Saturday, December 27, 2008

Little Buddies



Some of my little buddies patiently waiting for mass to start on Sunday.  I was so happy to see all these little faces. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baobab


Well, I am back in Arizona.  I have been back for about two months, and am missing Haiti terribly.  Right now, aside from trying to re-acclimate myself to the United States, I am working on a benefit concert in December. 

With the production company Shakitutu, I have been working on a concert titled Unity is Power that will be held in Port au Prince December 20.  Baobab, Espwa's very own Rap Kreyol group, will have the opportunity to perform at the concert along with other famous Rap Kreyol groups from France, Canada, the US and Haiti.  This is an amazing opportunity for our up- and- coming artists, and they still can't believe it is actually true.  (In fact- they said they won't believe it until the day actually comes.)  For guys that have grown up surrounded by disappointment, struggle, and unreachable dreams, I don't blame them for being skeptical.  This is a well deserved opportunity, and I have no doubt that it will open doors to more opportunities for them. 

Shakitutu will also be putting on a smaller concert in Les Cayes that Baobab will also perform at.  The day of the concert, ALL of our Espwa children will be receiving Christmas presents hand delivered by their favorite artists.  How exciting is that?! With more than 700 children, this is an amazing gift.  Also, ALL of the profits from the concert in Les Cayes will go directly back to Espwa funds.  It really is going to be a great holiday season.  I want to thank Shakitutu for their support and for giving our children and Espwa this opportunity. 

Unfortunately, we still have not reached our goal as far as funding goes for the concert.  If you would like to donate, please contact me.  Any little bit helps, and the closer we get to our funding goal, the more Espwa is benefited.  

Thank you all for your support over the past year and a half.  I really had no idea how many people were thinking about me, supporting me, and checking up on me until I heard how frustrated you all were that I stopped updating my blog!  Sorry!  This is not the end of my journey, it has just taken a different turn.  Please stop in now and then, as I will update as the fundraiser gets closer, and will let you all know how it went.  

Thank you for your prayers for myself as well as our children.  

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sharon's Shoes

One of our friends, Sharon, makes homemade sandals.  She so generously sent down the pair of shoes on the left, along with a book with more models, some glue, and forms for the sandals.  Tissean, our main shoe maker, took the pair of shoes Sharon sent down and made this smaller pair for an employee's child.  Pretty impressive, right?

Hopefully Sharon will be coming out in November to teach our boys some more sandal strategies.  

Friday, May 30, 2008

Water, water, water

Current flooding in the children's village.
Water pump for the children. 

Our current water situation in the children's village is less than sufficient.  There is constant flooding and nowhere for the water to go.  As we speak, Kevin, Andy, and Jim are working on fixing this problem, as well as digging two new wells for the children with the well digging machine Jim helped us obtain. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Welcome, Will!

Will arrived yesterday, and will be with us a year.  He is going to be working in the clinic on a TB program.  He has a blog that he will be updating as well.  Look on my "Places of Importance" tab to check out what he is up to. 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pwoje Espwa Dancers

video

A group of our dancers performed at Ayiti Fete last month.  They did so well, and were one step above the average dance performances in Haiti. Next month they will be putting on a concert to try to fundraise for Espwa.  Dance choreographed by Wilson Jeanty. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A letter from my son, Fery

Hi my Mom.  How are you? I didn't see you today.  I asked Amanda, "Where is my Mom?" She said you were sick.  I cried very very much because you are my Mom. Fery. I love you Mom. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Technical Training Center

Check out John Dunkle's blog for the Vo-tech school!  I put it under my "Places of Importance" on the right hand side of my page.  

Pass the link on to others for support!

A Moment to Cry Over

The purpose of Espwa can be seen in the eyes of all the children of Les Cayes- even the ones who are not within the Project. 


Last night a few friends and I went to a dance performance at a local spot. After the show was over, hung around chatting at a table. As the conversation came to a lull, I heard my name being spoken in the distance. When I turned my head, I saw a group of about seven children, none over the age of eleven, whispering and waving to me. Hearing my name is not uncommon, whether I am on or off the property of Castel Pere, so I smiled and waved at them.


The youngest of the group, timidly walked over to me. I immediately picked him up and put him on my lap. "How are you?" I asked. "Not too bad, Paige," was little Joseph Wilson's response. 


Gaining courage the rest of the clan gathered around Joseph Wilson and myself. "You work for Father Marc, don't you?" one of the older one's asked. "I sure do. You know Espwa and Father Marc?"


