Phase I of the New Destiny Children’s Home was completed August, 2013. At this time, a team of sponsors traveled from Alexandria to paint the interior walls and build wardrobes for the kids.

Below are some before and after photos of the new house!

Before: cooking area

Before: cooking area

New kitchen/eating area

After: New kitchen/eating area

Before: Eating/work area

Before: Outdoor eating/work area

After: New cooking area

New cooking area

More of the new eating area

More of the new eating area

This area of the kitchen still needs to be completed. It will serve as a closed-in food storage area.

This area of the kitchen still needs to be completed. It will serve as a closed-in food storage area.

Hallway

New hallway with title floor

One of the bedrooms.

One of the bedrooms.

Another bedroom.

Another bedroom.

Front room, functioning as an office/study space.

Front room, functioning as an office/study space.

Front patio

Front patio

Haiti June 2014 557

New toilets installed in first level bathroom

New showers installed in first level bathroom

New showers installed in first level bathroom

The gate and walls were redone for increased security.

The gate and walls were redone for increased security.

 

Update!:

In August 2014, Bread to the Nations purchased 11 new mattresses and repaired bed frames for the home.

new mattresses

bed repairs

Much progress has been made on rebuilding New Destiny Children’s Home in the past few months! The external and internal walls have been stabilized and rebuilt, the perimeter has been secured with higher walls and barbed wire, and the first-floor bathroom is roughed in with 3 toilets, 2 sinks, and 2 showers. All the windows and doors still need to be put in, and the electrical work is yet to be done. This week they will start excavating to pour the concrete slab in the back. After the concrete slab is done, the walls and cover will be put in. This is urgent, as this back eating/cooking area is currently covered by a tarp that will certainly not make it through the impending rainy season. A stairwell will also be constructed to get to the second floor. $10,000 more is needed to complete this phase, not including furnishings. Pictures below!

Gutting the house

Gutting the house

Roughed in bathroom

Roughed in bathroom

Interior hallway / study area

Interior hallway / study area

New boys bedroom (current storage area)

New boys bedroom

South exterior wall completed

South exterior wall completed

Click here to learn more about the rebuilding of the New Destiny Children’s Home.

Click here to donate.

It’s been about a week and a half weeks since we arrived back in Haiti, but it already feels like a lifetime has gone by. We arrived the evening of the 21st tired but happy to be back. The next few days were a scurry of unpacking, cleaning, unpacking some more, and cleaning some more. We then found out Sunday morning at church (23rd) that our Medika Mamba staff had scheduled a clinic day for the 24th. Yikes, we didn’t feel prepared for that yet! When we got to clinic our moms were so happy to see us back, it was like coming home to see everyone. So many of our babies are doing so well now, and it was just such a joy to see everyone after being gone for three weeks. Our wonderful Mamba staff did such an awesome job maintaining the program while we were gone. We hadn’t advertised the 24th as a new intake day, but we still ended up admitting about 15 new kids into the program before we scurried back home to get ready for the party.

Singing and dancing and silliness started us off at the party, and then we got to eat chicken, rice and beans, marinad, fried banans, pikliz, and cake. Yummmm. Haiti certainly has good food. While we were eating, all the presents were sitting on the table just waiting to be opened and the kids were just tormented having to look at them. Finally we got to open them all and everyone was ecstatic! Each child’s sponsor provided the resources to buy the gift the child wanted this year. We had dolls and race cars and harmonicas and guitars and tea sets and jewelry … so much running around and playing! The kids are remarkable in how willing they are to share with each other. In all that gift opening and playing never once did they get angry or say “that’s mine.” I was shocked and very impressed.

Aside from all the gift giving, it was really special for Mom and me to be able to spend Christmas here in Haiti. We’ve come to think of this as home, and we have a lot of people we consider family here. We got to see our moms and babies at clinic in the morning, as well as see our staff for the first time after being gone, and then to party with our giant extended family at the Louis home was just really a great way to spend Christmas for us. — As an aside, though, I really do have to say it’s weird to celebrate Christmas when it’s 90 degrees outside!!

Christmas Day was entirely different altogether. Nasson’s godfather was getting married, and he wanted me to come along. Mom was going to be in a marriage on the 28th, so I brought along a dress for that wedding. Apparently I wasn’t allowed to wear the same dress to two weddings in a row, though, so part of my Christmas present from Nasson was another dress, jewelry, and a shawl. He actually bought a dress that fit, too, which was a pretty amazing feat as far as I was concerned.

