September 2016 Trip Report

With all the other pressing events over the past month and a half, we haven’t taken the time to report on our trip in September 2016.  So here goes!

The September trip was only 5 days, but it sure was memorable.  Longtime supporters and friends of Espwa, the Richardson’s (Dave, Karen, Jensen, and Corey), made their first trip to meet the Peace & Joy Families.  The Richardson’s have been instrumental in supporting the families since our journey began with the children at Peace & Joy Orphanage.  Also on the trip were Espwa board members, Chris Pfeiffer and Joe Shaffer, as well as Scott Lammers.  

The trip began with a quick stop at Jovenel’s farm, and then a long visit with the Peace & Joy Families.  The Richardson’s have known each of the Peace & Joy children by name for years, but this was the first time meeting in person – it was a surreal and joy-filled moment.  And just in time for the new school year, we were able to bless the children with some school supplies donated by the Jacobson Elementary (Chandler, AZ) CATS program.

The next day, the team enjoyed an excursion to Friendship Island with the help of Haitian Creole Tour, as well as a stop at EBAC Orphanage.  Visiting long-term missionaries Alice Wise and Kathy Gouker is always encouraging, and the team was also able to share a jewelry-making experience with several of the older girls at EBAC.  The owners of DKC Creations, Mike & Deb Cillo, had donated jewelry supplies and tools for the trip.  The Richardson’s then led a short workshop that was meant to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of the young women.

The following day, the team visited the amazing progress on the New Hope Hospital, which by the time of this writing is now in operation and seeing patients, as well as St. Anthony’s Clinic.

The final day brought a visit to the Blue Hills area, where Espwa had provided some capital for the community to purchase benches and chalkboards for the school.  This is the same school where Espwa medical teams provide checkups during medical trips.  Haitians from the community used the money to purchase lumber and pay local tradesmen to construct the benches and chalkboards.

Sharing the amazing experiences of Haiti with long-time friends and new supporters alike continually drives our mission.  Until our next trip, thanks to all!


Flooding in Cap Haitien

It seems like we were just writing about the heavy rains that resulted from Hurricane Matthew and the waterborne diseases those rains can lead to. Unfortunately, we received word that even more flooding has hit Cap Haitien after many days of sustained heavy rain.  10 people have died in the flooding (to our knowledge), 600+ homes were destroyed, and many vehicles and possessions have simply been swept away.  

Espwa made an emergency fund distribution to Dr. Eugene, who purchased sanitation supplies to hand out to local families affected by the flooding.  Here are a few photos of the distribution taking place this past week.  

If you feel led to contribute to the relief effort, please click the link below and designate your donation for “Flooding Relief.”  

Support Flooding Relief


New Hope is Here!

We received word and some very encouraging photos from Dr. Eugene that the New Hope Hospital had its opening ceremony on Thursday!  If you remember from only 18 months ago, we were standing on a newly poured foundation, with rebar everywhere, but not much else.  Talk about a Herculean effort in such a short amount of time!  

The beauty of this project is that only Haitian labor was used to construct all three floors, all the way down to the finishing touches of tile work and painting.  Some American teams did donate their engineering talents (such as the non-profit, Dlo Geri, which added a working water system throughout the hospital), but day in and day out, Haitians made this hospital come alive.  It has been very exciting to see Dr. Eugene’s dream become a reality.  

In its opening weekend, the hospital saw 51 patients on Friday and 80 on Saturday.  In the pictures that follow, you can even see the microscope and centrifuge donated by Espwa getting some use!

While we’ve supported the hospital construction effort, we know there is more work to be done.  We hope to fill a sea container with medical equipment and other needed items in early 2017.  Be on the lookout for how you can help in the coming months.  There was also a fundraiser started by one of our supporters who is trying to purchase an ambulance for the hospital (click here to see it).  For a community that has never had access to legitimate health care, the hospital is a game changer. We want to ensure it has the tools it needs to remain sustainable for the long haul. 

Can’t wait to send our first medical team down to support Doc and the new hospital next spring.


Hurricane Matthew Relief

Just when you think that Haiti is finally on the road to recovery, natural disaster strikes again.  Hurricane Matthew ripped through the southwestern tip of Haiti before it continued on its path between Cuba and Haiti.  To date, there have been over 1,000 deaths, complete destruction of crops in some areas, and over 60,000 displaced.  

matthewpath

With such a dire situation in the south, it seems somewhat distasteful to tout our better circumstances up in the northwest section of Haiti, which was largely unaffected by the hurricane.  We have heard from our folks on the ground that everyone is safe, and that the city was mainly hit with heavy rains.  All we can say is praise the Lord for this blessing in a time of great need.  

