Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Pizza!

While Christmas traditions vary from family to family, city to city, state to state and country to country, there’s one thing most of us can agree upon: delicious food. Usually these yummy Christmastime meals are comprised of items that are a special treat; something that we wouldn’t eat on a normal evening.

This year the kids at Pwoje Espwa had a very special Christmas Eve meal, something that they definitely don’t get to eat normally: PIZZA! 30 pizzas were prepared throughout the day on the 24th for the children to enjoy that evening.

And who was behind this delicious treat? Sam and some of the older guys at Pwoje Espwa came up with this idea and made it all happen for their little sisters and brothers. It was certainly a lot of work for the pizza-making crew, but the love and dedication they have for the littler ones motivated them to get it all done! We are deeply thankful for our Espwa family at all times of the year, but especially during the Christmas season!

Have a blessed 2018.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

International Children's Day!

Tomorrow - Monday, November 20th - is International Children’s Day!

Pwoje Espwa celebrated this special day today during and after Mass. In a church adorned with homemade decorations made by two of Espwa’s young women, Father Gregoire preached about the rights that children have. Espwa children offered up ideas about their rights – the right to eat well, the right to education, the right to have a voice in the world. Father Gregoire reminded the children that with their rights come responsibilities.

After Mass, a celebration team came together to put on different activities for the kids. They played music, enjoyed mini competitions, and watched performances of talented Espwa children. The celebration ended with yummy treats!

Psychologist Emma discussing the special day with the children.

A new dance routine. You go girls!
Julio wrote a song for the special day. He sang beautifully.

The sack race was a big hit!

Psychologist Emma and DJ Delince celebrate with the winner of the sack race!
 As you remember and celebrate the children in your life, we ask that you pray for children around the world who are less fortunate. Happy International Children’s Day 2017!

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.