Jovenel’s Crops

Many people ask us what kind of crops Jovenel and his Agrolide organization grow on the farm.  There is definitely a diverse selection.  Here’s what’s currently growing:


St. Anthony’s Renovation

St. Anthony’s is one of the primary medical clinics at which Espwa serves in Cap Haitien, Haiti.  Our longtime friend and medical director, Dr. Eugene Maklin, sees patients there each week.  After this past March’s medical trip, it became clear that St. Anthony’s was overwhelmingly hot, overcrowded, and too small for effective patient exams.  Between April and June, one of our network partners, Food for the Poor, was able to raise the capital needed to address some of its shortcomings.

By employing Haitian construction crews, the building underwent a dramatic transformation.  Site improvements included the following:

  • Demolishing one exterior wall and extending two rooms and the gallery
  • Reinforcing structural beams and columns
  • Reconstructing concrete slab floors
  • Repairing bathrooms
  • Replacing the electrical wiring
  • Replacing the roof with new plywood underlayment, metal roofing, and hurricane strapping
  • Repainting and refinishing

We can’t wait to return and serve at St. Anthony’s on our next medical trip and are so excited that community residents have such a nicer clinic!


June 2016 Trip Report

We wanted to express a big thank you to everyone who supported us on the trip a few weeks ago – from financially, to prayers, to supporting our family members while we were gone.  It is always encouraging to see how these trips come together and the impact they make.

The blended team of Duquesne Faculty members and Pleasant Hills Church experienced many things in Cap Haitien.  We had an amazing time seeing the progress on the New Hope Hospital and visiting with Dr. Eugene.  In his typical easy-going but passionate fashion, he gave us a tour of the hospital and grounds, as well as a visit to the newly renovated St. Anthony’s clinic.

The team also visited the site of Jovenel’s first farm, as well as EBAC orphanage.  At EBAC, we met with longtime missionaries Alice Wise and Kathy Gouker, whose stories never fail to captivate, as well as our pastor to the Peace & Joy Families, Benjamin Fleurant.  Our time with Pastor Benjamin, strengthening the relationship and getting feedback from his time with the children and their families was much needed.

One brief success story from this trip is worth sharing.  Our project liaison and owner of Haitian Creole Tour, Frantz Louis-Charles, was very excited to show us the tract of land he had recently purchased!  After very humble beginnings at EBAC orphanage, Frantz has flourished these past few years in the tourism business that was originally funded through an Espwa small business project.  To see Frantz as a landowner, working hard and succeeding in his profession, it brings a great sense of pride in the work that we do.  We do it for the Frantz’s of Haiti.  People we love and who just need some hope.  A little empowerment and faith goes a long way.

The final excitement for the trip was our annual beach trip with the Peace & Joy families!  On the 27th of June, we embarked on a bus-turned-tap-tap adventure that started with picking up the families.  Long story short, the bus ended up getting a flat tire that was beyond repair, so a tap-tap army came to the rescue.  Nothing was keeping us from the beach!

Until next time, thanks again for your support.  It’s trips like these that re-focus our efforts and give us the motivation to keep running the race laid out for us in Haiti.


Heading Out Soon

On June 23rd, we’ll be sending a team down to Cap Haitien, Haiti.  Led by Espwa VP, Chris Pfeiffer, the team will have some familiar faces from one of our partners, Pleasant Hills Church, as well as some staff from the Duquesne School of Pharmacy.

The team intends to meet with Dr. Eugene Maklin to view progress on the New Hope hospital.  The hospital has undergone a drastic transformation since its inception last year.  By employing Haitian construction workers, the project has also injected much needed capital into the economy while empowering the workers with an opportunity to use their talents and provide for their families.  Dr. Maklin is especially looking forward to meeting with the representatives from the School of Pharmacy to investigate possible partnerships in the future.

On Monday, June 27th, the annual Peace & Joy beach trip will kick off. This event has become a staple in our ongoing relationship with the 18 families, as we show them love and have an all-around fun day at one of Haiti’s scenic beaches.

The team will also check in with Jovenel (Agrolide farm) and Frantz (Haitian Creole Tour), and see some recent updates to St. Anthony’s clinic.

Let’s be praying for the team’s  safe travels on the way to and in country, and that God will use this trip to continue building up and empowering our friends in Haiti.


Interview with Pastor Benjamin

If you received our quarterly newsletter, you’ve likely seen the video of Pastor Benjamin and the welding generator that has significantly impacted his life.  As can be expected, much of the interview had to be edited out in order to fit into the short segment within the video.  We thought it worthwhile to post the full text of the interview here so that you can get more acquainted with him, learn a bit about his church, and start to see his character. We’re glad to have Pastor Benjamin as an Espwa partner!

Tell us your name and where you serve as pastor.

I’m Benjamin Fleurant. I work at the Baptist Church Army of Christ (EBAC) of Morne Rouge.

Tell us about some of the financial difficulties you face as a church and as a pastor.

There are obviously material difficulties that we face.  But I think the root of the problem comes from not modeling the type of Christ-like living as found in the Bible.  It is difficult to find this type of Christian.

How has the welding generator been able to make a difference in your life?

