Monday, October 19, 2009

For several years Jean Toussaint has not been able to go to church. He has wanted to go, but it was just too difficult. Jean & Sonia Toussaint are the houseparents at the Cazeau Orphanage.
About ten years or so ago Jean was shot in the back in a random shooting. A bullet fragment is still lodged in his spine, partially paralyzing him. He can use a walker and wheelchair to get around. The walker is difficult with the terrain at the orphanage and surrounding neighborhood, where Jean & Sonia lived before coming to work with HFHC. The wheelchair is equally difficult to navigate.
Last month, thanks to the generosity of one of my very best friends (and good friend of HFHC), a dream was realized! We were able to pave a path from the houseparent quarters (on the orphanage compound), put a door in the wall between the orphanage and church properties, pave a walkway from the wall to the church building so that Jean can go to church! He and Sonia are so thankful and happy!
Along with this walkway some other work was done that we've been wanting to get done. The walkway between the girls' dorm and dining hall was paved. This area held water every time it rained and bred mosquitoes. So this helps the health issues and laundry issues.
Right: Picking Grapes
Dorm & Dining Hall
Sonia has an incredible green-thumb! She has transformed the orphange compound from a drab, rocky desert to a lush oasis! Her grapevine stretches from one side of the compound all the way to the middle of the compound. It not only produces lots of grapes that the children love to eat, but also good shade for a respite from the sun.
This is Woody. When he first came to the orphanage he was terrified of me - the first white person he had ever seen up close and personal. James used to carry Woody, kicking, screaming and crying to say hello to me. It got to where he would run and hide when he heard me come in. Now he runs to greet me with a kiss and smile and will even pose for pictures!
And you haven't seen little Bijou in a while. She has been busy digging tunnels lately and eating whole plantain and mango trees. Always something to do!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The two little guys - Gabriel and Ovens are our newest members of the Cazeau family. They came to live at the orphanage in mid and late September. They have both adjusted very well. Are they cute or what?? Ovens was a little overwhelmed when I took his picture. He had only been at the orphanage about a day and just didn't know what to think. When I saw him a couple days later her had warmed up and remembered the names of his roomies. Gabriel - he had only been there a day also when I took his photo, but had warmed up to every one and was all smiles. Jacob and Fritz both turned 18 this summer and as per policy went back to family members to live. This freed up two spaces in the boys dorms for Ovens and Gabriel. Fritz and Jacob are still in our education sponsorship program and are doing well in school and life!
Moving Gregory
On October 1, we officially closed the transition house.
The week before we spent most of the week helping the kids move their belongings to their homes. Each of them either found family members to go live with or went in with one or two others to rent a room. One of them, Natacha, even moved to the Dominican Republic to continue with the small business she had begun, buying and selling used clothing, toiletries and gift items.
Musset has been blessed with the opportunity to go to a local university and study general engineering and architecture. His step-mother offered for him to come live with her and her two children.
Franqueline has 2 years left to finish in a vocational program (sewing). When she finished she will be able to make a living sewing for people. School uniforms are a big business here! She is also starting a small business selling miscellaneous items.
Louslande has one year to finish school and is selling cookies and candies to earn a living in the meantime.
Silionor graduated in June and he and brother Fito are sharing a room they rented. Fito has two years left and Fales has one left to finish high school. Fales bought a small used motorcycle, hired a driver and now has a moto-taxi service.
Gregory is living with his brother Clifford. Clifford is paying for Gregory to finish school. Gregory is observing in his new neighborhood to determine the best small business to get involved with.
Samuel and Shirley still had a good bit of school left. Samuel is living with one of his older brothers and Shirley moved in with a woman in the church.
Even though it was a hard decision to make in closing the house, it in the long term will be what is best for each of these young people. They all have been given a firm foundation on which to stand. Please keep them in your prayers, that they will walk in the ways they have learned.
After a long wait for customs to tell us how much they wanted in taxes, we got the 2 vehicles that had been ordered back in December 2008. One of the vehicles is for Pacius. Pacius works with the Haiti Christian Developement Project and helps us an awful lot with HFHC projects. His truck came into the port the first week of April. The vehicle for HFHC came in the first week of July.
A little over a week ago we were able to get both of the vehicles' plates and "assurance" and drive them away! Pacius had to wait another ten days to finally see and drive his truck. He and his wife had left the day before for a visit in the US.
We are really blessed to have good, reliable transportation. I know the person who made it all possible wouldn't want to be named, but God knows and will bless according to His good will.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jouvens, Finder, Love-Myrtha
Tim & I are really getting to know the neighbors now that they know we are not going to eat them. There are 3 little children along the drive from the main road in Thomazeau to our house. They were always out on the road waiting for us to come by (wanting cookies!) even during school hours.
After checking with our other neighbor Souvenir, who is also the principal of the closest school, we found out that their parents are either deceased or MIA. They live with an aunt who has no employment. She is taking care of these three children and their older sister (14 years old), who also has a baby who is almost a year old. So we decided to put them in school. I went last week and enrolled them at Souvenir's school. Then I went to Croix des Bouquet to purchase the fabric for the uniforms. Souvenir's friend is a tailor and agreed to give me the "Haitian" price for sewing the uniforms. Even if it wasn't the "Haitian" price, I think it was good - he charged me $30 to sew 6 uniforms and he did it in 2 and a half days. We've gotten about half of the books they need.
In Haiti, children are sent home if they come to school without their uniform, the right color of shoes, belt, socks and hair bows. They have to buy their own uniform and all their own books. Plus they have to pay registration and other fees and tuition. This all costs what we would not consider to be all that much, but for a family who has NO income, it is beyond their hopes and dreams to be able to send their children to school. Last week I sent an email to 3 of the HFHC staff (Jennifer, Jenny & Lori) for shoes, belts, socks, etc because I knew they had younger children and Mike (one of our board members) was coming in a few days. Well, they came through for Love-Myrtha, Jouvens and Finder (pronounced Fender)! Their kids sent shoes that they had not yet even had a chance to wear, hair stuff, some socks, etc. Mike bought 3 little book bags and brought them along. The shoes sent by the Fridge and Anthony families were perfect fits!
When Tim was in Charlotte for the annual men's retreat, a brother at Providence Road church (Juan) gave Tim some cash to use "as needed". We still need to get a few more books and some other misellaneous items, but all in all, we have been able to put these 3 children in school for the entire school year for $300! And that is thanks to all these mentioned who also participated.
The kids are so excited to be able to go to school and they are very happy that on Monday they will be able to wear their new uniforms. The day after we went to the tailor and had them measured for their uniforms we heard singing voices coming up the driveway. Jouvens, Love-Myrtha and Finder were bringing gifts and singing songs of thanksgiving. They brought little trees they had dug up and put in old tin cans for us to plant in our yard. It was all very sweet.