Benefit Concert Follow-Up

On July 25th, two long-time Espwa supporters and talented musicians, Joy Ike and Nicole Morton, held a benefit concert at Wigle Whiskey Barrel House in Pittsburgh, PA. The venue frequently opens its doors to non-profits for casual fundraising events and donates 12% of all proceeds to the featured cause.  Well over 100 people came out for an evening of mingling, listening, eating and drinking.  It was definitely fun, but also successful.  To Nicole and Joy, thanks so much for your support!



To hear more from Nicole and Joy, please visit their websites below:

To all of our Pittsburgh supporters who came out to Wigle Whiskey Barrel House, thanks again!

Face Lift for St. Anthony’s

Kudos to our team from Pleasant Hills, who spent a day painting St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic during their trip earlier this month.  We finally got some photos of the completed work after a local Haitian painted the lettering for us.  Check out the before and after below.

St. Anthony’s was Espwa’s first project and we continue to support it through monthly salaries, medication donations, and through annual (or more) medical missions.  Please let us know if you’d like to visit it someday on one of our trips!

Haiti: The Aftershocks of History Review

We don’t always have books that cover Haiti specifically, but we feel that a good cross-section of books on poverty alleviation, development economics, non-profit operations, and Haiti provides the best opportunity for professional development.  This month, however, we have a book that is all about the country we love – Haiti: The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois.

The book starts from the beginnings of colonialism and proceeds all the way up to present-day Haiti.  The context of history definitely gives a better perspective on some of the problems that we currently experience while in-country.  While there are many takeaways from the book, the following 5 were insightful.

  • Regime changes. It seemed as though there has been a real problem with peaceful transition of power throughout Haiti’s history.  Revolt after revolt brought someone new to power, but nothing ever seemed to change.  This disrespect for the political process and attitude of using violence to incite change has roots from the very beginning.
  • Constitution changes.  How much do we take the U.S. Constitution for granted?  It was written once and there is a clear process for revising it that requires a lot of political buy-in.  This is not so in Haiti. When a president didn’t like something in the Haitian constitution, he just re-wrote it to make it more favorable.  The lack of solid footing in the nation’s highest legal document is another strike against the political process that has implications to this day.
  • Property rights. There appears to be an utter disrespect for property rights throughout the nation – something else that we simply take for granted in the U.S.  After breaking up the large plantations, leaders seemed hesitant to give land to the uneducated peasant class.  Even in the past 60 years, there has been a track record of the government simply taking land and giving it to foreign investors without any thought of compensating the holders of that land.
  • Skin color/class.  Coming from a split-race society in the U.S., and knowing the trouble our nation has had with race throughout its history, one might think that other societies with just one people group of the same skin color wouldn’t have those problems. Surprisingly, in Haiti, an elite status has been given to lighter-skinned Haitians, while poorer, darker-skinned citizens comprise the peasant class.
  • Foreign intervention.  The number of times foreign countries (largely the U.S.) have intervened in Haiti with largely detrimental effects is staggering.  Governments or NGOs, take your pick, have done wonders in undermining the entire farming economy, eradicating the indigenous pig supply, creating a food-aid subculture, and introducing cholera to the masses.  It’s clear that anytime we intervene, we must consider whether we’re helping or actually hurting. Something we take very seriously at Espwa.

This book was a great place to start gaining some familiarity with Haiti’s beginnings.  Recommended for anyone with a vested interest in the country.


July 2015 Post-Trip Report

Fresh off our trip to Haiti, we wanted to share some of the big trip highlights.  Team members were in-country from July 1st – 8th, and much was accomplished.

Our Special Projects Officer, Brady Cillo, arrived in-country on the 1st of July and laid some groundwork for the rest of the team that would be arriving on the 4th.  Brady used the services of Haitian Creole Tour for transportation and translation, and met with several people in the Espwa network, including Dr. Eugene Maklin, Paul Guerrier, and Frantz Louis-Charles (our in-country Haitian team members).  Other tasks included meeting with Pastor Benjamin Fleurant to discuss a potential partnership between EBAC Church and the Peace & Joy Family project, meeting with the Peace & Joy families to discuss our long term vision of small businesses, and touring the hospital where Espwa has sponsored medical care for the Peace & Joy children.  Brady also fulfilled one of his dreams by hiking the mountain north of Cap Haitien with a group of teenage orphans from EBAC Orphanage – 2000 foot elevation gain was a bit rough in the summer heat, but the view was spectacular.

On July 4th, our VP, Chris Pfeiffer, arrived with a team from Pleasant Hills Community Church.  The team of 12 had gone through Espwa’s pre-trip training and was ready to make an impact in Haiti by “helping without hurting.”  The team showed love to our friends at EBAC orphanage, executed this year’s Peace & Joy beach trip, built and painted some benches for the Peace & Joy families, checked in on Dr. Maklin’s hospital construction, saw Jovenel’s farm, and painted St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic.

One of the most exciting parts of the trip (after the beach trip!) was on Tuesday when all the Peace & Joy families met at William Guerrier’s property for a day of learning about light vs. darkness.  The team had packed solar light kits in their suitcases and delivered them to each family.  We spent a day of assembling the units, and then Pastor Benjamin Fleurant passed out copies of the New Testament and preached to the families about how Jesus is the One True Light.  It was a powerful sermon and we hope the beginning of an amazing partnership between EBAC Church and the Peace & Joy families.  Pastor Benjamin has already set up a Bible study with the families with a first meeting in early August.

Thanks to all who prayed, funded, and engaged with us throughout the planning and execution of this trip.  Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed – we couldn’t do it without all our faithful supporters!

The Good Doc’s Cholera Fight

Our Medical Director in Haiti, Dr. Eugene Maklin, recently made us aware of an urgent need due to an outbreak of cholera in some of the rural regions outside of Cap Haitien.  Doc has been soliciting donations of supplies and funds and with them, has been making distribution in the affected areas. When asked what his biggest needs are, he told us Clorox bleach, Aquatab water purification tablets, soap, and hand sanitizer.  We were able to bring Doc some supplies on our latest trip, but we also provided some funds to purchase supplies in-country.

Dr. Maklin’s humility and persistence shone through when he sent us the photo below with the description, “this patient has had the cholera in Laguille-Dondon. I’m so happy that I could serve him with sanitation supplies yesterday. Thanks for all your support.”

Cholera Patient


Here are a few more pictures of Dr. Maklin distributing supplies in rural Haiti south of Cap Haitien.


If you would like to make a donation to this worthy cause, please visit the full Razoo donation site and add “Cholera outbreak” to your comments.