Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet Betshaina

Meet Betshaina. Betshaina is 6 years old. Without a father, and a mother who could not find work, Betshaina came to Espwa when she was three. Betshaina always sports a sly, playful grin, and gives the best hugs that brighten anyone's day. She is very mature and intelligent for her age, which makes her a wonderful role model for the younger girls as well as her peers. Thanks for warming our hearts, Betshaina!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Public Health Workshop for House Moms

This week we had two groups of nursing students visit from the Denver School of Nursing. Although the first group of students was only here at Espwa for a few days, they were very busy during their time. One of the projects the group worked on was having a public health information session for our Espwa house mothers to attend.

The nursing students taught about proper tooth-brushing techniques, how to make toothpaste with baking soda, and showed the house mothers how to recognize scabies and ringworm on the children and when to send them to the clinic. The session went very well and the house mothers asked lots of questions. We hope that someday soon we will be able to acquire the medications we need to treat all of the children suffering with scabies and ringworm. For now, knowing how to spot it is a first step in the right direction.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Philo Boys: John

John is 25 years old, and has been at Espwa since his mother died when he was a young boy. John happily shows his gratitude for Espwa by arranging various cultural and outdoor activities for the children. His favorite subjects are English and Biology, and he dreams of becoming a doctor. John has a quiet and perceptive personality, and is very dedicated to his involvement in the Espwa liturgy group. As a humble leader, he serves as the supervisor of the alter servers and acolytes. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, especially Michael Jackson and Celine Dion. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Philo Boys: Placide

Placide is 20 years old, and is often a favorite of visitors, as he effortlessly forms strong friendships with each group that visits. Placide enjoys playing soccer, and sings alongside his friends in Espwa's hip-hop group Babtime. When he's not wowing the crowd at Spectak performances, he is studying his favorite subjects, English and Chemistry. Placide dreams of traveling the world, and wants to attend college in the United States to become an entrepreneur. Placide is inspired by the strength and optimism of each orphan at Espwa, and by Father Marc for all he does to sustain that hope. Placide is extremely accountable, and works hard at everything from visitor coordination, to teaching himself to play the piano. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Philo Boys: Kens

Kens is 20 years old. Having never known his father, he came to Espwa in 2002. Kens grew up being known as a talented dancer, but focused more on playing soccer for Espwa’s competing team when he got older. Kens also has a little-known talent of juggling. Today, Kens lives and works in the guest house, and helps manage the quad and its visitors alongside Kelsey and Rachel. His charismatic personality and extremely strong English makes him a perfect employee for the guest house. His favorite subjects are Science and Philosophy, and he can often be found with his head buried in a book. Kens dreams of studying diplomacy, and becoming a renowned diplomat for Haiti. He is inspired by Martin Luther Kind Jr and, of course, Father Marc. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Philo Boys: Makintoch

Makintoch is 23 years old. An orphan himself, he can always be found around our childcare office. He works tirelessly to organize activities for the kids, such as the soccer program we host in the summer months. During the school year, he enjoys helping the children with their homework. Makintoch seems to know every single kid at Espwa, and he is very accountable when given any task regarding the children.

Makintoch often serves as a translator for our visiting doctors and nurses, and has been able to observe their work with the kids in our clinic. This has helped him envision his future of continuing to work with children by becoming a pediatrician. "My passion is helping take care of people. It's what I love to do," he says. His favorite subjects in school are Biology and English, and he is inspired by President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birthdays to Celebrate

The Espwa staff gathered to celebrate two birthdays yesterday. Shedzar, our staff secretary, and Dr. Sterline, our dentist, enjoyed a wonderful afternoon among good company and chocolate cake. We are so grateful for their hard work and dedication to Espwa. Happy birthday ladies!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Philo Boys: Julnor

Meet Julnor. He is an orphan without a mother or a father and came to live in the boy's village at Espwa when he was 8 years old. Now he is 21 and has just completed his studies in Philo in town. Julnor's height naturally got him interested in basketball, and he enjoys playing with his friends and the other Espwa kids whenever he can. Although is tall and bold stature can come off as intimidating, Julnor embodies the personality of a "gentle giant." He is respectful and reserved, but his more boisterous side comes out around his friends.

This year, Julnor is dedicating a year of service to Espwa by working in the pharmacy in the clinic. Being around all the medical staff is good practice for his future ambitions. Someday he would like to go to college to study to be a surgeon. He says he is inspired by two people: both Father Marc and Christian Nethling Barnard, the first surgeon to successfully perform a human heart transplant.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Philo Boys: Jeff

Meet Jeff. He is 23 years old and just finished his secondary education in Philo. His father passed away a number of years ago, and he has been at Espwa ever since. To show his gratitude for all Espwa has given him, he now serves as the sports manager, in which he coordinates everything from soccer to frisbee for the kids.

When he's not playing soccer, he loves studying sociology. "Learning about the nature of society has inspired me to become either a sociologist or economist someday," says Jeff. Jeff's friends describe him as extremely loyal, and his easy-going and light-hearted personality makes him a joy to be around.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Philo Boys: Lifaite

Meet Lifaite. He is 25 years old and finished Philo this year. He is dedicating his year of service at Espwa to plumbing and is often seen around the quad and at the village fixing problems and making sure people all over Espwa get the water they need. It can often be a thankless job, but we are so grateful for all the help he's provided, and his dedication to his work at all hours of the day and night.

Lifaite's wide grin perfectly captures his witty personality, and although he jokes a lot, it is clear that he takes his responsibilities at Espwa very seriously, and takes great pride in the trust Espwa has put in him. His favorite subjects are experimental sciences, physics, chemistry and biology. He enjoys practicing cultural activities and playing with the kids.

