Monday, February 29, 2016

Self-expression for the Girls!

Last week we were fortunate to have our friends from South Carolina visit Espwa! While they were here, they turned the quad into a store for all the girls to pick out an outfit and hair accessories. Just like girls in America, they were very opinionated about what they liked and didn't like. 

They also did a Mod Podge project with the 17 oldest girls in which they pasted their picture on a background of Creole phrases. These phrases included statements such as, "I am beautiful, smart, strong, and worthy." They were given paint, glitter, stickers, and feathers to make their artwork just as unique as they are! 

The group also helped paint the second dome in the girls' village. This is not an easy task, but the results are well worth the effort! Mesi anpil!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Chef Fi Ki Fó!

Over the past year, ten of Espwa's oldest girls have been enrolled in the inaugural "Fi Ki Fó" program, ("strong girl" in Creole), sponsored by Write to Be. The girls have spent their free time after school each day taking classes from talented Haitian women to learn skills such as sewing, embroidery, cooking, French, and computer skills to increase their potential to become economically independent when it is time for them to live on their own. 

Cooking class, taught by Guest House Chef Sonia, is one of the girls' favorite classes. This semester, so far, they have learned proper kitchen etiquette, and how to make a cake, a traditional Haitian snack similar to donuts, and a macaroni dish. It has been rewarding to watch the girls enjoy their yummy creations--as well as taste them ourselves!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Frank Irr named new Chairman of Free the Kids

Frank Irr named new Chairman of Free the Kids

Free the Kids (FTK) Board of Trustees announced on Feb. 12 that Bob Krebs is stepping down as its chairman. Bob has been with FTK since 2009 and served two terms on the board and has been a passionate strong supporter of Pwoje Espwa, Father Marc Boisvert’s mission in Les Cayes, Haiti.  Recent matters in Bob’s family are requiring him to turn his time and  attention elsewhere. 

The Trustees have elected long-time advocate Frank Irr as the new chair.  Frank has spent several years working with Father Marc to organize and develop his Haitian management team into an efficient, competent workforce.  As a current FTK board member Frank has focused on fundraising and strategic planning and serves on the Pwoje Espwa Sud Board in Haiti.

Frank served 20 years in the Coast Guard. In the 1990s while stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, Frank met Father Marc. 

Bob stated that, “It is with deep regret that  I have come to this decision.  But serving the 450 orphaned and vulnerable children of Pwoje Espwa is too important to not have someone’s full attention.  I am hopeful that the board, the staff, the volunteers, and the donors will continue to provide their prayers, passion and support for this critical mission.  Together, we have and are making a difference.”

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Thank You!

We are so thankful the team from snowy Minnesota came to spend a week of their time in sunny Haiti. They brought with them hundreds of pounds of donations, including much needed clothes, laptops, and medical supplies.

During their week, they taught English class, held a spa day for the house mothers and female staff (including goody bags!), participated in the Carnaval festivities, video conferenced with their school in the United States, and taught the kids how to make Valentines!

Thank you for sharing your love, gifts, and generosity with Espwa. We are forever grateful!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday at Espwa

Espwa kicked off the Lent season this morning with an Ash Wednesday service. 

The kids were all eager to receive their ashes, and some kids even tried to cycle through the line multiple times! Thank you for supporting Espwa and please keep our kids in your prayers.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Confirmation Class

About two hundred teens gathered this morning for another Confirmation class, led by Father Bernard from our parish. There are over 60 Espwa boys and girls in this group looking forward to Confirmation in May by our Cardinal, Chibly Langlois.  We wish them well!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Happy Kanaval!

Today, Espwa celebrated one of Haiti's most popular festivals--Kanaval. Kanaval is celebrated throughout the country during the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras. Celebrations often include music, food, and parades. Espwa closed its school for the day to welcome students from the community to partake in the festivities. Throughout the day, the kids had a blast, dressed in colorful outfits, covered in glitter, and enjoying performances by Espwa students!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Father-Son Duo!

This past week, Espwa was visited by father-son duo Denis and Ben, who came all the way from Maine. As soon as they arrived, they began the labor intensive work of scrubbing off the mold that had been growing in the first dome in the girls' village.

A comparison of the clean left half of the wall and the untouched right half clearly show the difference these two made. 

In addition to cleaning the inside and outside of the dome, they also gave it a fresh coat of paint. The house now looks as good as new!