We had a wonderful year in 2014 at FWAL. We shared many moments together this year like every family does, the good ones and the hard ones, the joyous moments and sometimes, sad moments. So we ended 2014 like a family, together with traditions.
As we have in the past, we celebrated New Year’s Eve with a big bonfire and hot dog roast. We started with some reflection about the year and the kids were encouraged to think of the important people in their lives, both at FWAL and elsewhere. We prayed for children staying at St. Damien’s Hospital and for those who are in difficult situations. We prayed for all the people who help make FWAL run, the staff, the caregivers, the volunteers, the visitors, fundraisers and donors.
After the prayers, the fire was lit and singing, dancing and conga line began. It was great fun to spend the evening together playing, laughing and roasting hot dogs, yum!! We also were very lucky to celebrate with a group of Italian visitors who brought sky lanterns and we sent our wishes for 2015 up into the sky.
The New Year Celebration is an important holiday because it marks the transition one from year to another, usually bringing with it remembrance of the past and hope and excitement for the future. Many countries have their own traditions to usher in a new year.
In Haiti, New Year’s Day holds a much bigger significance than just the change in year. January 1st is Haitian Independence Day, celebrating the day in1804 when Haiti was declared a free republic. Tradition holds that Haitians eat “Soup Joumou”, a delicious pumpkin soup with vegetables and meat, as part of the Independence Day celebration.
This Christmas has been a wonderful one for the Children of FWAL. Having been off school since earlier in December, the days were packed with many games, sports and other fun activities. However, most of the time was spent fine tuning each house’s Christmas song for the Annual Singing Competition.
Starting on December 16th, the children gathered together each night to hear a portion of the Christmas story and have a prayer together before the competition began. Over the course of four nights, the eight houses of St. Louis along with the baby house Kay St. Anne had the opportunity to preform their Christmas song routine twice for the group and a panel of judges. With all the talent we have here, it was not easy for the judges to select the 5 houses to move on to the semi finals and then the 3 houses to advance to the finals. Ultimately St. Anne, Kay Melon and Kay Pomme advanced to the finals.
Our nightly MC, Met Gehy, kept the pace upbeat with entertaining skits, challenging children, judges, caregivers and even Father Enzo to sing, dance, tell a joke, laugh from the belly or try to get a cookie from one’s forehead to mouth without hands. Each resulted in hilarity.
While all songs were about Christmas, some houses chose joyful songs, some more solemn. Some spoke of Papa Noel and some spoke to the hardships of Haiti and how Christmas is the time to celebrate peace. However, despite any differences, there always seemed to be the theme of together, hand in hand, we will celebrate.
On December 24th, we took a break from the competition for a Christmas eve celebration. Parents, siblings and other relatives came to visit during the day to spend time with the children. We ate together as a family outside under the trees with a beautiful meal of rice, chicken and beet salad. In the early evening, each house has a chance to take a swing at the piñatas they had previously created.
On December 25th, Father Enzo held a morning Christmas Mass and in the evening we had a huge party with Don Bosco high school and university students in attendance to cheer on our competition finalists. The costumes were taken up a notch, the cheers from the crowd were thundering and all three houses did a marvelous job singing about the joys of Christmas.
Kay St. Anne came out the winner this year, with their adorable and touching song about Christmas. Great job Kay St. Anne and all the St. Louis homes for their hard work and dedication.
We had a wonderful Christmas Celebration together and hope you had as well.
Check out our Earthquake Anniversary Trailer. Full video coming soon.
When we discuss the beauty of Christmas, a lot of times the message is lost in a sea of tinsel and wrapping paper. Christmas isn’t supposed to be just about Santa hats and gift requests, it’s really about the gifts of love, hope and light brought into our lives by the birth of the Christ child. It’s a simple and yet powerful message.
Despite humble beginnings, and hardships along the way, the gifts of joy, light, compassion and love are ever present here at Father Wasson’s Angels of Light Program.
You see the joy in a child playing with her friends, the compassion in a child stepping up to help another less able, the love for others in a child who shares the little they have with one who has none.
To see those gifts everyday is something those of us who work with the children are blessed to witness, and it’s something that inspires our visitors to join the extensive network of support that we have at FWAL.
In this is the season we celebrate Christmas, the origin of the joy, light, compassion, and love.
We wish you and your families a Merry Christmas filled with all the gifts we feel so fortunate to experience each day thanks to the generosity of those who support us, visit us and share their love with us.
From all the Staff and our beautiful Angels of Light at FWAL, Merry Christmas!!
As we at FWAL get ready to celebrate Christmas, we were blessed this year to participate in a beautiful party that has also been a tradition for the past four years. A Haitian organization dedicated to aiding the disadvantaged children of Haiti, called Sow A Seed, holds a yearly Spread the Joy party for children living in orphanages throughout the Port-au-Prince Area.
This year was just as spectacular as the previous years. Upon arrival, every child got an event t-shirt and a wrist band to identify their program. After a short ride down the hill, we descended on Santa’s Winter Wonderland! Santa, with some help from the plentiful Sow a Seed Volunteer crew, set up a fun filled festival full of dancing, games, and treats.
After posing and chatting with Santa himself, the kids ran off to explore all the fun at store. There were food stands with frozen treats, popcorn, cotton candy and lots of soda!! And plenty of entertainment options, some kids explored their artistic side painting small bags and getting their faces painted at the arts and crafts tent. Others burned off their sugar energy jumping in one of the two bouncy houses or dancing to the DJ’s music.
After a yummy lunch of chicken and rice, everyone lined up for the candy house where volunteers filled a paper bag with lots and lots of tasty candy treats! Everyone exited that house with a giant smile!
The day ended with a big dance party as homes were called to pick up their parting Christmas gift. The children were so thrilled with their day of fun and beautiful new gifts, the wrapping paper didn’t stand a chance!
Thank you to Sow a Seed for keeping up this beautiful tradition that the children have come to look forward to each year!