts - first of all a great sense of humor, but also some much-appreciated material help for the project:

From left to right - Ronnie, her husband Michael, and his sister Gwen. The head of our tailor shop, Sajine, stands at the right. This year Gwen, a returning visitor, asked her family to forgo Christmas presents and donate the money they would have spent to Espwa. They all hopped on the idea, made the sacrifice, and now they've brought a new sewing machine and a donation for the tailor shop that will go towards much-needed supplies and repairs. Another new sewing machine was donated by a supporter in SC in honor of her family. Thank you!

On the way over to the shop, Grady from SC tries carrying the sewing machine in the local style. Pretty good, huh?

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Enjoy these photos of Jamesley from the other week as we figure out some technical issues with my camera.

You can't see, but there are Cheetos stains on his fingers. Thanks to our visitors for helping us share the joy of junk food from time to time (everything in moderation, right?)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Here are some very nice photos a recent visitor, Zan from CA, took during her visit here the other week. Pictures have such a capacity to connect, to make people real to the viewer, and so we always value when folks share their photos with us.

Okay, without further ado:

Danielson, in the girls' village.

A good shot of Hebreaux


Nawel is his nickname

Here's Sonice

Sony, playing with her glasses. Real neat reflection gig going on.
What a talent for photography. Thanks for sharing, Zan!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Breaking Ground

Wednesday we had the first session of our videoconferencing program with a wonderful middle school in CA. It was the fruit of several months of planning and preparation, and for the first time brought a group of our students face-to-face with their counterparts on the West Coast. 

Miliste, our 'anchorman,' makes first contact.

Our representatives from the first year of secondary school - that's Diversine and Jean-Gady in front. They had the chance to talk about their school, classes, and generally introduce themselves.

Needless to say, it was very exciting for all involved.

A special thank-you to Jim and his team in CA, who made this possible.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Last Sunday we held the baptism of twelve children in the Espwa community, to celebrate the feast day of Jesus' Baptism in the church calendar. Most of the children were our own little ones, including these very familiar faces:

Sony, here with Erchelle.

Hebreaux, held by Rebecca

Sonice and her house mother.

Hebredson with his mother, who is visiting for the occasion. She's happy to see her child so healthy.

This little mischief-maker, who cleans up quite nicely.

Jakson and Matante. Jakson isn't being baptized today, but still, it's a cute photo.

The blessing of the godfathers. See anyone you recognize?
(the man on the right is Deacon Bill, visiting from GA - he was deputized to help with the liturgy)

Hebreaux's baptism.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meet the Sheriff

This is Jean Yvon Derase, our new head of security here at Espwa. He will be taking over for Francois, who had to leave us for health reasons. Jean Yvon brings with him a lot of experience and a commitment to keep our kids safe.

We're feeling very positive about it, and on that note, please enjoy this staged photo that tries to emulate a casual conversation:

On a scale of one to ten, how convincing was it? What do you think?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Better Late Than Never

Here are some photos from the week of Christmas, faces and moments of downtime between all the festivities. It's been three weeks sense, but I thought they're worth sharing, because, well, like the title says...

Karlos, with his homemade kite.

Hebreax munching on sugar cane as an afternoon snack; visitor Patrick from NJ in the background.

The siblings Dumé. Jackson's got a piece of mango, which he seems to like.

Little Michael, in the Village. Frisbee games behind.

Another Village pic; his nickname is "Karapat."

Friday, January 10, 2014


Odette and her trademark blue hat. She's been working at Espwa since the beginning of the Guest House, is immensely tough, hardworking, and could probably outrun you. She pulled overtime today washing a full load of laundry and the bedsheets from our latest visitors by hand, since our laundry machine was on the fritz (hopefully temporarily). Lots of respect for this lovely lady.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Our visitors from CA, led by Mme. Dee, have been holding arts and crafts activities with the kids, from the youngest ones like Renette here - face painting and fun with glitter - to our accomplished artisans - who have done some wonderful things with new techniques. Very fun.

(Also, there are some very talented photographers in this group, so I'm hoping to nab a few pictures for the blog from them)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Health Ed

Last week a group of medical students from Port-au-Prince visited us, led by Dr. Joey Lamarre - a former Espwa kid and now a first-year resident physician at the general hospital in Les Cayes.

The students have been doing this for a few years now, spending a week with the children here as an annual service project. They teach the basics of public health, germs and parasites, self-care, hygiene, and other topics. At the end of the trip they met with Espwa staff to present their observations and suggestions.

It's great for the kids, it's a good experience for the med students, and it's encouraging for us to see Dr. Joey and how the seeds of his time at Espwa have blossomed into such a wonderful collaboration on this scale.

Here are some pictures of the young doctors at work: (they're really good with the kids!)

There was a song-and-dance to this one. Don't remember the words though.

Basics of epidemiology here.

I think I disrupted the lesson.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Today is both New Year's and Haitian Independence Day. We held an assembly with the children to celebrate the new year and talk about the importance of starting off the year right, with wisdom and good judgement. We then distributed the painted gift-bags our friends from MN prepared for us while they were here in November. There was more than enough for everyone present.

Here's Macenat, waiting for the distribution.

Rosie (that's short for Roosevelt), one of the original Espwa kids, came by to visit with his two sons.

Wilgens, also waiting for the gifts with bated breath.

Erchele with her bag and candy cane.

TiMarc, showing his gift. Middle School students in MN painted each bag, which made for a very nice touch.

And Jackson.
It's been a bumpy road through 2013, to say the least. At the start of this new year we look forward with hope, and we pray to always walk in wisdom and compassion. Here's to a good 2014.