"Of course we do! We love Father Marc. We go to La Madonne every day at noon for lunch. It's the only way we get to eat every day." exclaimed one of the older boys. The rest of the group nodded their heads in agreement, smiling up at me. 


A chill ran down my back as I looked into the eyes of these seven little boys, all proclaiming their love and appreciation for Father Marc and Espwa. I had to fight back tears as the boys chattered happily to one another thinking about how, in just a couple weeks, these street boys would no longer be receiving their only guaranteed meal of the day. In just a couple of weeks, due to the financial crisis the project is in, the kitchen would be closed. 


It shouldn't be. Not only should these little boys be able to come in and eat every afternoon, but they should not be wearing rags as clothing, grateful for the Haitian dollar I gave them that will buy them a small package of cookies. They should be with us. We should be able to help them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thank you

I just want to take this moment to say, "Thank you." 

Thank you to all of my family and friends who have supported me over the last year.  Thank you to all my relatives who have learned how to use Blogger to check up on me.  Thank you for sending me e-mails of support, praying for me at mass, and keeping me in your thoughts.  I love you all.  

As most of you know, my blog will not be ending at the end of this month, because my current endeavor here is not yet finished.  One year just hasn't been enough, and with the new job opportunities I have come across, I will be staying here longer.  

The biggest hardship living here is that I am not able to see and talk to you all on a daily basis, or even monthly basis, like I could when I was living in the States.  But, please know, that you are all constantly in my thoughts, and because of you, I am able to continue living out the beautiful dream.  

Thank you. 

My Goddaughter's Baptism

Last Saturday was Pedgine, my Goddaughter and namesake's Baptism.  She is so beautiful, and getting so big it just boggles my mind.  Look on Father Marc's website to see pictures.  He had better luck with uploading, and he stole all the good pictures first!

She is such a doll!  Aunt Dee- she wore the dress you brought down last time you were here!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vocational School


Thanks to John Dunkle, our vocational school has been funded, and construction is under way.  This picture is from a week ago, and since then a lot more building has taken place- I will update a picture soon.  This is such a great opportunity for our kids!

The Beautiful Children of Our Future


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Step by Step



Every day I'm a little older.
A little taller. 
A little wiser.

Every day I hear a little more.
I see a little more. 
I taste a little more. 

Every day my hopes get bigger. 
My dreams get stronger. 
My will gets harder. 

Espwa.
I hold it.
I touch it. 
I live it. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Unity is Power Concert- December 2008

Here is the first flyer for the concert I am working on with the production company Shakaitutu/Prodg.  We were contacted a few months ago about whether or not we would want to be involved, and in turn will receive a percentage of the profits.  It has been a lot of work trying to track down people to sponsor this, but it is coming along, and I am so excited about it!

If you know anyone who would be interested in getting involved with sponsoring, let me know. Like I said, we will get to reap some of the benefits, and it will be amazing being a part of the biggest concert Haiti has seen- especially during a time of such hardship, this really should bring some positive feedback to the country, and it's true- Unity is Power. 

Monday, April 7, 2008

Starvation Leads to Desperation

As I am sitting at my parent's kitchen counter, eating what to some would be considered a feast, my new family, my new friends, and thousands of Haitians are starving.  

"Haitians Eat Dirt" and "Mudcakes for Starving Haitian Children"  and the simple "Dirtcakes, Anyone?" are headlines that barely graced the pages of United States press about a month and a half back when America finally became vaguely aware of a crisis that has been in the works for some time now. 

What was supposed to be a one week trip to come home for my Mom's birthday, has now been unwillingly extended due to the upheaval in Haiti that began Thursday night in Les Cayes.   Shots rang out.  Bodies fell.  Fires burned on the streets and in hearts.  Rioters fueled by pains in their bellies attempted and succeeded in burning part of the UN base in Les Cayes.  The mob continued to move through cities towards Port au Prince leaving in their wake looted stores, fire burning barriers and injured fellow Haitians.  

Today, we prayed things would have simmered, and that the government would have heard these desperate cries for help, but it was to no avail.  Voluntary evacuations have happened at the UN base in Les Cayes, and rioters are moving towards the National Palace for a full on strike.  The Haitian Authorities are moving in position to protect the Palace, but how far will desperation take a person? How far will it take a mass of people pulsating as one starving body?