The wedding is an interesting story in itself. We arrived at the church at 8:05 for an 8:00 wedding, and the church wasn’t even open yet. The groom was called, and he said yes, indeed the wedding was at eight. So we weren’t there early, but the wedding was on Haiti time – late. We got out of the car to wait. And we waited, and waited, and waited. About 9:30 a car pulled up with a bride inside. Oh good, they’re here. No, that’s not her, Nasson says. What?!? Okay… so there’s another wedding. By the time someone came to open the church at 10:30 (yes, for an 8:00 wedding), five brides had showed up in assorted vehicles. We went in and sat down, and I think at about 11 the wedding started. The brides – all 12 of them – processed in with their grooms and one attendant each. The wedding lasted about three hours, during which I don’t think I saw one smile from a bride or groom. I couldn’t understand, why weren’t they happy?! After singing and preaching and vows we came to the “kiss the bride” part. The newly married couples got crazy and goofy and the audience was screaming and cheering after each kiss. When they were finished, everything went back to serious again. I don’t understand, but I guess that’s normal. So even with the ridiculously long wait, it was still fun to go see a Haitian wedding – and Nasson and I got to go on our first ever real public outing together (!).

The 28th we had clinic again, and another ten new kids were admitted to the program. We got home and I started the undertaking of making Nasson’s birthday meal. It was a much bigger project than I had anticipated, especially when the mango cake ended up taking two hours to make. Magalie came over to see Mom’s dress for the wedding and took pity on me and helped me with the chicken and taught me how to break open a coconut. The food turned out well, but I think the cake was the best part. Usually Nasson asks me to make pineapple upside down cake for him, but there were no pineapples to be found, so I found a recipe for spiced mango upside down cake. Yum! I asked which he liked better, and he said “when there are pineapples make the pineapple cake, when there are mangoes make the mango cake, and when there are both make two cakes.” He loves his cake, he does.

We had another wedding on the 29th. Mom was asked to be the “maren” (godmother/matron of honor) for this wedding. The couple have been living together for quite a while and have been raising the bride’s child together. They wanted to make things right with themselves and God and get married before 2013 started. Mom’s job as maren basically consisted of holding the bride’s train and draping it over her chair when she sat. Only one couple got married this time, and (thank goodness) the wedding only started an hour late! Pastor Firmin’s church got a new home this week, too, just in time for the wedding. They started and mostly finished a new, less temporary building. The original church fell in the earthquake, but they used the original concrete pad and put new walls and a roof on it. They had to do it in 10 days so it could be ready for the wedding on the 29th. All the labor was volunteer from within the church body, and they managed to do it!

The 30th was my birthday! Unfortunately, by this time Mom and I had caught the cold that has been knocking everybody out around here, so we weren’t feeling too great. We went to church in the morning, and while I took a nap Mom made cakes to share with the kids at Firmin’s. After listening to the kids choir practice, we shared cake and they sang happy birthday to me. :) I had a second birthday party later when Nasson made me what translates as black rice with mushrooms. It was very yummy. He also cut up a bunch of vegetables, and there was even lettuce to make a salad! Wooo! The not so great part was when Nasson made me try the beets and then when he made me eat some raw onion to help with my cough. Yuck-o! Mom made gingerbread for me, so that made up for the onions and the beets.

On New Years Eve I went to church with Firmin’s family. Church was supposed to start at 8 pm and go until 1 am. Mom was still feeling pretty sick so she stayed home. ;The service didn’t actually start until 9 (go figure), and it ended up lasting until about 3:30. Oh my it was long! I got tired at about 11 and struggled to stay awake for most of the rest of the service. Don’t tell, but I actually fell asleep standing up during communion. My knees buckled and woke me up before I fell down. Shh. The service was actually really fun, and it would have been more fun had I known the songs. There was a lot ;of singing and dancing and singing and shouting and cheering, all to thank God for what He had done in 2012 and to thank Him for bringing us into 2013.

All in all we’ve had a very busy week! I’m planning to write another post soon to tell about what’s happening in the mamba program, stay tuned!
Liz

The main focus of our medical mission trip was to serve the needs of the people in Pastor Firmin’s church community through a 3 day medical clinic. This was in itself, one of the most amazing parts we experienced on the trip.

But we experienced much more than that. As a bonus, we got to spend time (almost every night!) with our kids! To date, 13 of the 20 children we sponsor in Firmin’s home, have met their sponsors face to face.

The sponsorship program is my baby if you will. Seeing how much their sponsors mean to them, has forever changed me.

Just before our medical team arrived, a few of the kids’ sponsors, who were part of a Adventures in Missions team, got to not only meet their sponsored child but also spend several hours with them throughout the week.

