Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup

Soccer fans around the world are caught up in the thrill of the World Cup games, and Espwa is not left untouched. Almost everyday, a small crowd gathers around a tiny TV set to watch the match.

From the guesthouse, we hear bursts of excitement periodically - usually when Brazil scores -cheering, clapping, booing, and the enthusiastic Haitian sports announcer blaring "GOAAALLL." Even with the simplest of viewing parties, Espwa's barefoot-playing soccer fans are loving the World Cup. 

It's pretty cool to see everyone huddle together for the love of futbol. The older boys making bets on their favorite players, the nearby kitchen staff sneaking a peak between their work, and the little ones mesmerized by the screen, with the dream of one day playing professional soccer twinkling in their eyes. Today, Germany and Algeria are playing, and tomorrow, the US takes on Belgium. Hope you all are enjoying the games as much as we are here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Exam Days

We are currently in the midst of exam month in Les Cayes. Each week students from each grade must travel downtown for three days of examinations. The results of these exams will determine whether students are ready to move up to the next grade or not.

Yesterday morning, some of the staff prepared the Grade 9 Espwa students for their exams, providing them money for taxi rides downtown and food. This is a photo of the Grade 6 students who had their exams last week.

Everyone is studying hard here at Espwa. We wish them lots of luck on their exams!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Camp

Today was the first day of Espwa's summer program. Most of the kids stay at Espwa even when school is over, so this is a great way to keep them active during the summer time. 

Morning stretches. 
The camp is organized by the older boys who lead the kids in morning stretches and ref soccer matches throughout the upcoming months.

Singing the Haitian national anthem before the match.
All ages are able to participate, and those who don't play enjoy watching their peers from the sidelines. 

A great start to a fun-filled summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Visiting Doctor in the Clinic

This week one of our visitors volunteered in the clinic. When we have a visiting doctor or doctors, Espwa's clinic is able to see more patients for more hours from the local community. Dr. Bob has been seeing patients during hours opposite of our resident doctor, Dr. Pierre.

One of the Espwa students, Dillance, has been helping Dr. Bob translate for the patients and has even taught him some medical French Creole. They've become good friends this week. Thank you Dr. Bob for your help this week!

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Dresses

Today we are thankful for the "Prayers and Squares" sewing group from Grace Church in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. They spent hours sewing beautiful dresses of all sizes for the 40 girls at Espwa.

Sonice striking a sassy pose. 
It took several people to help arrange the girls in order from tallest to shortest ("plis gran" and "plis petit"). But the chaotic arrangement was worth it when a wide smile spread across each girl's face as a colorful dress was placed in their hands.

The girls looked fantastic in the bright shades of pink and blue and orange-- a needed addition to their often dirtied and torn play clothes. Thank you for your thoughtful donation, Prayers and Squares!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Green Fingers

Today Cameron, our resident horticulturist, and some of the other volunteers visited the girl's domes to help plant some Moringa trees around the property. Cameron taught the kids how to help dig the holes and plant trees inside, filling each hole with dirt and surrounding it with rock to keep the Moringa in place.

When the trees flower they will give some extra shade for the girls to play under and add some fresh greenery to the place. The kitchen will also be able to continue to use the leaves to cook foods with extra nutrients for the kids with the ongoing Moringa project.

All of the girls at the domes helped out today with the planting and even some of the babies lent a hand shoveling rocks.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work

"Men anpil chay pas lou." In Haitian Creole: many hands make light work.

Last night a shipment container arrived from some of Espwa's supporting organizations. The container was filled with boxes of nutrient-rich food that greatly helps supplement the diets of those at Espwa. And when we receive a shipment like this, many of the older students gather to help unload the boxes from the trucks. Each box is passed or tossed down the line of Espwa students into the building where they can be unpacked and stored for later use.

All across Espwa you could hear the commotion last night as the container was unpacked over the course of an hour or so and the pile of boxes in the storage building grew. After all of their hard work emptying the massive truck, the students celebrated with soft drinks for everyone.

We're looking forward to putting the new supplies to use that are such an important part of Espwa's food supply.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

First Responders

Kudos to our long-term volunteer Mackenzie from NJ, on holding her first week of CPR/1st aid classes for Espwa students. The inaugural class is small but very enthusiastic, and we're looking forward to much more participation to come!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


This week we welcomed back Amanda and Fritz, two old friends and members of the Espwa family. They've come to visit us with some of their family, including their two little girls - who are the same age as our youngest. Here's Mia, on the right, playing with Jakson; two sides of the same family.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


A very solemn day yesterday, when we held Ralph's funeral service and burial. Staff, students, friends,  house mothers, and acquaintances were all there. It was a very emotional moment for us, but one of release and hope.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Big Day

Yesterday was a big day for some of our young men and women who received First Communion, like Sam here:

Days like these are important for the kids; like landmarks in their journey of faith, they give them a spiritual foundation and strengthen their relationship with a God who loves them. Congratulations, guys!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Leafy Greens

Horticulturalist Cameron in his natural habitat: our densely-packed Moringa grove. The Moringa is a versatile tree that thrives in tropical areas; its leaves are packed with vitamins and used for medicine across several cultures (including Haitian herbal culture). Every part of the tree is useful in some way, and Cameron's been helping us grow more and more to have at our disposal.

Mme. Denault, the head cook, shreds harvested Moringa leaves to mix in the Saturday stew. It's a small addition that makes a world of difference, giving a great boost to the meal's nutritional content. It's still a young project and a new concept, but here's to looking forward where it can take us. Here's to good health and leafy greens.