In a country where more than 80% of the population is living off less than two dollars a day, food prices have done an unbelievable jump- the price of spaghetti, a breakfast favorite, has doubled in the last year.  Other staples, rice and beans, have increased more than 50%.  These are issues that cannot be ignored.  Not only do they affect us as a project (remember we make over 3,000 meals a day) but as a country.  

Does the media in America help?  You tell me.  How many people, until you mention it, have any idea about the recent riots?  As a matter of fact, how many people you know even know where Haiti is?  In a country that is only one hour away from the most powerful country in the world, starvation should not happen.  Something needs to change, and fast.  If not, this already corrupt country is literally going to starve to death.  


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blood's Visit

One of my fantastic four buddies came back to visit me, along with some of his buddies from Valpo, and Dr. Blood's group. They were here for about a week, and were so busy during that week that I didn't really get to take any pics of them. One night we were able to sneak them away to town so we could teach them how to do the Limbo- but other than that they were working.
Using the hood of one of our old cars, they were able to make a basketball hoop, which has now become very popular amongst our boys. I'll be sure to get a picture of that up on the blog soon.

Thanks for visiting Daniel- it was great seeing you again, and meeting your friends. Come back soon. Keep in touch. and keep Limbo-ing!

Jean Wil


It has been a little over two months since Jean Wil has passed. I painted his tomb the colors of Espwa- green and white. The mango tree next to his tomb is bearing fruit now, and provides him with shade. Father Marc's future bedroom window has a nice view of Jean Wil. Please remember him, as well as the other children who have left us too soon because of the poor situation in which they live.

Electrifying the Village!

After a very generous donation from Bernie and his crew, we are now able to bring electricity down to our children's village. Here are some pics of the older boys working on getting us electrified!

Makentoche digging a hole for the piping.
Wilson and Fritzner suppling the materials.
Fritzner laying out the PVC pipes.
Maurice, our head electrician working with the boys on stringing the wires through the pipes.

A look at the finished product! Can't wait till it's all done- probably by the end of next week there will be light!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Apologies

I need to start out by apologizing. I am looking at my blog, and it has been almost a month since I have updated my blog. It has not been intentional, I promise. With my new responsibilities and the Internet refusing to upload my pictures, I have really fallen behind.

Father Marc has been a lot better about his blog- I hope you are checking his.

I am in the process of uploading pictures right now, so as soon as the Internet gods allow it- you will get to see what I've been up to!

Thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Limbo



I can honestly say that Haitians have the COOLEST dances. Right now, the Limbo is the dance. The music rocks, the dance is so much fun, and when everyone gets going, there is a crazy energy. I absolutely love it! Maybe I'll try bringing it to the states.

Herold's Soccer Game

On Sunday afternoon we went into Les Cayes to see Herold, one of the boys working on Father Marc's house, play in a soccer match against Port au Prince. Herold is the one about to kick the ball.
Herold plays on the Les Cayes soccer team. He scored the first goal on Sunday. The game ended in a tie- 3 to 3. After the game, the coach from the PaP team asked Herold if he would go to PaP to play for their team. Herold answered, "I can't. Father Marc needs me here." As flattered as Father Marc was that his kids are so loyal, he was a little frustrated to say the least that Herold would pass up the opportunity.

A Post I Received

I recently got a post from a woman named Amber. She complimented our artists on the windchimes they had made over the summer. It was such a thoughtful message, and I would just like to thank her for the post.

Amber, if you click on Konny's Korner, on my blog, you can contact Connie who will let you know what inventory she has in the states, and she can ship you a memento. Thank you to you and your mother for keeping Haiti in your hearts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Karnaval

Karnaval is similar to Mardi Gras. This year is the first year Les Cayes decided to celebrate Karnaval two weeks before Lent- normally it is the weekend before. Needless to say, it was a big success. There were large floats, parades, and concerts being held Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night. We really had a great time. I love experiencing Haitian culture.


One of the floats with T-Vice, a very popular singer, performing as he traveled through the city. Look at the crowd behind his float- it was nuts. IMPOSSIBLE to walk through.

Amanda and myself on Saturday night. Taking a break from all the walking and dancing.

Sunday night- myself, Amanda, Machontoche, and Wilson. We were doing a dance called the Limbo. It is really fun, and looks SO cool when done right. I still need to practice.

