A Special Gift for all our Children from a Godparent

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As you all know we are a big family. Not only WE here at FWAL, but also together with you – all of our Godparents, friends and supporters. As a family, there is a lot of sharing going on through prayers, writing and sending letters, receiving little presents and through donations.

As a Godparent you support one child, but at the same time you support our whole family, because we are all brothers and sisters.

Recently a Godparent of Wisly*, a teenage boy at FWAL, wanted to do something for him but at the same time also give something to all the children at FWAL – Wisly’s brothers and sisters, and he came up with this lovely idea.

He sent us, through the sponsorship office, the possibility to buy ice cream for all the children of FWAL, and what a surprise and feast it was.

Our sponsorship office organized everything but you have to understand that this is quite an undertaking, because someone had to go to Petionville to purchase the ice cream with our van, which can take about an hour and a half one way. Then at the ice cream store, they have to fill the buckets that we brought ourselves and then drive home. Often the van will have to drive very slowly because of traffic jams and bad roads and don’t forget the temperature here is close to 32 C and it heats up nicely inside the van.

Our sponsorship team knew what they are doing and they protected the buckets, arriving with creamy, sweet tasting, cold strawberry and chocolate ice cream.

Wisly, a very talented young man who loves to dance, act, sing and drum, is also very kind and sensitive. He did his share of helping with the ice cream and was very proud that his Godfather thought of something so nice and that he could help make come true.

This was a very special and rare occasion for our children and everyone just loved it.

Each group of children, in a very orderly manner, formed a line to receive their ‘treasure’. They then returned to their sear to enjoy the treat in the presence of their brothers and sisters, happy and joyful knowing that there are people all around the world thinking of them and sharing in our family love.

We all want to thank you very much for being part of our family and a special ‘thank you’ to Wisly’s Godparent.

Mesi, mesi anpil! From all the children of FWAL!

Contributed by Joanne Schipper
Program Consultant

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Kerline St. Fleur, Social Work Director

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Kerline was born on May 18th, 1984. She lives at Delmas in Port-au-Prince and has a son who is almost a year old. Kerline is the director of the social work office of FWAL and has worked with FWAL for about three and a half years.

Kerline grew up in St. Helene, the NPH orphanage in Kenscoff and went to school there. Later she studied informatics, data processing and language translation. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Creole. These skills are now useful in her job with FWAL as she is in contact with NPH foreign offices and visitors.

When she finished school, Kerline started working as an assistant accountant in Kenscoff, but she then moved to Tabarre where she worked for the St. Luke Foundation, a sister organization of NPH. Kerline worked as a teacher in the street schools. After two years at St. Luke she moved to the Dominican Republic to live and work for a tourist office.

While living in the DR, the earthquake hit Haiti. Kerline wanted to return to Haiti to help. In May she returned to Haiti and talked with Kenson Kaas, who at that time was also working for FWAL – they knew each other from St. Helene. Through Kenson she found work in the FWAL program, first working in the big kitchen providing food for 2,000 children daily, but she was anxious to apply her gifts in an area where they were needed.

Kerline is responsibility that all the case files on our children are up to date. She documents and investigates each social situation of the children who are admitted to FWAL’s programs – St. Louis and St. Anne. She enjoys this part of her work because she is curious and interested in seeking the best solution for the child and family. After the initial investigation, it is up to the social office and the program director to make the decision if a child will be admitted.

Kerline has good communication skills and she likes to talk with people. She knows how to make the parent(s) and family members feel at ease and comfortable. But she also understands very well the situation of most Haitians who come to an orphanage to ask for help to take over the care of their children. She knows what questions to ask. It is not easy to get the full and true story because people are sometimes withdrawn and do not always want to talk about the things they’ve been through. The circumstances of where most children come from, due to poverty and violence, needs to be handled very delicately.

Kerline and her team also keep in contact with the parent(s) and other family members of the children living in FWAL for other reasons. For example some of our children will go home on some weekends or they will be reunited with their family when the child is older. It is the social office task to keep track of the home situation and possibilities of the family to be reunited with their child. Also looking into the family situation gives FWAL a good insight in what different families need and how we can help them.

