God hears the cry of the poor…. blessed be his hands.Five HUGE boxes of shoes just arrived from Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tuscon Arizona in response to the blog Denise wrote this past fall: "Overwhelmed!" In that blog she shared the frustration of watching children being turned away from school because of lack of shoes. These shoes, and the others that have been donated, will be sent to Haiti on our annual sea container this coming spring.
Our best wishes to all of you. Many of you will receive a copy of this in your mailbox in the next few weeks. Please click on the link to enjoy and share now.
Bob and Denise
We are back with our Annual Haitian Art Advent Sale. We have many gift items starting at $4 for handmade tin art Christmas tree ornaments. There are many new items, along with our traditional vanilla and our very own “The Haiti Lady’s”, handmade chocolate. Our chocolate is made with cocoa beans grown at the Fr. Jim Agriculture Center, sun dried, roasted over an open fire, cleaned and then pounded into a paste in Gasin, Haiti. It is then brought back to the US, where Denise and her staff of volunteers turn it into chocolate bars.
Remember gifts bought from the Haiti Project give three times, once to the Haitian artist that made the gift, second to your gift recipient, and third, to The Haiti Project.
This weekend, December 2nd and 3rd. St Joe Huntsville, Alabama
December 9th and 10th. St. Thomas Cookeville, TN
December 17th St. Andrew Sparta, TN
If you are interested in Haitian art and are unable to see us at one of these events, please contact us.
New beginning this year!
100% of the sale price of “The Haiti Lady’s” chocolate bars goes to buy food for the children’s school lunch. All ingredients, transportation and labor, from bean to wrapped chocolate bars, are donated.
This is important because $10 US dollars = 40 school lunches. That’s forty children…, yes 40.
God Bless one and all, we look forward to seeing you soon. Bob and Denise
November 14, 2017
The time is flying by. November 4th we went to Port Au Prince to pick up our friend Chris Jones , he has been a team member for several years. He came with a cell signal amplifying device to improve our internet. Our internet is improved, we don’t have to go out on the roof to make or receive a phone call. We found late at night, when not many people are using the internet it works really well. We will need to experiment with it to see how we can maximize its capabilities.
Chris also brought over a hundred pairs of shoes. We divided them between two of our schools, fitting the children was a telling story. Many of the children had shoes that were too small. One little girl had two different shoes on. She also had a missing toe nail and an infected toe. The children were very happy to receive the shoes. Many thanks to the people of Dexter Michigan, for donating shoes to the “Creamery” for the school children here in Haiti.
We are having many last-minute meetings with all the groups we are working with. Our cultures are so different that getting a point across can take a very long time. In the US we are taught from the time we are young children how to work in community. Because of our education we are able to understand concepts in-depth (ie density). We try to develop our projects so the community receiving the help also has a realistic investment in the project. This is not the way the Haitians are used to. For years groups come in to Haiti and make changes and then leave. We are far more invested and are asking the same in return from the community. This is a new concept and has been a real challenge to execute. I don’t think there will be much progress while we are gone.
On our way to Port u Prince to get Chris, we stopped and visited a project that starts fruit trees and gives them to people. Tom Baarak runs the project and is very knowledgeable on tropical trees and was a wealth of information. He also gifted us with many new varieties of trees and flowers for our center.
I spent Thursday morning roasting and peeling the cocoa. This took over three hours with many hands helping. I was happy to realize I could follow the conversations around the table and insert my thought or feelings on the subject. This has been a long time coming, lots of studying. Bob’s Creole is also coming; he was able to address the church, without help of an interrupter.
Leaving is always a mixed bag. We are tired and ready to see our wonderful family. Bob and I already have a schedule to visit many of the churches back home that support The Haiti Project. But we are also sad to leave our friends here, and the many projects we have going.
All and all it will be wonderful to be home. We plan to return to Haiti in January and stay until March, then we will go home to pack the shipping container.
Look forward to seeing many of you. Thank you for your prayers, support, and interest,
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October 25, 2017
A different side of Haiti
Bob and I are spending this week helping out at Mathew 25.Mathew 25 is the Parish Twinning Program’s guest house. It is located in an upper middle class neighborhood in Port Au Prince. They have a Haitian staff and usually American that hosts for a year. The American they had this year needed to cut her stay short so presently they are looking for someone to fill this position. Because of our close ties and support we receive from PTPA Bob and I came to help out with a busy week for the staff. There has been a large group and several other guests here this week.
The devoted teams and individuals we have met are inspiring, we have been able to share ideas and get new insights into our work. As always when serving the Lord, we are receiving more than we have been giving. For some of the guests this is their first visit to Haiti, hearing their impressions brings a new light to our understanding of Haiti. Bob and I have realized we need to be more proactive with encouraging people to visit Haiti. So here is an open invitation to all of you to come and see firsthand what your donations are accomplishing.
