Denny and I(Abby) were able to go to Haiti in April and then again in June. Two trips in 2 months? Awesome!
We had SUCH an amazing time during both trips and I want fill you in on all the great stuff happening in Pignon thanks to the partnership between you(Loving Haiti) and Pastor Francois(Philadelpia Baptist Church in Pignon, Haiti).
1. The Kids. The Kids! THE KIDS!!!!
Oh my word. The kids looked absolutely fabulous. Like, the BEST they have ever looked since we began our partnership four years ago. The kids are healthy, strong, clean, and SO JOYFUL. They are energetic, kind, sweet, thoughtful, and loving. When we began our partnership there were about 35 kids living in the Children’s Home. Now, there are 53! Their house mom, Madam Nicole(former orpahan in the Children’s home) is an outstanding mom to these kids. She takes care of them, keeps them in line and most of all, LOVES them dearly.
They are blessed to have Pastor Francois, Madame, Madame Nicole and the other great workers loving on them and taking such great care of them. The youngest child living in the Children’s home is about 1 year-old and the oldest 20-ish. It was fun meeting the new children and reconnecting with the ones we already knew. Most of the new kids are very young. A few of them were pretty unsure about Denny and I. They cried and cried anytime we tried to hold them. Eventually a few gave in 😉
Three of the former kids in the Children’s Home are now living with Pastor’s son, Alden, in Cap Haitian and going to school there. Another girl from the Children’s Home is now married and living in Pignon with her husband and new baby! There were a few improvements to the Children’s Home as well. The outside patio now has concrete bench along the edge of it, and the house and patio walls were painted blue.
The boys also started a garden.
The Children’s Home kids are one of a kind. Most of them come from VERY hard places. Pastor’s Children’s Home offers them HOPE and a new start at life. One of his most recent additions to the Children’s home was a Restavek(child slave) before someone asked Pastor to take her in. She had an absolutely horrible life and has changed so much in the short time she as been at the Children’s Home. She now smiles, is getting an education, and has a “family” who loves her dearly.
2. The Property
Wow, the compound looks absolutely gorgeous. Due to the access to water(well) and Pastor’s passion for plants, the property is covered in beautiful green plants, bushes, trees, grass and bright red and pink flowers.
The cafeteria and kitchen floor and now have tile instead of a dirt floor, keeping everything much cleaner!
The hospitality house is looking great with it’s new roof, new windows, and newly tiled bathroom floors.
The front gate is completely finished and looks beautiful.
Wi-Fi?!?! Yes, Wi-Fi! As long as the compound has power, the WiFi works. What a crazy difference this made for us. We were able to Facetime our kids, post pics, and check our e-mail.
3. The School
Thanks to consistent monthly support this past school year, the school is on the upswing and they are hoping to hire 2 or 3 new teachers this Fall to teach their new Kindergarten program, “KinderPhila”. The new kinder building is under construction and they believe they will have around 150-200 children from the town enter this new Kindergarten program, in addition to the 250 students already attending the school.
There are only a few kindergarten programs in Pignon and they are very expensive. Pastor Francois’ desire is to provide a quality education to the poor people in the community who could normally not afford to send their kids to school.
We were able to visit Pido and Darling’s shops in town. Darling’s copy machines are both showing error codes and not working :/ Darling had a hard time understanding the guy on the other end of the line so Denny tried calling the help line to speak on Darling’s behalf but they were closed for the weekend. Hopefully he can get them up and running again soon.
Loving Haiti also gave out a new microloan to Darling’s mom. She is a school teacher and out of work for the summer so she would like to start selling food at the market. Here is a picture of Darling explaining the contract to her.
5. Widow’s Group
Every Saturday widow’s come from the community to get rice, oil, mangoes and any other items they might need, from Pastor Francois.
This widow pictured below used to live on the compound but now lives outside the compound at Pastor’s old house. She is so sweet and we love seeing her every trip.
6. Community Help
A mother of a young woman who can’t walk, came to Pastor Francois while we were vising hoping that Loving Haiti could help her out. She showed us a tiny picture of her 20-ish year old daughter in a wheelchair. They both live in Pignon. Her wheelchair has since broken and she was in need of a new one. We took a short, 10 minute walk in the blazing heat in the middle of the afternoon to her tiny house to meet her daughter who was sitting outside on a little stool. Her beautiful daughter was laughing with some neighbor kids and had the most beautiful smile. We introduced, ourselves, explained who we were and told her we’d try and find her a new wheelchair. When we returned back to the compound we asked Pastor how he met this mother who came to him to him for help. He said many people ask him for help. This lady in particular wasn’t a member of his church but probably knew about the work he does and his partnership with Loving Haiti hoping he could find help for his daughter. Pastor explained how the hospital SHOULD be helping out and taking care of her and providing her with a wheelchair and that it was a shame they didnt’ have a hospital that operated in that way.
7. Widow’s House
We visited the home of the Widow who’s house burnt down last Fall, with one of her kids dying in the house fire. Their original home was built with wood and sticks, so it easily caught on fire. Loving Haiti donated money to help with the rebuilding of the house. The church and community members helped to build and furnish it.
8. Easter Egg Hunt
Denny, Carl and Sigi threw an Easter Egg hunt for the Children’s Home in 2013. Since our April trip was the week following Easter we decided to do another Easter Egg hunt. The kids remembered the hunt from a few years ago and were so excited. About 20 different families in Fort Collins donated filled eggs to for us to take with us. The older kids in the Children’s Home helped us hide the eggs and then grabbed the youngest children by hand and helped them during the hunt. The kids were THRILLED to find chocolate in almost every egg. Chocolate is hard to come by in Haiti. It melts within minutes in the hot Haitian sun.
Each year, we attempt to interview each child living in the Children’s Home. We ask the kids questions about what they like, what they want to be, and how old they are. This is always a favorite time for us. I love hearing the kids’ passions, desires, and just staring into their beautiful sweet faces. My Creole has gotten much better since our first interviews so I could actually understand almost everything they were saying. Darling of course served as our interpreter which was a huge help when all I could make out was tiny whispers.
10. Haiti Home of Hope Feeding Clinic
We love visiting Bill and Jennifer Campbell who are American missionaries living in Pignon. Their organization is called Haiti Home of Hope. Among many things they do, they run a feeding clinic that helps give formula and food to starving babies and children. People walk miles and miles(HOURS) to get to this clinic. Countless lives have been saved because of their great work. Denny and I had a pleasure of “helping” at their clinic.
11. New Computer
Pastor has hired someone to come teach the older kids how to use a computer. We purchased a laptop for them to use and they were thrilled to start using it.
12. Soccer Gear
A bunch of families in Fort Collins donated new or gently used soccer gear for us to take to the boys. THEY LOVED their new clothes!
13. New Generator
Pastor and Madame’s current generator was very small, unreliable and couldn’t power the entire compound. Thanks to a generous donor we were able to drive to Port au Prince and purchase a new generator for the compound. It’s 3x as powerful as their old one!
14. New House
Pastor and Madame will begin building their new house in the exact spot where they are pictured below. They are so excited.
We had an absolutely fabulous time in Pignon and can’t wait to go back.
Thank you for your generous support.
It’s making such a positive impact in the community of Pignon.
Abby and Denny Bain