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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

School's Out For Summer

With all kids finishing up school last week, spontaneous dance parties and pick-up soccer games have been spotted frequently around Pwoje Espwa. We know how hard our kids work to do well in school and we’re especially proud of them this year, as they endured Hurricane Matthew in October.

Matthew certainly took a toll on the academics at Espwa as it kept students out of school for approximately two months. Some older grades in secondary school were asked to come in early on Saturday mornings to make up for lost instruction time. But, our resilient kids prevailed! They finished up the year with good grades and smiles on their faces.

Now that the end of the 2016-2017 academic year is here, most of Espwa children will go home for summer vacation. It is important to remember that a majority of our kids are not true orphans; their families bring them to Espwa recognizing that they cannot support them at home. While kids certainly love being at Espwa and live happy, healthy lives while here, they miss their biological families (like any child would). We’ll miss them, but are happy that they can spend time with their families. See you in September, kids! Nou renmen nou (we love you).