Mikelange, Kevin, and Nesly. Kevin and Nesly are making faces and me and Amanda- I guess they didn't really like our rendition of the Limbo.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Francene

Frankell came a couple days ago with Francene. Amanda and I kidnapped her for a few hours. We had a lot of fun playing house with this beautiful little baby. She has grown so much in just a couple weeks!
And no, I was not quick to hand her over to anyone else...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Father

Mesi, Father.

for bringing us hope.
for seeing a light within us.
for loving us unconditionally.

Mesi, Father.

for giving yourself to us.
for helping to pave our way.
for seeing us as an individual.

Mesi, Father.

for carrying us when we can no longer walk.
for lifting us when we fall.

Mesi.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Little John


Father Marc posted a super cute picture of Little John wearing too big glasses. I thought I'd keep up the trend and post a pic of Little John wearing a too big hat.

This child is too cute!

I don't know why...


Father Marc said he liked this picture when he saw it...

Maybe because it shows that sometimes Amanda and I actually do work?

It's not ALWAYS fun and games with the kids... just most of the time.

A post for my lil sis Jill

The other day, while reading in my hammock, Jean Robert paid me a visit. Since I was busy with my book, he decided to draw a picture. He asked me to post it on my blog so Jill could see it. I love you, Jill!

A Hug


It has been said that in order to stay happy and healthy, a person needs ten hugs a day. Lucky for me, I reach my quota of ten hugs by eight o'clock every morning. With that ratio, how could I ever leave?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Adieu Jean Wil

Yesterday we said good-bye to Jean Wil. Father Charlie and Father Marc led a beautiful mass. Jean Wil's older brother Honel gave a nice speech at the end. All of Jean Wil's family attended.

Jean Wil's tomb is underneath a large tree behind the house Father Marc will one day live in. It is nice to have him on the property. I will be visiting him frequently.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tears


Jean Wil passed away this morning. As many of you know he has been suffering for months. In and out of the hospital, on different medications, with no relief to his pain. This morning he left us.

Though he will no longer be with us physically, Jean Wil will always be in the hearts of ESPWA. He was a young boy who was caring, patient, and had a smile that was contagious. His fifteen years were cut short, as Jean Wil had so much to offer the world and the people he encountered. He made an impact on us all, and will forever be embedded in our minds when we think of Pwoje ESPWA and Haiti.

Jean Will, I love you. You will be missed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Braids


Jonas just recently had his hair braided. I complimented him on it, so he offered to braid mine as well. Dino and Jean Robert also decided to get in on it and braided Amanda's as well. Hers turned out a little better than mine.

Godchilden

Frankell's daughter was born on January 2, the day I returned to Haiti. It was such great timing to be welcomed back into the country by the birth of my godchild. Francene is a perfect baby girl, and so small! Mary Lucy, her mother, is doing well, and looks wonderful. Frankell is a proud father, and brought Francene (named after him) to the quad one night to show her off. Once she was in my arms though, I was kind of selfish and didn't want to share her.
Mom with her godson, Fery. He was so happy to have finally met her, and wanted to dance extra well for her at the spektak.

Father Marc's Gift

Amanda, Herold, Father Marc, Makentoche, myself, Father Charlie, Biondy, Andy, Kevin


While I was home over Christmas, my grandmother and aunt helped me make a quilt for Father Marc from the children to show their appreciation for all he has done over the years. They had all signed a piece of fabric, and we sewed them together to make a quilt. Here we all are standing in front of it. I think he liked it, and I know the children loved giving it to him.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Spektak

Guillaume, Fery, and Rodney all dressed up for the dance show they are about to perform.

Nesley reading a speech he wrote for Father Marc about ESPWA and how much he means to all the children. What is even more impressive is that he wrote it in English.

Biondy, Wilson, and Evans, along with a large group of dancers performed a special dance for Father Marc. Wilson was the choreographer, and did a fantastic job.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Our Visitors this Week

My Mom, Pam, and my Auntie Pat flew down to spend a week here and to help celebrate the tenth anniversary. Thank you so much for coming Mom and Auntie Pat. I loved being able to share with you my second home, and the place I love the most in the world.

Daniel and Cheryl (Dan's parents) and Dan. His parents also came down for a week to help celebrate. It was really great to meet Dan's parents- we had a wonderful time.

Andy. Andy volunteered with ESPWA for about a year. He and I had met before in California at a fundraiser, so it was great to see him again in Haiti. He is going to be staying here for a few more weeks before he takes off on a new adventure- yet to be determined.