Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hurricane Matthew: One Year Reflections

A year ago, category 4 Hurricane Matthew slammed the southern peninsula of Haiti. The eye of the storm was just miles from Pwoje Espwa. 

The roof of the secondary school strewn all over the ground.

The storm's strength was so powerful, it uprooted huge trees on our compound.

One of the boys' homes after the storm.

All roofs in the boys' village were completely destroyed.
While all children and staff were physically safe, the storm severely wounded spirits. As we looked around and saw the damage done to our own compound, worry for families and friends grew - many of these people lived directly on the coast in structurally unsound homes and without access to weather warnings.

Pwoje Espwa continues to rebuild a year out from the storm. Structurally, we have repaired and are in the midst of constructing hurricane proof domes to ensure children and house mothers' safety in these kinds of violent storms. We also work on the rebuilding of our spirits, remembering how blessed we are to have one another especially in times of tragedy. 

As we reflect on this event, we cannot forget YOU. You - our donors and supporters - are the reason why Pwoje Espwa is able to continue forward. The support that we received after Hurricane Matthew was unfathomable and was a reminder of just how far our family stretches. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Pwoje Espwa is here because of your unwavering generosity and love. 


As always, we remember - Kote gen lespwa, gen lavi. Where there is hope, there is life. 









Monday, September 25, 2017

Prayer Request – Odette

We are calling on all members of our Pwoje Espwa family to shower our dearest Odette in prayer. For the past week, Odette has not come into work in the Guesthouse; she has been experiencing intense vertigo that has made it hard for her to walk and eat.

If you have met Odette, you know that her not coming to work is a big deal. This woman defines what it means to be a hard worker. She walks from her home to the Quad each morning, a 2-mile trek in the heaviest of heat. When she arrives, she immediately gets to work making the neatest beds and scrubbing clothes for visitors. Visitors often tell us that the clothes Odette washes for them are cleaner, brighter, and whiter than they were when they were originally purchased.

Yesterday was Odette’s 85th birthday! The kids who work in the Quad kitchen prepared a cake and we all packed into a car, along with Matante, to visit this vital member of our family at her home in town. When we arrived we sang ‘happy birthday’ and Matante laid her hands on Odette’s head and prayed for her to get well soon. Staying true to her character Odette stated, “Oh, I’m so sorry I don’t have anything prepared for you all. I don’t have anything to give you.”

Here is Odette holding her birthday cake. Happy birthday, Odette! We love you!

This wise woman’s firm beliefs and dedication to her work are an inspiration to us all. Please pray that Odette gets well soon and be thankful for the older people in your life today and every day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Three Cheers for a New School Year!

Hip hip hooray! Today marks the first day of school at Pwoje Espwa. This morning, speckles of green, pink and plaid spotted the compound as children marched their way to their respective classrooms in their freshly pressed uniforms.


After some introductory time with their new teachers, Espwa students gathered in the chapel to celebrate a traditional back-to-school Mass. This time together is meant to call the Holy Spirit into the lives of all children, including the 1500 students that come to Espwa just for school, as they begin a new academic year.





As always, we are so proud of Pwoje Espwa’s students and teachers for their dedication to education. We wish them all the best as they begin a fresh, new year! Bondye beni nou, timoun yo.









Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dental Care Gives Hope

Imagine a schedule like this one:
1)   Late night flight from home to Florida on Thursday
2)   Early morning flight from Florida to Port-au-Prince on Friday
3)   5 hour drive from Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes on Friday
4)   Arrive in Les Cayes, immediately set up a dental clinic that consists of all materials one would find in a dentist’s office in the States
5)   See patients late into the night Friday
6)   Wake up early on Saturday morning to work in the dental clinic all day
7)   Repeat on Sunday
8)   Early drive from Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince on Monday
9)   Flight(s) home on Monday
10) Returning back to work/normal routine by Tuesday morning

Believe it or not, this schedule is REAL and it takes place every year at Pwoje Espwa at the beginning of September. The group consists of dentists, hygienists, dental students, and support staff from all over the United States. They have been making the trip down to Espwa for the past 9 years to provide top of the line dental care to our children, staff, and surrounding community members all for free.

This year, Dr. Tozzer and his team saw a record 344 patients over the 2 and a half days they were here. They worked from sun up to sun down with translators at their sides to communicate about the needs of the patients. From check-ups for 4-year-olds to oral surgery for adults, the team saw it all and did it all. Thousands of dollars in dental care… all for free





To say we are grateful for a visit like this would be an absolute understatement. Thank you to this group of professionals for encouraging healthy dental habits, curing severe pains, and giving love and care to our Pwoje Espwa community. We are blessed to have you all as a part of our family.







Friday, August 18, 2017

Participation Post: Your Espwa Experience

Calling all writers, bloggers, poets, photographers and artists who have been to Pwoje Espwa! Whether you’ve been to this beautiful place more times than you can remember or you experienced a one time visit that left a lasting impression on you, we want to hear about it.

Leading up to Espwa’s 20th birthday, which will be happening in January 2018, we would like to post about your experiences at Pwoje Espwa. Submit your Espwa photos, artwork, poetry, writing, etc. to espwaguesthouse@gmail.com and we will highlight you on our Facebook page!


As always, thanks for your support and love. We look forward to hearing more about your special times at Espwa! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Ronique Laurent: An Espwa Inspiration

What’s that you see? That's right! The girls’ village!


And there? Do you spot the itty bitty Quad?


How about this image? Look at the detailed boys’ village!



Where are these tiny versions of Pwoje Espwa structures coming from? These are part of an incredibly detailed model made my Ronique Laurent, a former Espwa child who transitioned out two years ago.


Laurent has been working on this model of Pwoje Espwa over the past three months. He created everything by hand, including the stand that the model sits on.

This past Sunday, Laurent came to Mass to show off this beautiful piece of artwork to staff and children. Before we all gathered around the incredible project to take turns spotting familiar sights on campus, the young man stood in front of everyone and explained why he made the model.


“I did this to say ‘thank you’ to Espwa for everything they did for me and as a way for me to say ‘thank you’ to God. When I first started here, I was not strong in school. In my fourth year of Primary School I made 4/10 as a final grade, but I wasn’t discouraged. I made more time to study and I advanced very well. When I entered my sixth year, it was me who was the second strongest student in school… I chose to enter a professional school for two years. There I made high grades – 8/10, 9/10. I know that YOU can too… When you leave Pwoje Espwa, that doesn’t mean your life is over. It’s Pwoje Espwa that prepares us for our lives… Pwoje Espwa, thank you so much.”


As we come to the end of the year and prepare to say goodbye to another class of Espwa children who are 18 years old, these words from Laurent are an especially important reminder. While entering the real world is nerve-wracking, especially in a society where jobs are scarce, it is possible to get out there, to do what you love and to succeed. Ronique Laurent is a perfect example of that.



Thank you, dear Laurent, for sharing your talent and your inspiring story with us. You were and always will be a part of our family.