Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sam - Humans of Espwa


Every Saturday night in the Quad, which is another name for the Guest House at Pwoje Espwa, the scents of garlic and tomato waft from the kitchen and tummies rumble in anticipation of pizza night. While a few people who work in the kitchen know how to make this delicious pizza now, many volunteers who have been coming to Espwa for years remember the true pizza master: Sam.

Sam, whose real name is Mackenzy Ambroise, is 24-years-old and currently works as the Assistant Guest House Manager, helping with translating and organization of other activities that happen in the Quad. Sam says he really enjoys working in the Quad because he has the opportunity to meet many different people.; “I like when I work with everyone together.” Along with working in the Quad, Sam has been taking computer classes in Les Cayes since he finished classical school in July. When he was a child at Espwa, Sam worked in the Quad kitchen. It was there where he mastered his sauce-to-cheese ratio for pizza and perfected his cheesy potato recipe. While Sam’s job is no longer directly in the Quad kitchen, he’ll often step in to pass along his wisdom to the younger kids working there now.

We sat down with Sam to ask him about his life and his time at Espwa and uncovered this young man’s moving combination of firmness and kindness. He told us that he passes each day remembering three words: conviction, determination, and strength. When asked how these words play a part in his life he described conviction as staying committed to your dreams, determination as working hard for what you want in your life, and strength to maintain patience and fight for what you believe in.  Sam described life as “a struggle to discover what your true purpose is.”

As we talked, the young man delved into his faith as well. Sam believes in God and sees God in his brothers and sisters, which he described as all of the people at Pwoje Espwa. He talked about what touches him and said that when he sees people who are poor or in need it “…almost makes [me] cry.” Outside of working and going to school, the young man said that he enjoys spending time with his friends, talking and laughing. “What do you all talk about?” “We talk about everything; life, God, Espwa.”


Sam came to Espwa with his brother when he was 5-years-old. At the time, Pwoje Espwa was located in the city of Les Cayes. He remembers the day when his mom dropped him off. He cried a lot at the time, but grew to love Espwa and explained that some of his best Espwa memories are from when the organization was located in town. He remembers all the children taking care of each other and loving one another. When Espwa started educating the children they took in, Sam was one of the first students. Sam has been at Espwa ever since; he has 19 years of growth within the organization under his belt.

The young man talked about his family as well. “My family is very poor,” he explained. He has 7 siblings, 4 sisters and 3 brothers, and he is the oldest. His father is no longer in his life, but his mother lives in Camp Perrin and he talks to her every week. He described his deep love for her and stated, “Even if she doesn’t have money, she takes care of me.”

As the sky darkened and mosquitoes started biting at our ankles, we decided to call it a night, although we could have stayed up all night talking about Sam’s life experiences. The young man’s deep convictions make him an incredibly captivating speaker.

“Wait, can I say one more thing?” “Sure, Sam.” “I love Espwa so much. I pray for Father Marc, everyone working at Espwa, and everyone who is helping Espwa every day. I hope that God helps the kids here realize their dreams and the dreams that Father Marc has for them all.”