The woman who runs Mathew 25 is named Phaimie , she is a lovely middle aged Haitian woman with endless energy. Venders selling fresh fruits and vegetables come to the front gate each morning; I find it a lovely site to watch her choose fresh food for the evening meal. With about thirty guests staying here this week we are glad to be able to help her with all the questions and needs of the guests
The contrast of the people living in this neighborhood is vast. People here are educated; they have cars, electricity, internet, and running water. The children go to school; they all seem to have nice clothes and shoes. We have not been told all week that someone is hungry or asked for money. Having an education makes such a difference in people’s lives; thank you to all of you that are helping the children in our area have an opportunity to receive an education. We truly believe this is making a tremendous difference to the future for the communities in Riviere Mancelle.
We are also taking advantage of being in Port au Prince to purchase art for our Christmas sales when we get home. We found a wonderful store that sold to us wholesale. We found many new items we have not carried before, and some things we have but at a better price. We look forward to sharing these items with you when we return.
After shopping we visited a historic, Hotel Oloffson, this was the setting for the popular novel The Comedians, and had lunch. This was like an hour of vacation, which we really enjoyed. While here in Port au Prince we also got our truck maintenance taken care of.
The people from our village have called to check on us several times. They are always concerned for our safety. I miss them and certainly prefer our life in the country, although having internet access is very nice. We have been able to call our family and friends on face book messenger which helps with the home sickness part of our work here.
Thank you for your prayers and your interest,
October 16th, 2017
Thank you , Thank you !
The response to our need for shoes has been over whelming. Next year we should have shoes for all of our school children. What a wonderful gift. The generosity of all of you brings tears to my eyes. I am sure you will all be blessed for your kindness.
Last week was a very busy week. We traveled to Atrell an area half way to Kalabot. The road was very bad because of all the rain we have had, and a lot of the road is driving through the river. I thank the Lay Salvatorians regularly for the gift of our truck our ministry would not function without it. We helped build a school in this area several years ago. The winds we experienced from hurricane Irma has pulled up part of the roof. The school needs 50 sheet of tin (they are much smaller here) some tar, nails, and a few boards to repair their roof. We told the director of the school we would be willing to give them the materials, and pay for the “boss man” but they would need to get the parents of the school involved to help in the repairs. The people of the Parishes of St. Thomas and St. Andrews sent roof paint for three of the schools with tin roofs this year. This is one of the schools so the paint will protect the roof from further damage.
Bob and I hosted another agricultural workshop this past weekend. Alex Olivier and agronomist who works with the vanilla came and taught about the importance of vanilla to helping farmers improve their incomes. Because he now knows a little English and my Creole is better we were able to communicate much better. His project in LImbe produced a good crop last year. He told me that my plants are old enough now and should produce next year. When we return in January he will come back to teach me how to stress the plants to encourage them to bloom. They should begin to bloom in late March early April, he will return to show me how to pollinate the flowers. This will mean I will have to return to Haiti in April. We will then have our first beans in June (another trip). The beans will need to be dried, then there is a fermenting process that will require research for me to understand. The drying and fermenting process takes nine months to complete.
This is a project we have been working on for several years. Currently we have thirty- six plants growing at the center. Farmers that attended a workshop a couple of years ago bought plants and some are growing, each person that attended this workshop got two free plants. We will plant another twenty plants at the center this week.
Our goal is that the income from this project will be able to sustain our projects here when we are too old to continue our work here. The young people we are helping to get sponsors for their education will have the skills to run the center, market the products, continue educating the farmers, and administrate the funds to help the community. This is a big dream I can start to see coming together. My heart is singing with joy!
The workshop also included a session on vermi-compost (compost made by worms). We have had great success at the center with this and are producing a lot of compost. This compost has many more rewards than using commercial fertilizer. Our good friend Elwood came and taught the local farmers about how to create and then use the compost. The soil here in Haiti is very poor, this is a way to feed their plants and improve their soil.
I want to share a little more about life here. Last Thursday in preparing for our guests arriving Friday (Elwood, Anita, Alex, and Wilda) I put together a pineapple upside down cake and put in the solar oven. It seems that within minute of putting the cake in the oven the sky clouded up. The ladies and I washed a ton of laundry, and hung it up to dry. I realized my cake was not going to bake so I started a fire in the rocket stove and used the oven Robert Fairchild built to go on top of it. Because I had a fire going I decided to go ahead and prepare the spaghetti sauce for Saturday night. This took all day I finished at three o’clock in time to take the laundry down.
I thought about how hard it is for the woman here. I then realized, they would not bake a cake they wouldn’t have the flour, eggs and sugar to spare. Not to mention they don’t have ovens solar or otherwise. I wash clothes in wash tubs, with a hand crank wringer in the roof using a hose for the water, I did not have to carry the laundry down to the river or carry water to my yard to do the wash. I have clothes lines and clothes pins, I do not have to lay the clothes on rocks or over bushes. My life here is much easier than theirs and I should not complain.
Thank you for all your prayers and your interest,