Friday, February 28, 2014


As many of you know, this coming Tuesday is the big "Mardi Gras," complete with major 'kanaval' processions and merrymaking throughout Haiti. Since the festival in town gets a little too raucous for the kids, Espwa organizes our own version the Friday before for our children and neighbors. Here are some photos from today's celebration:

Pekka and the ceremonial horse take the lead, in their finest regalia.

Diversine and Mikerlange, before the festival. Their elaborate costumes mean they'll walk in front of the procession.

The fun's not just for the kids: Manager Enold (with the rad hat) and Director of Ops, Mr. Edouard Simon.

Haitian traditional makeup meets "The Dark Knight"

Castin, as the little-littles get ready to march.

Judelane and Judline, dancing to the drumbeat.

Some of you know Sam who works at the guest house. This is Madoche, his younger (but taller) brother.

TiArtis, showcasing his painted hair designs.

A troupe of old man impersonators, who paid a visit near the end of the festivities. Great acting, great makeup, sharp instincts - they were a hoot!

Happy Kanaval!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thinking on Your Feet

A small example of adapting to challenges here that I wanted to share with you-

A few days ago, the older boys working in the egg project noticed that several of the chickens were sick. After contacting a local veterinarian, they were told to separate the sick chickens and change the sawdust bedding. Here they are working on it:

Without other coops or pens available, they improvised and overcame - Sammy here is constructing an enclosed cage within the coop out of materials they had on hand.

The coop has been swept, and the boys started administering antibiotics recommended by the vet. We're hoping that'll take care of it, but if not it's good knowing these guys have the initiative to identify the problem and the drive to resolve it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Useful Skills and Gifts from NJ

Our recent visitors, a skilled seamstress among them, held a sewing and tailoring workshop for a group of the children. The older girls especially impressed them with how much they already knew. Above, Mikerlange sews on a button (I think)

Here Immaculata, one of our tailor shop workers, helps with the lesson.

Linda, our visitor and an accomplished seamstress (background of the above picture) brought along plenty of materials and an instructional book so we could continue with the classes and even expand into embroidery. What a great idea for the kids.

Also, middle school science teacher Laura brought over elastic band bracelets and messages of greeting from her classes in NY; here's Evenson displaying his. They were a big hit.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Instead of the usual Haitian spaghetti or rice dish, this morning the kids got a nutritious treat - boiled eggs. These are Espwa-grown eggs from our own chicken coop, and are possible because of the efforts of the team of students who tend the chickens and the leadership of our friend Cameron in CO. 

Right now the chicken project is still in its beginnings, a small coop of about twenty layers - so we're able to do this once a month. In the future we hope to expand, adding chickens to the coop and protein to the children's diet.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dedication Ceremony

A couple shots from the dedication and the official opening of the water purification building:

We begin with a prayer for God to bless us and this source of life-giving water.

Our trained operators - Jean Roudy, Ilsonje, and Pegens - are given their certificates and presented before the community.

Students are given samples of the first harvest (batch? grouping?) of pure water from the system.

It really does taste better than any other water I've had here. The kids can tell, too.
What a tremendous blessing, and one that we're very excited about moving forward with. Thank you, friends!

Let There be Light

Yesterday an important part of the girls' dome village was installed. Take a look:

These two light posts are solar-powered, which means no electricity costs (or periodic power outages), and the batteries are built to last through the night. It'll be a welcome change for the girls to see where they're going after dark!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Living Water

Friends at the US-based Presbyterian water ministry are giving us a great gift, installing a water purification system adjacent to the clinic. This will allow us to easily provide clean, drinkable water for the whole Espwa campus, and will serve as an enterprise opportunity for some of our young men vending water to the local community.

Here Al, our electrician, works with the team's local technician on the installation.

The ministry team is devoting part of their time with us to educating our children, student leaders, and staff on the importance of potable water. Here they are in one of the girls' domes running an icebreaker activity.

They've been coordinating with Miss Gilloux, our public health nurse (in blue on the right), to hold formation sessions like this one with the house mothers. Jean Rudy, standing with the group, is translating for them and will be one of the young men operating the water system.

Here's a 'priority ladder' - things you need to use purified water for (drinking, cooking, baby care, brushing teeth) at the top, and things you can use untreated well water for closer to the bottom. The house mothers were given placards and asked to place them on the ladder.

It's never too early to start learning - Juneau, Juneauson, and Jackson sit in on a lesson.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Espwa Craftsmanship

The guys in our carpentry shop just finished construction of a hefty order of cabinets (14 large, 9 small, I think) for our new girls' houses. Very well-made, and all this despite the major table saw being out of commission with a worn-out belt.

Here's Boss Dieudonne, head of the carpentry workshop, the man who makes things happen. Great job!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Field Day Fever

For those of you planning on coming to Espwa and looking for activity ideas to share with the kids, may we suggest a field day:

Our boys and girls may be high-energy and futbol-minded, but they absolutely love field day activities and gladly fall in line, wait their turn, and cheer each other on.

Here's Julio putting a lot of focus into the egg-balancing act.

They got a big kick out of the three-legged race.

And of course everyone loves the water balloons.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Shoes Go a Long Way

Thanks to a large donation of shoes by our recent visitors, we were able to hold a distribution of shoes for all our children who needed a new pair.

Many of the recipients were recent additions to the Espwa family, having come last summer.

So for many, like Mikelson here on the right, brand-new shoes mean a lot and make a big difference.

Marc Donald and Ojla here got shoes to match their clothes, I think. Budding fashionistas.
What a blessing! Thanks to all who made this possible.