FWAL Loves Visitors!

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At FWAL, we are very lucky to have people from around the world come visit us. Some are coming to Haiti just to see us, and some are coming to work at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital or at St. Luke, but take time from their day to come visit and play. Sometimes it’s big groups and sometimes just one person, but it’s always fun to meet new people.

Recently, we’ve been very fortunate to have a number of fun, creative, passionate and playful people stop by.

Our Italian office, the Francesca Rava Foundation, has sent lots of visitors through their camp programs, who took us to the beach and bring us toys and sport equipment. We always have a lot of fun with the big groups that come because they have great ideas for games and art projects!!

This fall a few women with the METI group from Boston Massachusetts, visited on their day off to play a few rounds of soccer, fell in love with FWAL and ending up spending all their spare time for the rest of the trip with us. They even started working on sponsorship paperwork before their trip was over!

Recently, a doctor working at St. Damien for a few weeks, came over to teach the older girls how to make decorative hair flowers. She brought fabric that matches our school uniform and taught the oldest girls how to make the hair clips. The class was such a success she left plenty of supplies for the girls to teach the younger girls at St. Louis.

And while it’s always great to meet new people, some of the best visitors are the ones we already know. This year a few former volunteers come back to see us. It’s so nice to catch up whether it’s been years or just months. Big thanks to Sr. Kathleen, Dani and Avriel for making time to visit FWAL.

These are just some of the wonderful visitors we’d had at FWAL. We are so grateful to the people who generously bring toys and activities, but more importantly guests are the best when they are able to share themselves, their time, have a chat, teach a song or play a game.

Thank you to all visitors we’ve had, we hope to see you again soon!

Much Love,

FWAL

Celebrating Five Years of FWAL

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On Friday, January 16th we celebrated the 5th Anniversary of FWAL.  We held a beautiful program to honor the opportunities for education, healthcare and stability that have been accomplished in the past five years.

It’s hard to discuss how FWAL started without mentioning the terrible earthquake that occurred 4 days prior on January 12th, 2010. The 7.0M earthquake killed 230,000 and injured another 300,000. It also left 1.5 million people homeless, without a sense of security or source of income.

From an idea, to tents, to containers, to stable structure; we’ve seen a lot of change in the past five years and the program has a lot to be proud of. FWAL provided daily escape from the tent cities for over 2,000 children for 10 months, house 140 children and educate nearly 900, FWAL is a moving force focused on the children who are our light for the future.

 

It’s a lot to celebrate.

 

Father Enzo held a beautiful mass, with an offering of gifts followed by songs, dances and touching speeches performed for the entire school from the littlest students up to the ninth grade.

Students performed a very inspiring skit about the future of Haiti.  A small child draped in the Haitian flag tumbled in and fell to floor to represent the struggle of the country.  Several cried that the flag would never recover, but another explained no, we need to educate our children and the next generation will help bring Haiti up as they become doctors, lawyers, farmers, engineers, teachers, and priests.  And as he says this, the kids all come in dressed as such.

Time was taken to address all those who have worked so hard to make this program successful, especially those during the first few years when FWAL was still assessing the needs of the children.

After the program there was a delicious meal with beet salad, rice and a special treat of beef. Then we did we do best at FWAL – soccer games and dance parties. A few matches were held with the older students while the music played and crowded cheered on and danced. It was the perfect way to end a great day.

It was a beautiful day to acknowledge the hard work of those that help build the program and celebrate hope for the future of both the children in our care and Haiti as a country.

2014 Recap

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FWAL Director Kenson Kaas

Dear Friends,

The year 2014 was a very good year for us at Father Wasson’s Angels of Light. We’ve seen many changes in our program since we started five years ago. We’ve watched the children grow from babies to children to young adults; we’ve been able to expand our school program for community children; and we now have a more stable facility for our children to live and learn and our staff to work. When the program started in January 2010, our children were living in tents. In July the same year, we move from tents to shipping containers and in the end of 2013, we started the construction of the houses that we have now. We have in our program 140 children who live with us and another 721 coming to our school every day. In total, 861 children benefit from the program.

Originally, our program only planned to have 800 students, including both internal students living with us and external students from the neighborhood. At 851 students, we are currently over extended. While we know that is an additional financial burden, it is hard to turn away children in need of an education. Each year, we also find the program growing through the addition of another grade. This year we now provide schooling from kindergarten through 9th grade.

I was a member of the team that helped start the program after the earthquake in 2010. Most of us, myself included, started without any background in leadership and management. Through time and with the help of many other NPH leaders, I started to develop my leadership confidence. Every year that passed by; I learned more, I became better and more focused on the mission of helping these kids to have the best life that they can.

I am so grateful to devote myself to helping these children receive the life that they deserve: healthcare, education, spiritual formation, and the most important, a community and family. I am also honored to invest my time and all that I am in this wonderful program, to make sure that these kids are successful like I was when I was young.

Everything that we are able to accomplish here is possible because the world has good people with good hearts. There are people who know that many in the world do not have the same opportunities as them. These people believed that they could do something to change the lives of our children. Through their donations, friendship and support they have helped us create FWAL and we are grateful to them.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us through the years. We are very proud of what we have created and it is due to the support of our friends across the world.

Thank you from on behalf of our children and staff,

Kenson Kaas
Director, FWAL 

Join Us in Prayer Today

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the nation of Haiti. We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported our work in Haiti by sponsoring children, making donations, attending and sponsoring events, visiting our home, volunteering, and giving products and services. With your help, we were able to launch or expand many services after the earthquake.
Please join us in prayer today for our NPH Haiti family, for those that have lost family members, and for the country.
“This is the meaning of the day, solidarity among people of good will worldwide…and determination by the human race to keep going today –embodied by the Haitian people,” Fr. Rick Frechette.
Below is a video highlighting what NPH Haiti has accomplished during the past 5 years. It’s 3 minutes that you surely can’t miss.

Remembering 2014, Looking forward to 2015

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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.

Celebrating Christmas

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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.