Our in-country medical director, Dr. Eugene, relayed this message: “Thanks to all of you who have reached out to check in with us. We had a lot of rain in Cap-Haitien but not too much damage. Now our main concern is that cholera and other waterborne diseases will be on the rise after the Hurricane. Our hearts are with the thousands of Haitians in shelters across the country and those who did not have shelters to go to.”  

Doc also asked for prayers and for any financial support that could assist with the fight against waterborne diseases.  Without improved sanitation, excess rainwater causes sewage to mix with everything and people always get sick.  Unfortunately, we will continue to have this problem until the infrastructure of Haiti improves, to include better sanitation systems and more effective rainwater runoff areas.  The heavy deforestation in Haiti (caused largely by the desire to make charcoal for personal use and for sale) has had many third order effects, and this happens to be one of them.  Without the needed trees that absorb much of the runoff, water and mudslides plague the mountainous areas. 

Even before the recent rains, Dr. Eugene has been passionate about fighting cholera. He’s traveled to many neighboring regions to distribute sanitation supplies, such as chlorine, soap, hand sanitizer, Aquatabs, and other hygiene items that prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.  This time has been no different.  The photos below show his latest distribution for the community surrounding St. Anthony’s clinic, where he serves each Monday. 

We want to say thank you to all of the supporters who have and will donate to this cause.  Through your efforts, Doc has been able to purchase the needed sanitation supplies and distribute them throughout the areas affected by heavy rains.  Thank you again!


Anne at College

For those of you who’ve been on a trip with us, you’ve likely been impacted by the loving smile and warm personality of Anne Lormeus.  An EBAC graduate, Anne has translated for our teams, assisted on medical trips, and been part of several Haitian choir albums.  Anne now embarks on a new journey, pursuing an accounting degree in Port au Prince.  Espwa wants to see Anne succeed and has raised enough funds for her first year.  We’ll be taking this a year at a time and monitoring her progress, but we expect big things.  If you would like to contribute to her schooling, click on her photo.  Funds received at this point will go to her second year.


Jovenel’s Dream

If you’ve been following Jovenel’s story for long, you know that he and his Agrolide organization have bigger dreams than simply owning and operating the first farm.  To hear more about Jovenel’s vision, check out the latest in our project video series: 

Thank you so much to Regan Kramer Media for this production.  If you’d like to donate specifically to this project, please click the link below and designate your gift for “New Farm” at our donation site, Razoo.   

Support the New Farm


Toxic Charity Review

Our latest review covers the book Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, and How to Reverse It by Robert Lupton.

toxic-charityToxic Charity provides an excellent reminder that we must always think critically about how our giving impacts those we seek to help.  It shines a spotlight on the problem of charities and churches who believe they are helping the poor, but are really engaging in activities that create dependency and destroy dignity.  

As an example, Lupton illustrates a ministry that for years had collected Christmas gifts to distribute to families in the inner city.  I’m sure you’ve heard of something similar.  Over the years, a trend was observed. When the donors would distribute gifts to the families, the kids were obviously excited…they were getting new toys. The mothers in the home would grin and bear it for the sake of the kids. But the fathers were nowhere to be found. They would leave the room or choose not to be home altogether.  The whole affair cut right at their dignity as male role models and providers for their families.  Over time, the ministry morphed into a Christmas store where community members could come and find bargains, using their own money to purchase gifts instead of accepting handouts. If they couldn’t afford gifts, the ministry would put them to work at the store so they could raise their own funds to purchase gifts. The dramatic transformation from dignity stealing to dignity giving made a huge impact in that community.  Wherever we serve, be it the inner city or abroad, we need to think about whether our actions empower, give dignity, and point others to their value in Christ. 

Similar to how medical professionals are bound by the Hippocratic Oath, Lupton believes a new oath should govern the non-profit industry.  He calls it the “Oath for Compassionate Service,” and here it is in its entirety:

  • Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves
  • Limit one-way giving to emergency situations
  • Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements
  • Subordinate self-interest to the needs of those being served
  • Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said – unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service
  • Above all, do no harm