St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic
The prevalence of easily treatable illnesses in many Haitian communities is staggering. Day in and day out, children are burdened with infections, parasites, and mosquito- and water-borne pathogens that could be eradicated through a simple doctor’s visit. In 2006, Espwa President Jennifer Schmidt, a Certified Nurse Practitioner, witnessed this overwhelming need for medical care and decided to do something about it. In conjunction with Food for the Poor, St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic was born. The clinic now serves over 10,000 individuals in the Fort St. Michele community of Cap Haitien and is open 5 days per week. It is staffed with three nurses and a lab tech, and our Medical Director, Dr. Eugene Maklin, provides patient care twice per week.
Espwa has delivered thousands of medications and medical supplies to St. Anthony’s since its inception, and provides funds as needed for the purchase of essential medications and sanitation supplies in-country. When the sweltering summer heat fills the building, the generator provided by Espwa keeps the fans running and lab equipment operating. Other Espwa contributions include tables, chairs, file cabinets, building maintenance, and recurring support for one nurse, a security guard, and cleaning staff. The smiles of healthy children and appreciative parents continue to remind us of the value of St. Anthony’s to the community.
Peace & Joy Orphanage
During an Espwa medical trip in 2011, our local Haitian contacts alerted us to great needs at Peace & Joy Orphanage. The 600 square foot cement building housed over 20 orphans, lacked clean water, had no bathroom, and had one non-functioning light bulb. The kids were malnourished, and worst of all, had lost hope due to their terrible conditions. One little 2 year old girl in particular, Berline, was so malnourished that we weren’t confident she would survive much longer.
At the time, Espwa’s primary mission had been medical relief, but this situation couldn’t simply be ignored. We dug in and worked to positively impact the children’s lives. The team arranged for food delivery and paid the annual rent for the building. We built relationships during trips and delivered food, clothes, toys, and shoes. We also began the tradition of an annual beach trip with all the children.
By 2013, little Berline’s goofy smile had returned and she was growing into a healthy toddler. Yet, the overall situation at the ‘orphanage’ remained bleak. As we began to dig deeper into the facility’s operations, the trustworthiness of the staff was called into question. Combined with the continued lack of sanitation and clean water, we realized a new approach was in order. See the Current Projects page for more information about our follow-on project, which we are calling the Peace & Joy Family Project.
Haitian Creole Tour
In 2009, Espwa Vice President Chris Pfeiffer became friends with a young Haitian man named Frantz Louis-Charles while serving at EBAC Orphanage for over 7 weeks. Frantz was a bright, outgoing student at EBAC Christian Academy and a solid Christian young man. Over the years, Frantz proved to be an asset during Espwa trips due to his talents as a translator, leader, and connector. Throughout the years since 2009, Chris and Frantz often discussed Frantz’s future and how he could use these God-given talents to make a living and impact others.
On a November 2013 trip, the discussion turned to a potential tourism business that Frantz could manage. Over the course of the next year, Frantz researched, planned, and strategized a business model that could connect travelers to translators, transportation, hotels, and the beauty of Haiti. With some startup capital from Espwa in 2014, Frantz launched Haitian Creole Tour. The company now has a storefront in Cap Haitien and a professional website and has connected multiple teams and travelers to the resources of Haiti.
Son de Soley Album
Having served in-country for so long, we’ve come to notice plenty of misrepresentation of Haiti in the media. While Haiti has its share of problems just like any country, we feel it’s important to show it in an honest light, which can be so very beautiful. Often times, finding that beauty means not looking, but instead listening. We’ve had the privilege of building relationships with several Haitian choirs in the Cap Haitien area – choirs that produce some of the most beautiful sounds in the world.
In 2011, we had the opportunity to record an album featuring several of our friends from a local orphanage. We called this project Son de Soley. Proceeds from sales of the album have been earmarked for college expenses when these friends graduate primary school. To sample the Son de Soley album, please visit the Bandcamp site below. Any and all purchases at the site go directly back to the choirs.