Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Singing Celebration

This past Sunday, Espwa's choir, "Echo des Jeunes", and two choirs from community churches, "Coeurs Unis" and "Chofrac's" showcased their talents in Sunday morning mass and during a special evening concert.

Between the three choirs, over 50 students were able to perform for the first time all together. 

Due to the success of the concert, Lifaite, Espwa's choir director, hopes the choirs can perform together again in May for Mother's Day.

It was a great way for the community to come together and hear the great talent of Espwa's and Madame Comb's youth!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis

I have the good fortune to be in the states where there's a television.  I've been watching Pope Francis address world leaders, celebrate Mass for thousands, preside over a solemn ecumenical prayer service at Ground Zero in N.Y., visit the homeless and some in prison.  His words are beautiful and just but his actions are truly inspiring.  What an example for us!

Pope Francis has frequently asked for prayers.  Let's do that as he continues to be our shepherd in all simplicity and humility.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Don't Lose Your Marbles!

Although there is no television or Internet to fill the time after school and on weekends, many of Espwa's kids creatively find ways to spend their time. In any visit to the boys village, you are likely to find kids playing soccer, studying, and playing games with whatever materials they can find. 

One of the more popular games in the boys village is marbles. 

With 2-4 players, the boys first draw a circle around a group of marbles. A few feet from the circle the boys then draw a line in the ground. To determine who goes first, each player, standing near the circle, takes a marble and tosses it towards the line. Whoever has his marble closest to or on the line gets to go first.

The first player stands behind the line and flicks a marble towards the circle of marbles with the goal of knocking other marbles outside of the circle. 

The player continues to throw his marble towards the circle until he is unable to knock a marble outside, and the next player begins his turn. Whoever knocks the most marbles out of the circle wins! 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Plant a Seed, Watch it Grow!

Thanks to the generosity of St. Joseph's church,  Espwa's agricultural program was able to plant over 200 banana trees this summer. Around 120 have already sprung up!   

Our bananas were planted in a hole 1.5 feet deep and 1.5 feet wide surrounded by a concoction of manure, charcoal, wood shavings, and rich soil. Seeds were then placed 6 inches deep and each watered with 5 gallons of water.

Watermelon seeds also were planted with the bananas so the watermelon leaves can provide shade over the hole. And if we're being honest, who doesn't enjoy sweet, juicy watermelons!

While banana trees take about one year to produce fruit, after a banana tree sets its fruit and dies, three more banana trees grow in its place. We can then transplant these to other locations within Espwa and the community. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Back to School!

It's that time of year again! Last week, Espwa opened its schools to over a thousand children, including all of Espwa's students and students from the community. 

Espwa provides education at a reduced cost to the community, enabling children from families who may otherwise not be able to afford school, receive an education. Furthermore, unlike many schools in Haiti, Espwa strictly prohibits physical punishment. 

Espwa believes that education is fundamental to the well-being of each child and to the future of Haiti. Without Espwa's affordable and accessible schools, many of Les Cayes' children would be unable to go to school and benefit from all of the opportunities, social and educational, that school can provide.  

Anyone who has sent a child to school is aware costs can add up quickly between books, school supplies, and uniforms. In honor of the start of the school year, consider including Espwa's students in your prayers or making a donation to directly support our schools by selecting the "education" tab on Free the Kids website. We are extremely grateful for all of your efforts in helping us provide quality education for Haiti's children.

Friday, September 11, 2015

You're Never Fully Dressed without a Smile!

We are extremely grateful that this past weekend Dental Care for Children came to Espwa! The trip was led by Dr. Tozzer, who has been coming to Espwa for years (this was his 15th trip). They immediately went to work after a long journey from California and worked nonstop in order to see as many patients as possible. Their hard work paid off, seeing a record breaking 302 patients! Patients not only included Espwa children, but also staff and community members. Mesi anpil! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Thanks Mike and Dan!

We are so thankful Mike, part of Espwa’s Assessment Team, and his friend, Dan from Florida, made a last minute trip to Haiti to spend their Labor Day weekend! They have spent their time surveying Espwa’s property identifying needed maintenance projects and focusing on the water quality.

Over the last three trips, Mike has been working on building a database to record the water quality around Espwa’s campus and to help identify ways where it can be improved.

Additionally, Mike and Dan are taking GPS coordinates using a Geotab G07 GPS device to create a surface map of Espwa’s campus to help in long-term infrastructure planning.

To create a consistent electricity and water supply in a country that is plagued with inconsistencies, Espwa relies on a complex infrastructure system. Maintenance and upkeep of this infrastructure is critical to ensure it works properly and is cost-efficient. 

We are thankful for the dedicated team of volunteers who lend their expertise, time, and energy that makes Eswpa run!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Haiti's Drought

Haiti is currently experiencing one of its driest summers on record. Due to a severe lack of rain for the second year in a row, people across Haiti are having to cope with the many impacts of a decreased water supply.

Many of the jobs in the Haitian economy rely on agriculture. With a decreased water supply, crops are faltering, providing less food for farmers to sell in the market place and to provide for their families.  This inversely increases food prices when the demand is high and production is low.

The effects of the drought can be seen across Espwa's grounds and in Les Cayes. A river that once  sprung up from Espwa's property has completely dried up. Livestock owners are finding it increasingly difficult to find a suitable water supply for their animals. Families are finding themselves bathing, washing their clothes, and gathering drinking water for their children all from the same open hole in the ground.

To compound the problem, the Haitian gourde has significantly depreciated over the past few months, causing food prices to increase, making it even more difficult for people across the country, many who live on less than $1 a day, to be able to afford enough food for their families.

Thanks to our supporters, Espwa is fortunate to remain a place where meals are still served three times a day and our wells are able to provide a sustainable supply of water. However, the impacts of the drought and rising prices are still undeniable at Espwa and provide a stark reminder of how challenging life in Haiti can be.

To learn more about how Espwa provides necessary resources for hundreds of children and to learn how you can help visit