He would like to be an agronomist or administrator now that he has completed his schooling. The person he says inspires him is Nelson Mandela. He is also inspired by his mother, who has taught him to live his life to the fullest each day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blog Series: Our Philo Boys

In the coming days, look forward to reading more about Espwa's best and brightest, "Philo Boys." These boys have grown up and completed school at Espwa, and gone on to Philo class. Philo is the equivalent of an Associate's degree in the United States, and demands learning techniques that are much more critical and in-depth than the traditional Haitian school system. These boys lived in town and worked hard at their classes for one year, and are now looking ahead to the next step: university. We depend on the generosity of donors to get these guys into college, and help make their bright dreams come true. Each upcoming post will feature one of our 7 students: Jeff, Makintoch, Lifaite, Placide, John, Julnor, and Kens. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back Home Safe and Sound

Our star students Rose and Patrick returned to Espwa this week after their month in the USA. The two came back knowing how to say "hello" in nearly every language, as they met students in the program from all over the world. Although they were sad to leave their friends and McDonald's hamburgers, they are happy to be back in the warm Haiti climate, eat their favorite Haitian dishes, and see all their friends as school starts this week. Their English is noticeably better, and it is clear that this experience was a life changing one for them. They were even featured in an article printed by a local Worcester news station. You can read it here:

After this incredible experience, we hope to continue our connection with Worcester Academy in the future. We are so very grateful for Marillyn and Jill who hosted them, and everyone else who welcomed, comforted, and made Rose and Patrick's visit a fantastic one. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Resident Dentist Puts in Extra Hours

Our resident dentist, Dr. Sterline from the Dominican Republic, worked extra hours this past weekend to see Espwa kids alongside Dr. Tozzer's dental group. She was a big part of the reason the group was able to see as many kids as they were. The group enjoyed talking with her--a couple of dentists in the group were even able to speak Spanish with her.

Dr. Sterline is invaluable to us here at Espwa and is always available to see kids throughout the year. Since last week, we've been grateful enough to have donors who pay a portion of Dr. Sterline's salary. We are so grateful for all the work she does, the kids certainly smile brighter because of her!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Update: Baby Job

In our post, Guests for Lunch, Hoping to Stay, you read about Ableson, Danielson, and baby Job. Although funds and resources are extremely tight, we could not say no to these three children when their father desperately begged us to take them in. Ableson and Danielson are getting along fine in the boy's village, but last week, we sent little baby Job to the city hospital malnourishment wing. There they specialize in helping young children regain their strength and nutritional needs, and have more access to protein formulas and growth-monitoring equipment than we do here at Espwa.  

When we dropped him off, he could barely hold his own head upright, and had to lean on the housemothers for support. His expression was blank and passive, and when he was able to get a few bites of food down, he often vomited soon after. Today, he looks more full in his face and appears more alert. The doctors say Job has been steadily gaining weight and health this past week, and is progressing on schedule. Father Marc snapped this picture at his last visit. We will keep a close eye on Job's recovery, and he will return back to Espwa when he is ready. Please keep Job and his family in your prayers as he grows and recovers at the hospital. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Give Books, Give Hope!

The 450 kids who live at Pwoje Espwa are very hopeful.  They realize how important education is for any chance at a successful life in Haiti, but they need your help to get the books they need for the upcoming school year.

The Haitian Government is not able to provide books or support to our school: what seems like a necessity to many of is an unaffordable luxury in Haiti.  Each student needs $35 worth of books.  After feeding, clothing and providing healthcare to our 450 orphaned and vulnerable children, there is not enough left over to buy these books.  

Right now, 5 kids often share one book. We want to do better. To give our kids a fighting chance at reaching their potential, we are asking for your help.  We hope to raise enough money to buy books for 100 kids, at $35 each (plus processing fees to Indiegogo). Any funds raised will be used to give one more child a chance to have his own books. Please visit the donation page at indigogo here to donate:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Graduation Day

Last weekend, Espwa hosted a graduation ceremony for our professional schools in honor of Bill Haggerty, President of the Free the Kids board. About 40 students received certification in mechanics, construction, sheet metal, woodwork, or sewing. 

After 2 years of training, the grads smiled proudly as they collected their diplomas, and took pictures with their friends and family who traveled to Espwa for the ceremony. We are so proud of these aspiring professionals and wish them the best of luck as they begin their careers! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beautiful Smiles!

This past weekend at Espwa hundreds of our kids lined up to see a dentist. Dental Care for Children, an organization that offers free dental care in communities like ours all over the world, visited for two days with a team of about 20 members. Dr. Tozzer and his fellow dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, interns, and assistants came from all over the country and set up a fully-functioning dental clinic in our medical center late on Friday night when they arrived.

The team worked all day on Saturday and Sunday to see as many Espwa kids as they could and even some people from the surrounding community. In the two days they were able to see over 250 patients total. Because many of our kids practice good dental hygiene, a lot of them only needed a routine cleaning. Over the course of the weekend, however, the dentists performed several extractions, root canals, and countless other complicated procedures that might have cost hundreds of dollars in the United States. They were aided with translation by some of our older boys who held mirrors and heads in place diligently both days of the weekend.

Each child that was seen was put at ease by the friendly dentists in their red scrubs that read "Creating Smiles, Fueled by Rhum" (they use rhum as part of their sanitation solution for their tools). After their appointment every kid received a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a toy and were reminded of proper brushing habits.

This is the 10th time Dr. Tozzer's team has visited us here at Espwa and we are so grateful for all of the good work they do here and at their other international locations. We are so lucky that so many of our kids can receive this dental care which would amount to thousands of dollars of dental care in the United States. Thanks again, Dr. Tozzer and team!