Kerline has also been asked to help in our homes of FWAL if there are specific issues with children and it is hard for the house director and childcare workers to handle the situation. At times Kerline needs to involve the biological family in the discussion so that all parties are responsible for the well being of the child.

Kerline enjoys her job and she feels she can give something back to the children who come from poor circumstances, by helping them through FWAL– as she once was helped and supported through the NPH orphanage in Kenscoff. She has dreams of her own, to maybe one day have her own business in providing housing, but for now she is very happy in the job she has at FWAL. Kerline has a positive and optimistic character and she believes that by giving you receive, so she gladly does her job and tries to help as many families and children as possible.

Contributed by Joanne Schipper
FWAL Program Consultant

Soles 4 Souls-A Big Thank You!

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FWAL’s preschool was very lucky, surprised and happy when they were contacted by Soles 4 Souls, a wonderful organization that gives away free shoes to children living in poor circumstances. They distribute shoes in different countries, visiting community centers, orphanages and schools, and this time they came to the FWAL preschool!

The children were all very excited when we had told them that Soles 4 Souls would be coming. Everyone was dressed beautifully in their Friday red t-shirts and jeans. The girls had their hair done and everyone was looking forward to having the “sandal team” arrive–and what a well running machine of great people it was.

They came in with loads of different sized shoes and then divided up in two groups, one that would size a foot of each child were they would write on the child’s hand, and one who would check the size and actually fit a brand new shoe to the child’s feet.

It all went so fast and the children and their teachers really worked well with them. They lined up class by class and when one was done the next came up, all in a nice perfect line.

It was a happy day…laughs and hugs were shared and many ‘high fives’ given.

And what a surprise it was for the parents who came to pick up their children and see them wearing a new set of beautiful shoes. Many of the children that come to our school are from very poor areas, and many don’t have other shoes other than the pair they wear to school. When they are home, they will take them off and be barefoot the rest of the day.

Just to give you an idea, one a pair of these sandals in Haiti would cost around a day’s wages for a parent (about $5 to $6).

Thank you so much Soles 4 Souls!!

Contributed by Joanne Schipper, Program Consultant

Smiles and Glitter

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Carnival is a great and festive activity in most of the countries in the Caribbean.  In Haiti, we celebrate with a lot of music, dances, masks, costumes and beautifully done face make-up. For many of the schools in Haiti, they always celebrate with a pre-carnival party for the students before everyone has a small break from school, as Carnival is a nationally recognized holiday.  At NPH Haiti, all of our programs celebrated Carnival in their own unique way. The preparations took weeks to put together and the outcomes were all colorful, musical and a whole lot of fun.

At Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWAL), we celebrated with three separate activities for Carnival in the schools and homes.  The parties began on the Thursday prior at the FWAL Kindergarten School. All of the students celebrated with very pretty costumes for each of the students with makeup, masks and plenty of glitter. After the children finished enjoying their program, they ended with a pool party! It was a fun-filled day that all of our youngest children thoroughly enjoyed.

The party continued on Friday at our FWAL Primary School. The principal, with help from all of teachers, played all the recent Haitian music specifically dedicated to the Carnival and all of the children spent the morning dancing and singing. Everyone was dressed in bright colors and their faces were covered in glitter. Not a single person left the grounds that day without glitter and a smile on their face.

Then on Tuesday, which was Mardi Gras, the children were on break from school and had a Carnival party at Kay St. Louis.  The staff hosted a fun program that each of the children enjoyed and there was the traditional parade of costumes, the crowning of Kings and Queens of Carnival and the dance competitions.

Contributed by Denso Gay and Avriel Burlot
Communication Officer and Communication Specialist

Happy Valentine’s Day from FWAL Kindergarten Kids

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Valentine’s Day is a day full of love and sharing and we especially found it important for our youngest students to celebrate this day to the fullest! On February 14th, FWAL Kindergarten students had a celebration to enjoy the day. All of the students arrived to school dressed in pink or red and were ready for the festivities.

