Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Espwa! This week we were able to carve some pumpkins for the occasion (much smaller than the ones many people typically use in the US). It's been a great week talking to some of the kids here about our holiday traditions in the states and having them try some Halloween treats like baked pumpkin seeds.

We wish all of you back in the states a happy and safe Halloween tonight!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Success Story: Joey

Meet Joey, or Dr. Joey, that is! Joey is one of Espwa's successful alumni. He came to Espwa when he was 13 and once he finished secondary school, went on to pursue medical school in Port au Prince. Seven years of med school later, Joey is now a certified doctor and serving at the public hospital in Les Cayes. He hopes to come work in the Espwa clinic soon, to give back to the community that helped him achieve his dream. Joey says without Espwa giving him access to an education, constant encouragement, and some financial support to get him through med school, he would not be who is he is today. Joey is living proof that any dream is possible for these kids, with the help and generosity of people who care. We wish Dr. Joey the best of luck as he pursues his career!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Getting Ready for a Cultural Exchange

Pwoje Espwa Sud is so grateful for our connection with a private school in Massachusetts. For over a year, our Espwa students have been able to participate in teleconferences with Ms. Perkin's French classes. A couple of months ago, we further developed our relationship by sending two Espwa students, Rose and Patrick, to the school to study for one month. They both had a wonderful experience.

As we prepare for our cultural exchanges this year, Patrick is helping the Espwa girls make videos to describe themselves and share some of their talents with the girls from Massachusetts. Friday afternoon we spent time with the girls as they prepared what they would say in French and practiced some of their best songs and dance moves.

This exchange is a wonderful opportunity for them to talk about themselves and to learn more about life in the US. It's also a wonderful outlet for the girls to share some of their talents with peers their own age in the states. We will continue working on the videos this week and look forward to connecting with the girls from the US soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meet Madame Etienne

Meet Madame Etienne, our psychologist. Madame Etienne has been practicing child psycology since 2008, and came to work for Espwa this past May. Madame Etienne meets with children individually, and in group sessions in her office-- a colorful, comfortable space reserved for relaxation and reflection in the Espwa clinic. Her objective is to help the children find healthy ways of confronting their problems, as well as develop positive social habits so they can improve their community and live together in harmony. 

She says the most common problem she sees among Espwa's students is loneliness and lack of personal attention and affection from others, which often grows to affect many other aspects of the children's lives, such as their performance in school. She emphasizes the importance of our volunteers, staff, house moms, teachers, and mentors to create a loving family for the kids, and always remind them that they are special and loved. With so many children Espwa certainly has a culture of sharing, everything from toys to attention, and the children rarely have something of their own to cherish. That is why we are so grateful to have Madame Etienne giving them the individual time and attention they need, and helping to ensure their mental health and overall happiness at Espwa. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A New Administration Building

Work has recommenced on the administration building. Most days you can hear the construction workers working away on what will house each of the many offices at Pwoje Espwa Sud. Hopefully the offices will be able to move into their new location in that building soon. Everything from Logistics to Transportation to Finance will have a new home inside.

The new building will allow for offices to get work done more efficiently and provide ease of communication between employees. We are so excited for this update to Espwa's landscape which will most certainly help get more things accomplished for the kids.

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Wall Around the Girls' Village

The girls' village is now complete with a protective wall surrounding it, just like the boys' village. This wall will help keep the village more secure, as well as provide some added privacy for the girls. This wall is a symbol of our top priority: the children's safety. Thank you to the construction crew who added the finishing touches today, and worked so hard to provide this necessity!

Friday, October 10, 2014

From Alaska to Haiti

For the month of October we are so lucky to have Dr. Jerry visiting all the way from Alaska. Dr. Jerry has come to Espwa for over a decade and with each trip he is able to see many of our kids and people from the communities around Espwa.

On this trip, Dr. Jerry is tackling ringworm of the scalp which afflicts many of the kids at Espwa and is easily spread between children that sleep in the same bed. With the help of a pharmacist friend in Alaska named Paul, Dr. Jerry was able to bring down enough medication to begin to treat all those on campus suffering with ringworm of the scalp.

Early this week Dr. Jerry and Madame Guilloux spent time in the boys' and girls' villages seeing all of the children with this ailment. Now the medication has been appropriately divided for each child by weight and Madame Guilloux will see the project through with the help of the house mothers. We hope to see fewer kids suffering from ringworm of the scalp in the next few weeks.

Thanks Dr. Jerry for all your work with Madame Guilloux!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Meet Madame Guilloux

Meet Madame Guilloux, Espwa's public health nurse. Madame Guilloux works to ensure all of the kids are healthy and happy, a daunting task considering our limited medical resources and close living quarters that spread illnesses among the children quickly. Not to mention the sheer number of children that live here! However Madame Guilloux handles the enormous undertaking with grace and proficiency as she ventures into the villages to do examinations of the children. Her no-nonsense attitude and efficient work ethic is exactly what this important job requires. We are so grateful for Madame Guilloux and all of her hard work!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Happy Feet!

The kids were excited this week when volunteer and Rotary Club member, Filip, brought down 21 athletic shoes donated by Boulder Running Company. Filip was one of Espwa's first visitors in 1998 when the orphanage was located at La Madonne. It's so wonderful to have him back in conjunction with the well project financed by Rotary.

The day after he arrived he helped distribute the 21 pairs of shoes to the kids. I am sure we will see them on the soccer field in the coming months. Thanks, Filip and Boulder Running Company!