Friday, January 30, 2015

New Babtime Music Video

Everyone's favorite Espwa singing group, Babtime, has released a new music video for their song "Pitit Tig Se Tig." Thanks to friend of Espwa, Natalie, for filming and editing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bright Smiles

Last weekend we had a visit from TLC Dental. In one weekend the group of dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants were able to see 165 kids and members of the Les Cayes community. They worked together with some of our older boys who got experience as translators.

Thanks for your work TLC!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest House Managers Wanted

As Kelsey and Rachel wrap up their year serving as the Guest House Managers, Espwa is looking for new applicants to take over for June 2015 - June 2016. The Guest House Managers are the primary contact for visiting teams of Americans who come to Espwa to do service. They help to arrange travel and project plans before the volunteers arrive, and live at the guest house full time to help make the volunteers' experience at Espwa a valuable one. The job requires strong planning and organization skills, flexibility, a lot of energy, a welcoming, hospitable demeanor, and a strong love for Espwa and its purpose. It is a wonderful experience for anyone who wants to become a closer part of the Espwa family, form strong bonds with the children, and meet hundreds of amazing volunteers from all over the country. If you or someone you know is interested, please e-mail for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Good Luck, Placide!

Please send prayers and happy thoughts to one of Espwa's best students, Placide, today as he takes the TOEFL exam! The Test of English as a Foreign Language Exam is Placide's key to studying at a university in the United States. We wish him the best of luck on the test today!

After Espwa Nan Nwel

As many of you know, we concluded our Christmas singing competition, Espwa nan Nwel, at the end of December 2014. The final show before Christmas had three finalists singing and a winner was selected. Now, one month later, the committee for the competition had a chance to get together and celebrate this year's achievements with some of the kids who participated.

They had a small reception where kids performed their songs and dances and the committee thanked everyone for their hard work. One of Espwa's own groups came in third place this year: Julio, Elizabeth and Tama.

A few other Espwa students choreographed and performed dances between the songs. One of the choreographers was our own, Kens, currently working in the guest house. Rachel's sister, Natalie, filmed the dance he created for Espwa nan Nwel is some of his favorite places around the Espwa property. You can watch the video below.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuning Up

Espwa visitor Gladys is a former opera singer, who spent most of her career performing in Belgium. For all of our aspiring artists at Espwa, working with her was an excellent opportunity to enhance their singing techniques. Any training in the arts is very rare in Haiti. The schools don't offer music or art classes like they do in the United States, so even our best singers learned basic music-reading and piano skills with Gladys. 

Gladys and her students even performed "Amazing Grace" for the attendants of weekday morning mass. How exciting to see Espwa students inspired and dedicated to improving their musical expression! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Clothesline in Boys Village

During a walk through the boy's village, one usually sees dozens of t-shirts laid across the rocks on the ground drying in the sun. But thanks to our visitors from Georgia, the boys now have their very own clothesline! With the help of Espwa's metalwork shop, they welded the stands and cemented them into the ground. The boys and housemoms are thankful that their clean clothes can now hang in the breeze away from messy soccer games and playtime on the ground. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bon fete!

Last week, Deacon Bill brought a group of volunteers from Georgia to Espwa. One of the many activities they orchestrated during their week in Haiti was a birthday party for all the kids: all 450 kids that is.


At Espwa, birthdays are usually celebrated by month with each child receiving a cup of juice and a cookie. Many of the kids at Espwa don't know for sure when their own birthday is so they are assigned to one of the months. None of the kids are accustomed to a party like this. It was so special to see the smiles on their faces as they walked away with candies and frisbies in their arms.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Craft Time

Espwa visitors from California did some finger-painting crafts with the kids last week and also made some baby toys for the smallest members of Espwa. These "water kaleidoscopes" made from recycled water bottles are good for stimulating baby's eye muscles, and can be used as a gentle body-roller to help them develop the language of touch. Of course, when there is glitter involved, the girls take the craft to another level...

Obviously the girls enjoyed making the craft and we look forward to using these toys for Espwa's babies and toddlers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Haircuts for the Boys

Last week, Lily one of the volunteers in Dee's group offered to give some of our boy's haircuts. All around the village the boys crowded around Lily and her helpers to watch as she cut and styled their hair. Almost two dozen boys left smiling with brand new haircuts, a fun gift from another talented visitor. Thanks Lily!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Smarts Through the Arts

Espwa visitor Maria specializes in exercises and techniques that help brain development in young children. She did all sorts of activities with the kids while she was here, including dancing, rhythmic movement, vocal exercises, music, and arts and crafts that help children focus, find healthy ways to express themselves, and develop their senses. This is especially important for the kids at Espwa, most of whom have experienced trauma such as starvation, malnutrition, and abandonment at an early age.

She even got a chance to work with Espwa's preschool teachers to teach them some of her techniques for working with children. They were very grateful for this information that will help them draw the attention of a class of little ones, and find more effective ways of teaching the lesson to young brains.

Maria working with Solange, the housemom who closely cares for Espwa's newest baby, Job. 

We are so grateful for all of Maria's work for Espwa! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Celebrating the New Year

In the first week of the new year we have been blessed with gifts for the kids from some of our wonderful visitors. On January 1, each child received a notepad, candy and a bracelet from Jim, Marsha, Grace, Patrick, Michael, Katie and Yasemin. They were so happy to receive another treat after Christmas.

This week, Dee's group gave out even more New Year's gifts for the kids including a brand new shirt, cards, and candies. It's nice that so many of visitors think of our kids during this holiday season. Although they don't expect all of the gifts that many children receive this time of year, they are thrilled by what you are all able to provide for them. Thanks to both groups for their contributions!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ladies take the Field

A common sight at Espwa is boys playing soccer after school. But today after class some of our Espwa girl's geared up to show their stuff! There was a huge crowd gathered cheering on the girl's who got to kick the soccer ball around the afternoon.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hand-Painted TOMS

For all you owners of TOMS shoes out there- make sure you pack them with you when you come to Espwa! Some of Espwa's most talented artists, Francky and Laurant, will gladly paint the canvas shoes with some fabric paint that you provide. Nothing says "I love Espwa" more than walking around in Espwa art!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Celebrating Epiphany

To celebrate Epiphany, some of the older kids pulled out their acting skills and performed a skit for Sunday mass. They told the story of the magi and their journey to visit newborn Jesus. It was a great way for the little kids to see the story played out, and for everyone to celebrate the holiday. 

Placide, Arold, and Fery starred as the Magi, and Jean Erice Desire played a local. 

Laguerre and Lifaite as the Chief Priest and Elder, and Julnor as King Herod.

And Elizabeth as Mary, and Franky as Joseph.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sparkling Faces

Our wonderful visitors from New Jersey painted the girls' faces last week. The girls got to choose from many designs, such as butterflies and cat whiskers. We loved seeing these bright, sparkly faces around Espwa!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ringing in the New Year with Service

Two of Espwa's older boys, Makintoch and Lifaite, created and manage a program for the children of their home village in Camp Perrin. It is their way of giving back to the community, and spreading the values Espwa has helped instill in them to others. Yesterday they hosted a New Years celebration for the village. The boys carried snacks, gifts, and sound equipment way up into the mountains to set up the party. They led games like musical chairs, had a dancing contest, and shared a meal together. It was amazing to see 2015 beginning in a joyful way thanks to Makintoch and Lifaite and their mentoring of the kids.