We want to thank God first, and then the Espwa Foundation, who thought of supporting us in this way. The welding generator sure makes a difference.  Even though I don’t use it myself or rent it every day, at least I have the hope of renting it to find support for my family.

Tell us about the ministry with the Peace & Joy families.

Normally, in my ministry with the Peace & Joy children, I go there and teach them songs, verses, and do Bible stories. Sometimes we also talk with their parents to keep them growing and to bring them spiritual hope.

It’s a pleasure for me to work with those kids. First of all, there is a great need for the ministry, because in the area where they live, it is outside the city and there are not a lot of Christians/believers.  The work we’re doing is progressing, even though on a spiritual level, I wouldn’t say we’ve achieved the progress I was expecting.  I had been ministering once a month, but I found that time interval was too long.  Now, I have decided to go once a week.  We’re also dividing the children into different age groups (5 to 11, and 12 and older).  Another thing we hope might overcome this distance between us is to provide opportunities for the children to come to EBAC Church once a month. The objective is to bring hope to the children’s lives and for their growth.  And that’s where we are right now. I am hoping God will give us the strength we need to keep growing the ministry in Jesus’ name.

What are you passionate about?

My passion is to evangelize and teach people how to understand God better, which is based on Hosea 4:6, which says, “My people are perishing because of lack of understanding of the words of God.”

How can we pray for you, for the Peace & Joy families, and Cap Haitien?

My personal request is that God would give me strength, zealousness, and more faith to continue day by day to do His work.  For the children, my prayer request is that they would have a discerning mind so they can understand the words of God, and for them to be obedient to what the Bible asks.  And my vision for Cap Haitien is for a city-wide evangelization – for the areas where people don’t hear about the gospel – and that I can help people better understand the God’s word.

What does hope mean to you?

For me, hope is one of the greatest words.  If people are living without hope, then it’s like this person doesn’t exist. Because wherever there is hope, there is life. The best hope is Jesus. When a Christian goes somewhere, he should bring hope.  That’s why, to me, hope is life.

What do you want to say to anyone who supported you with the generator?

First, I want to thank God. Thank you to everyone who heard about this opportunity and participated to support me.  I don’t have the words to express my gratitude, but God knows my heart. I pray that God helps you spiritually and materially, so that you can continue to grow in faith and support more people to do the work of God.

 

Check out the video recap below if you haven’t yet seen it:


Poverty, Inc. Follow-Up

Thanks to everyone who came out to support last weekend’s Poverty, Inc. event in Pittsburgh, PA, and special thanks to Northgate Church for hosting.  We were honored to have more than 115 attendees.

The night started with a quick introduction by Espwa VP, Chris Pfeiffer, and then got right into the movie.  What a life-changing perspective it offers!  Poverty, Inc. really illuminates some of the reasons why Espwa operates how it does.  Namely, that those in poverty are capable, worthy individuals who want to work and provide for their families, just like all of us.  They want to raise their families to be the best they can be and face struggles with faith along the way, just like all of us.  Many times, the “poverty” industry has intervened in ways that have ignored these facts and caused detriment to those it was trying to help.

At Espwa, we’ve tried to embrace a better approach, helping our Haitian friends realize their potential, empowering them to impact others.  We’ve always wanted to be a “hand up,” not a “handout.”  This documentary should cause each and every one of us to pause and consider how we think about the materially poor.

Following the movie, Mark Weber, one of the film’s co-producers, offered a lengthy Q&A session that drove home the movie’s content.  While still a young man, Mark has been to many places and seen what works and doesn’t work when it comes to poverty alleviation.  His added perspective was great to hear.  To hear more from Mark, check out a video of him speaking at this year’s Jubilee conference:


The evening ended with a sneak preview of the next phase of Espwa’s project, the Agrolide Farming Expansion.  We continue to support Jovenel in his vision of expanding to a new, 25 acre farm that will impact the surrounding community.  Look forward to the official release of the new video soon!

Thanks again to all who were involved in making this event happen.


Poverty, Inc. Screening

POVERTY INC PosterWe’re excited to announce that on May 13th, 2016, Espwa is hosting a screening of the award-winning documentary Poverty, Inc.  As part of the event, filmmaker and co-producer Mark Weber will host a Q&A session, which you won’t want to miss!

Poverty, Inc. drives home the reasoning behind some of Espwa’s core principles and approach.  We’d love to see you at the event, because we know it might just change your perspective on how most poverty alleviation methods are broken.  Find out more below.


Tickets

Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased at the door or pre-purchased at the link below.

Purchase Tickets Now


Event Details

Date: May 13th, 2016

Time: 7:00 PM

Location: Northgate Church, 238 West View Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15229

View Facebook Event


About the Film

POVERTY, INC. has earned 40 international film festival honors including a “Best of Fests” selection at IDFA Amsterdam – the biggest documentary festival in the world. Here’s the trailer:


[vimeo https://vimeo.com/109863354]


Film Synopsis

“I see multiple colonial governors,” says Ghanaian software entrepreneur Herman Chinery-Hesse of the international development establishment in Africa. “We are held captive by the donor community.”

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry — the business of doing good has never been better.

Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, Poverty, Inc. unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore.

From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?