Thursday, April 27, 2017

Prosper - Humans of Espwa

There are a number of misconceptions about Haiti, one of which being that the country is a cursed or faithless land. In actuality, faith is the cornerstone of hope for many Haitians with about 90% of the population practicing some sort of religion, and Catholicism being the majority of that percentage (CIA World Factbook 2016). At Pwoje Espwa, faith plays a part in all that we do. One person who demonstrates this deep commitment to faith is Mr. Jean Levelt Prosper.

Jean Levelt Prosper, who goes by Prosper, is the head of the liturgy department at Pwoje Espwa. The 36-year-old man grew up in Les Cayes with 6 brothers, 2 sisters and his mother and father. He is not married and does not have biological children, but he does have many godchildren. 

Prosper started working at Espwa in 1999; in ’98 he was a part of a missionary group whose president was in contact with Father Marc. When Espwa was in need of assistance with providing religion classes for the kids, Father Marc reached out to this group and Mr. Jean Levelt Prosper said he would do it “with pleasure.” His Catholic faith is number one in his life and he finds God in silence and meditation; he explained that he is constantly praying in his heart. The faith-driven man stated that he likes working at Pwoje Espwa because, “…I love people. I have a love that is universal. I love everyone. Here I find all different types of people; children, old people, young adults, people who are poor, people without possibilities… That’s the reason I love the work that I do.”

Prosper explained that when he meets people who are suffering, he always tells them two things. The first is that ' is easy and hard at the same time. It’s easy because God gives us everything we need in nature… but it’s us that must determine how to use those things when we have need.” The second piece of advice he gives to people is that the greatest gift in life is education. He uses Father Marc as an example stating that, without the education Father Marc gained as a child and young adult, he would not have been able to found Pwoje Espwa.

In his life Mr. Prosper has a goal to be like the visitors who come to Pwoje Espwa. He would like to make and save money to visit other countries where people need help and encouragement.

Outside of work, Prosper enjoys going to the beach to go swimming. He also loves giving kids lessons, which we see him doing often at Espwa. “It’s very easy for me to be on their level. I don't have to force that.” He describes himself as a simple man, who loves nature and making jokes. He laughed and stated, “I also like to eat!” We definitely caught a glimpse of that funny side. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rainy Season

In the United States the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” is commonly stated to welcome the coming of Spring. After months of snow and ice, the warmer rain is a breath of fresh air for many people.

In Haiti, the coming of April means the commencement of the rainy season. This season, which begins in April and lasts until October, can bring over 9 inches of rainfall per month. Just like large amounts of snow would inhibit drivers, schools, and businesses from functioning normally in the States, the rain creates the same problems here.

Since last Friday, rain has been falling in Les Cayes non-stop. Children at Pwoje Espwa did not attend school on Friday because teachers could not make it to campus in the downpour. Classes were cancelled again yesterday and today due to flooding. While our children are well, they are certainly stir crazy from all of the time spent inside and out of school. A major worry of house moms is that the children will become “gripe” (catch a cold) because of all the dampness, so they do their best to entertain the children indoors.

As you celebrate the coming of Spring, we ask that you remember those whose perception of rain is a bit different. Rain brings new life, but it also can cause many problems if it comes in excess. Please pray that we experience more of the former!