Spreading Joy

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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!

Friendly Rivalries

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Yankees v. Red Socks, Madrid v. Barcelona, Kenscoff v. FWAL. All great sport rivalries. This past weekend the soccer teams from our St. Helene home in Kenscoff and the St. Louis home with FWAL met for a match up at the FWAL campus.

Two friends from Spain, Loli Fernandez and Maria Llistosella came for a visit and had the great idea to set up this friendly match! They last visited in April to help strengthen the sports and health programs in both NPH Homes. Maria and Loli believe in sports as a great resource for kids who need a safe space. Speaking on behalf of both women, Maria shares, “Sports are an important aspect of life. They are a psychical, psychological and social outlet and help kids set health objectives and goals.”

The sun was shining, the crowd was pumped, and the teams looked great in their uniforms. The teams played well and each home walked away with a win. The boys from Kenscoff won the match for younger boys ages 10-12 and the FWAL team won the second match for boys ages 12-16.

Since the games took place on the FWAL campus, they definitely had a home team advantage and a strong cheering section made up of the rest of the children living at the St. Louis homes in FWAL.

It was a great afternoon of fun and we hope to continue this tradition with more games in the future, but we will need to make sure to make extra room on the bus for the traveling team’s cheering section to even the playing field!

School Awards

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Our school year at the FWAL Angels of Light Primary and Secondary school is off to a great start. Just last week, the students at FWAL primary and secondary school took their autumn exams.   After the results came back, the school invited parents and guardians to witness a celebration of the students who scored top three is each class.

The proud students in each grade came up to chose a gift of recognition ranging from t-shirts and activity books for the younger kids, to school bags, binders and other school organizing systems for older kids.

It was a great day to celebrate scholastic success and wonderful that the parents were able to come and witness such a day.

We believe very strongly in supporting education as much as possible, for it is realistic way children of poverty can improve their situation. It is always wonderful to see the children take pride in their hard work and this celebration was no exception.

Congratulations to the all of our students for their hard work this semester!!

A Year of Service

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Father Wasson’s year of service program at NPH and NPFS is a very important step for our children as they are take on more responsibilities, and share what they’ve learned with younger children in the organization. Children will become volunteers within the organization, usually with a job responsibility during the day and caregiving in the afternoons and evenings. It gives kids on the brink of adulthood a chance to learn the much needed skills they will need before heading out into the real world and an opportunity to grow from child to adult.

This year Fr. Wasson’s Angels of Light (FWAL) program has it’s first year of service student. Mytherson joined FWAL in 2010 after the earthquake. He started by attending the day camps in the aftermath of the earthquake and soon moved into the program. Spending 3 years living at FWAL, he later moved in with an older brother and sister to finish secondary school. He has dreams of going to university and is giving a year at FWAL to help offset those costs.

Mytherson will spend his year working in the kitchen assisting with general duties during the day, such as cleaning and helping prepare the food with our kitchen staff. In a kitchen that provides lunch for almost 800 students, teachers and staff that is not a light undertaking. However, it is living and helping with the kids, which is what he enjoys most. Mytherson lives with a house of 12-13 year old boys and Met Renold, the full time live in caregiver.

In the homes, he helps with homework, plays soccer during free time and is available for extra support. Mytherson says, “My favorite thing about the year is being with the other kids, helping them and caring for them. The kids need to know that people care about them.” He can always be found during his time off hanging out with his petite frères e soeurs (little brothers and sisters).

Next year he will join our Don Bosco Program, which provides a home and support to students attending University or vocational school. Mytherson plans to attend university next year in order to become an Engineer and build homes for people. It is a five year program, so he knows he will have to work very hard to accomplish his goal, and is looking forward to getting started.

Mytherson is a great help in the kitchen, but it is his presence with to the children that will have a lasting effect. Spending time with them as youth and now taking on the role of a mentor, he provides an invaluable service to these kids who can watch a friend and a brother work hard in order to continue his education and improve his future.

Global Handwashing Day

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Since it’s inception in 2008, October 15th has been Global Handwashing Day, created to promote the health benefits of hand washing in schools throughout the world.

Hand washing is the most simple and cost effective way of preventing the spread of diseases. Diseases transmitted through touch are a crucial problem to battle among young children in developing countries. Routine and thorough hand washing helps avoid everything from the common cold to more dangerous problems like diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.

According to The World Health Organization (WHO) diarrheal diseases and pneumonia claim the lives of 3.5 million children under five years old. In Haiti, we also have to worry about the resurgence of our Cholera epidemic during our long rainy seasons.

Simply put, Hand washing saves lives.

The health staff at FWAL including Dr. Solange St. Fleur, Nurse Delice and Nurse Chantale, recognized that fact and created a fun program to help educate our children on the importance of careful hand washing.

The children learned about the various diseases that can travel via ones hands and how quickly and easily those germs and bacteria can spread. They were taught the importance of washing your hands after using the bathroom, before eating and while in heavily trafficked areas. After a demonstration on proper technique including washing up the arms and cleaning between fingers and under fingernails, two of our children demonstrated for the group what they learned. Afterward, all the children practiced themselves under the watchful eye of our healthcare staff.

As with most things, the kids had a great time. One of the girl’s houses, even preformed a fun song about hand washing.

Hand washing is important for children all over the globe, but awareness is on the rise thanks to Global Handwashing Day. The children have learned about a crucial but simple way to promote healthy hand hygiene habits.

Big Thanks to our health care staff for ensuring all our little hands stay clean and we stay healthy!!