Saturday, November 29, 2014

International Children's Day

Every November 20th, Espwa celebrates International Children's Day, a holiday that recognizes children all over the world, advocates their rights, and addresses our role in promoting their welfare and protection. Espwa held a special training for its employees in honor of this day of awareness that was coordinated by our Director of Childcare, Nancy. 

Espwa employees gathered to listen to guest speakers from the Child Division of the Department of Human Services, and Terre des Hommes, an international non-profit that works with children. The main speaker was Espwa's very own psychologist, Mrs. Fernande. Later that week, a celebration was hosted for the children, where they snacked on goodies, enjoyed their peers sing in a choir performance, and were reminded of their rights, their importance, and their special place in our hearts. 

Espwa Director Enold with Jamesly

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we prepare the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce for our American Thanksgiving in Haiti. We are looking forward to spending the day cooking and eating in fellowship with our friends and family here at Espwa.

We are thankful today for everyone here at Espwa and back home in the United States and in Canada. Every person who visits becomes a new member of our family and we are so grateful for all of the unique gifts, varying talents, and genuine compassion you each devote to Espwa.

We couldn't continue to educate the kids, support them, and watch them grow and succeed without all of you.

We wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgivings wherever you are with good food, family and friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Enock's Mamba

One of the best parts of staying at the Guest House is starting the day with Enock's homemade peanut butter! "Mamba" is a Haitian twist on peanut butter, and Enock's home recipe includes cinnamon, pima (pepper), fresh ground peanuts, and sugar. The result has a bit of a kick to it, and is loved by our visitors. Thank you Enock!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Positive Pen Pals

Six of Espwa's teenage girls are participating in a brand new pen pal program. The program was started by friends of Espwa, Kate, Suzanna, and Hilary, young professionals living in Washington DC. The program envisions a world where young girls all over the world are not afraid to pursue opportunity, can realize their full potential, and are empowered agents of positive change in the community around them. 

The letters provide an excellent mentor-mentee relationship between these women in the United States and our aspiring young girls at Espwa. Last week, the theme of the letters revolved around setting goals, where participants created a personal goal, planned the steps needed to achieve it, and anticipated challenges that might occur along the way. The participants were able to discuss the results of these plans face-to-face through a video chat. 

There were smiles all around as each girl shared the process of reaching their goal. Whether they achieved it or not, each person got a round of applause for their effort, and some positive reinforcement to make the goal more possible. These relationships are so important to young people at Espwa as they begin to form their identity, foster their values, and harness their passions. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spa Day

Last Friday, Sue’s group held Spa Day for some of the staff at Espwa. They arranged the Guest House like a spa and offered manicures, pedicures, massages and facials. Each of the sixty customers were then given a take-away bag with moisturizer and facial wipes. Among the customers were cooks, house moms, sewing shop ladies, and some administrators.

Everyone was looking forward to Sue’s group and Spa Day when they heard she was coming. For many of them it is the only day they are pampered like this and really given appreciation for the hard work they do for Espwa every day. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

1500 Pounds of Donations and a Week of Fun

Last week Sue came with a group from Minnesota for the 5th year in a row. Her group of fourteen fund-raised and brought almost 1500 pounds of donations with them to Espwa. The first morning was spent unpacking and organizing all of their donations, including items to be put into Christmas bags as gifts for the children.

The group spent lots of time playing soccer with the boys and doing crafts with the girls. Last weekend they spent the afternoon teaching the girls how to make butterflies out of clothespins and coffee filters. They hung the butterflies in the girl’s domes to brighten up the inside. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Introducing Kafe Espwa

We are happy to announce the opening of our Kafe Espwa shop! We are now offering 100% Arabica Haitian grown coffee to our friends and supporters. Every bag you buy brings a profit to Pwoje Espwa, with the added benefit of direct profit to the coffee farmer and planting of one coffee plant.

There are two ways to participate:

Make individual orders at:

We would also encourage you to organize fundraisers at your church or office, and will process those bulk orders by contacting Angela Gilliam, at This method results in larger profit for Free the Kids and Pwoje Espwa, and is applicable to orders of 12 or more bags.

We hope you will try our coffee, and are certain you will come back for more! This makes a great gift for friends and colleagues. Also look at our website for an Espwa coffee mug to go with!

Thank you for your support!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Using Every Part of the Animal

Each Saturday morning at 6 a.m., Espwa slaughters a cow for some increased protein in the kids' diets. Along with the meat, each other part of the cow is used to the best of our ability. The photo above shows one of the cooks cleaning off the skull to boil. Boiling the skull releases the brain and other pieces inside of the head into the pot. The can then make the mixture into a sauce to be spread over rice.

Nothing is wasted in Haiti!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Re-purposing for Playtime

At Espwa we're always surprised and impressed by the ways our kids create something out of nothing. From kites constructed out of garbage bags and dental floss, to bottle cap marbles, and dress-up with marker caps you never know what new re-purposed "toy" you'll see walking around. There never seems to be a lack of creativity here!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Work Begins on Secondary School

Work has begun on the secondary school. We hope to be able to renovate and repaint the schools in the coming months. This week our masons have been doing some preliminary work. A volunteer group arriving on Tuesday will continue the project by painting the school. We're looking forward to seeing a fresh coat of paint!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Espwa Students' Video Biography of Life in Haiti

If you read our last post, Getting Ready for a Cultural Exchange, you know that Espwa students have been hard at work making their video biography for French students in Massachusetts. Here is the final product! Whether you understand French or not, check out this video, and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Cost of an Education

Dressed in her best white dress and church shoes with green ribbons in her hair, Jennifer Rosedaina Jean made her way to Espwa this morning. Like many children in Haiti, Jennifer's mom cannot afford to send her to school. So early this morning her mother dressed her in her very best clothes and brought her and her younger sister here to see if we could help.

Many people in Haiti are unable to pay for their children's education. We see time and again that a good education is what leads to opportunities for a child's future. Jennifer wants to go to school. So does her sister. We truly wish we could welcome them both at Espwa, but our budget doesn't allow us to take in more students. It's difficult to see child after child like Jennifer and her sister turned away from a bright future here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Visiting Doctor to Espwa School in Camp Perrin

This week we were able to send our wonderful volunteer, Dr. Jerry, to Camp Perrin. Espwa has a satellite school there that caters to over 400 children. The school does not have the clinic or medical staff that we do at Espwa and are unable to see a doctor regularly when they are ill. Dr. Jerry's visit was a great opportunity for many of the sick children to get free medical treatment.

Two of our Espwa graduates, Kens and Julnor, visited the school that day with Dr. Jerry. They were instrumental in helping to translate between the patients and their doctor and got some hands on experience on the ground in the medical field. Julnor hopes to attend medical school in the United States some day and train to become a surgeon. This kind of shadowing experience is invaluable to him as he pursues those goals.

We are so grateful to Dr. Jerry for everything he's been able to do during his visit here. We are always looking for opportunities like this for Espwa to do outreach in the community in Camp Perrin.