The program was started with a beautiful prayer asking God to help everyone love each other and have a good heart toward their brothers and sisters. They continued then to dance and sing a variety of songs, and one of which included “Ajourd’hui C’est Le Jour De La Rose” (French for, “Today is a Day of Pink”). After they finished dancing and singing, Ms. Ginette Paul Masse delivered a wonderful story about Saint Valentine. She explained what a good heart he had and that he was someone who loved everyone deeply, and he shared everything that he had with his people. We honor him on the 14th of February because that is the day he was martyred and we observe this day to live out his mission of love. She continued to tell the children to love and share with your friends, family and your community. Teachers then took turns asking the children questions about the story of Saint Valentine and the children were rewarded with chocolate for their responses. Everyone had an insightful response to give and was very happy to receive their chocolate.

When the program ended all of the children returned to their classes but not before receiving more chocolate! The teachers reminded the students to always say “I love you” to their parents, caregivers, family and friends whenever they can but especially today. All of the children returned home that day to do just that and with a big smile on their face!

Contributed by Denso Gay and Avriel Burlot
Communication Officer and Communication Specialist

Update on the St. Louis Houses!

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As I promised in an earlier post, here is an update on the house construction for our older children in FWAL, St. Louis.

All the houses now have roofs and they are starting on the interior of the houses. We are excited that we are getting closer to move in time! The houses have been painted with a base coat of white, but eventually we would like to paint them a peachy orange color like our St. Anne Baby House.

Electricity had been placed and the plumbing is being completed. Soon toilets and showers will be installed and tiling will be placed in the bathrooms.

It may not look that way from the pictures, but inside it is really light and at the same time cool. Also the view from the windows in the living and dining room is just magnificent - all mountains and at night you see the many lights of the houses build on the hillside.

The reaming construction debris has been cleared away and paths now open for the children to walk from their houses to the school next door.

Our inauguration date is still to be determined, but stay tuned for an announcement.

Contributed by the FWAL team

Meet Lulu

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Ladies and gentlemen… this week I would like you all to have the distinct pleasure to meet Moilely, but his nickname is Lulu.  He is one of our boys living in Kay St. Louis (FWAL) and he is simply wonderful!

His story is simple and without going into detail, after the earthquake his mom couldn’t care for him and he has been living at FWAL since 2011.  On the plus side, his mom comes every month to see him at family day and maybe in the next few years Lulu can move back with her but for now, we are more than happy and honored that this adorable cutie pie lives with us.

Lulu is much more mature than the normal 11-year-old and really, who can blame him after the stuff he’s been through.  He is the all-star kid you want to have around because when it’s chore time, he’s first to begin and can be found encouraging others to get their work done too.  Time for home work?  He’s probably already three chapters into the lesson before everyone else is starting to find their study corner and settling in.

Speaking of school, other than his overall desire to learn, he is, in general, super intelligent!  Although I can’t be a great help for many of the subjects he is learning in school, when it comes to languages, he is my A+ student! English, Spanish, Chinese (haha just kidding)… but he is quick to learn a 2nd and 3rd language and that will take him so much farther than he realizes.  And you know what?  I’m sure if he wanted to learn Chinese too, he could!

His innocent smile and playful attitude is enough to make you fall in love with him in one millisecond.  Even though he works a lot, he still finds plenty of time to play and to just be a kid.  He absolutely loves soccer and is one of those multi-talented kids that can play all positions and not only play them, but play them well! Jealous.

I feel very lucky to have this stellar kid in my life and I know you would all love him if you ever got the chance to meet him.  He is usually first to greet me when I walk in with an ear to ear grin and I appreciate that more than he will ever know.  There is no doubt in my mind that this kiddo is going to achieve greatness in his future.

He is one of the many incredible kids you would meet if you visited FWAL.

Also, if after reading this post you felt compelled to do something for Lulu or for any child at FWAL, you should really consider sponsoring a child.  You could change a life by simply clicking here. 

Contributed by Avriel Burlot
Communication Specialist NPH Haiti