Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What is "Kanaval"?

What is “Kanaval”?

“Kanaval” (Carnival) in Haiti is a colorful and exciting time of year. Starting in January, Haitians begin to celebrate the period of time leading up to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) on weekends, which is the last day before Ash Wednesday. Many enjoy listening to upbeat and repetitive music that asks listeners to “Jump!”, “Dance!” and “Spin your shirts above your heads!”. One example of Kanaval music is below:

On the days leading up to Mardi Gras, the celebrations are at their peak. Haitians deck themselves out in multicolored outfits, some shower themselves in glitter, and others wear masks. Many carry maracas in their hands to shake to the never-ending joyful tunes. In major cities like Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, Cap Haïtiene, and Jacmel the celebrations are especially vibrant. Party-goers meet somewhere central in the city to follow floats adorned with colorful decorations and dance to the songs of  famous musicians performing live atop the floats for all to hear.

What does it look like at Espwa?

This is a special holiday and cultural tradition for Haitians and, of course, the kids at Pwoje Espwa love to celebrate along with their country. This year masks, hats, and glitter were purchased for the kids to wear on the Monday before Mardi Gras. With schools closed for the holiday, the kids all met outside on the big field to listen to Kanaval music, dance and celebrate with their peers. Huge speakers blasted music and a DJ came to play the most popular Kanaval tunes. Everyone had a blast!

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Special Dedication

So many donors helped us to make the new hurricane-proof domes happen; for this we are endlessly grateful.

This morning, the new little boys’ village was blessed by Father Elysee. A group of visitors from Wisconsin along with all of the little boys’ house mothers and Executive Director of Free the Kids, Frank Irr, attended the beautiful ceremony.

One of our Wisconsin visitors was especially moved by the blessing as he and his late wife donated money for one of the domes to be built. To honor her love of Espwa and her endless generosity to those in need, one of the domes was dedicated especially to her.

The Wisconsin group and some of the residents of the domes dedicated especially to Ron's late wife.

We are thankful for the moments that remind us just how far and wide the Espwa family stretches.