Monday, March 20, 2017

What gives you espwa?

Hope is the driving force behind all that we do at Pwoje Espwa (which, when translated, is “Project Hope”). Instances of hope occur all around our compound, sometimes on a more personal, one-on-one level such as spending time with a little one and hearing her say her first word. They also happen on a community level; we experienced this kind of hope when everyone came together to rebuild after Hurricane Matthew. Whether these moments are “big” or “small,” they are all important and they are what make everyone at Pwoje Espwa family.

We recently experienced a moment of intense hope during a visit from one of our long-time supporters, Mary McNicholas. Mary has been coming to Pwoje Espwa since 2008 and has visited 10 times over the past 9 years. Pwoje Espwa has become an important part of her life; “The relationships and friends that I have made are priceless. There is so much need in Haiti and Espwa provides not only the basic necessities, but also much needed love and affection to the children.”

One of these priceless relationships Mary has made is with a young man named Kens Buteau who grew up in Pwoje Espwa. After several years of getting to know Kens, Mary, her husband Mike, and two other Espwa supporters decided to sponsor him. Last July, the young man moved in with Mary and Mike McNicholas in Greenville, South Carolina and in late August he began his college education. Mary explained, “Having known him for several years, we knew that he would appreciate our efforts and would make every attempt to succeed and he has!” Kens finished his first semester with a 3.5 GPA.

Mary and Suzanne greeting Kens when he first arrived in the U.S.!

 A couple of weeks ago, Mary McNicholas made her annual trip down to Pwoje Espwa. One day, during a trip into town with one of her groups, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit Kens’ mother who lives in Les Cayes. We arrived at their home and Kens’ mother, Francine, came out to greet everyone along with some other family members. As soon as we explained who Mary was Francine took her into her arms and repeated, “Mèsi, anpil” – “Thank you so much.”


Mary and Francine. Two mothers.

“I could see in her face just how much she loves her children, and was so proud of him and happy that he was getting the chance to study in the U.S. Mother to mother, we want the same things for our children. I gave her a picture I took of Kens on his first day of school. It was a very emotional moment for me, one I will never forget,” Mary described.


All who were present to witness the moment could feel the power of hope as it permeated the scene; hope for the growth of the relationship between the two mothers, hope for the success of Kens, and hope that arises when two people from very different backgrounds find common ground.  


Today we ask you, our supporters, kisa ki bay ou espwa? What is it that gives you hope? As the Creole proverb says “Kote gen lespwa, gen lavi.” - “Where there is hope, there is life.” Celebrate the moments of hope in your life today.