Budjury, Patrice and Jeffly all got to meet their sponsors!

Pastor Steve and daughter Jennie, part of the medical team met their sponsored child, Beaudrin.

Jeffly got to meet his other sponsor, Jodi, who was also part of the medical team.

Levy asked over and over when his sponsor was coming to visit. His dreams came true when his sponsor Mark came with the medical team.

Another member of our medical team, Jill met her sponsored child, Lorry.

Of course I got to spend time with this sweet young man!

We brought soccer shirts for all the boys!

We celebrated 2 team members birthdays! Happy Birthday Jodi and Jennie! May this be a birthday to remember for each of you!

We visited the kids’ school!

 

We were able to provide a pair of crocs for each kid who needed them! Thank you to all who helped us collect these!

Thank you to those who donated skateboards! They were a huge hit with the kids!

And, I got to experience all of this with the most amazing team ever!

Photo: My kids! Thanks, Jodi! You are up way too early!

Mickey and Liz, our brave hosts and on the ground coordinators.

Pastor Steve and our only teenager on the team, Jennie

my brother Mark and my sister Jodi! What a true blessing to share this journey with them!

Photo

Thank you Mark and Jodi for giving up a week with your families to come on this crazy adventure with our team!

Today is back-to-school day here in Carrefour, Haiti. Mom and I have watched all the preparations that have gone into getting ready to go back to school day. It has been a major effort! Magalie had to purchase school books for each of the children (10-15 each), which then had to be covered in protective plastic and sorted to the correct child. She also had to buy around 200 small notebooks for the kids, and then cover them in brown paper. We brought along many of the school supplies, including pens, pencils, and erasers. We collected gently used, quality backpacks for each of the children, and handed those out a few days ago. The kids chose in order of oldest to youngest, except one, whose sponsor gave him a backpack directly. The kids also got new socks and underwear for the school year to go with their uniforms, which are also new and handmade by a seamstress. Yesterday afternoon I got put to work sewing buttons onto the girls dresses, cutting open button holes, and fixing hems. Somehow this morning at 7:50 all the kids managed to get out the door and to school on time. Below are some pictures from this morning:

I traveled to Haiti with Mickey the end of May. Two days before we departed, sponsors stepped forward to sponsor the last two kids remaining to be sponsored. I was both grateful and relieved to have with me a letter for each child from their sponsor. I did not want to arrive in Haiti with letters for all the kids but two.

The night we presented the letters to the kids was when we first began to realize how big of a deal this program is for them. My own personal experience engaging with our sponsored child, made me realize that for me, this was not going to be your typical “write your child twice a year” sponsorship program.

Most of these kids are survivors of the 2010 earthquake and have suffered great loss to be part of their new family. For example, our 12 year old sponsored child lost his father when he was just a toddler. Then, after the earthquake, he was rescued from underneath the same rubble that killed his mother.

When I left for Haiti with letters in my carry on, I knew what a privilege it was for me to be the one to hand deliver them. Not only that but I know each of the sponsors personally, so I was able to share a little more about each of them to their child, such as “Your sponsor will be coming in October”, “Your sponsor is my sister”, “Your sponsor is the pastor of our church” and then, “Your sponsor is me”.

I have read stories of sponsors traveling to meet their children through programs like Compassion or World Vision. I have read about how heartfelt these meetings can be for the sponsors and their child. But nothing could have prepared me enough for “meeting” my child.We sponsor Martial, a bright, ambitious, kind young man. We met him in January. My husband Steve connected with him well during the January trip and chose him for our family to sponsor. I did not really know Martial until I traveled in May. When we were handing out letters that evening, I was distracted with the process of helping each child open their letters and preparing them for a photo opportunity to share with their sponsors back home, capturing the smiles the letters brought to their beautiful faces.Then it was Martial’s turn. I was not prepared for his reaction. I was so caught up in the excitement of presenting the letters to all the children, that I had not even thought about what me being there for Martial would mean to him. More than that, I had no idea how much full my heart would be after the special moments we shared together that week.

The night we handed out the letters was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between my Haitian son and I. During my first trip in January, our team really didn’t have time to connect with each child one on one. But this trip, God gave me just this one child to focus on and grow in relationship with him. All of a sudden, he became much more than a picture of a young handsome boy dressed for church. He was a real person, with emotions, with much love to offer, still grieving the loss of his mother and desiring to have a mother again to care for him and love on him.

We continue to build our relationship through letter writing and Skype calls. He has given me more than I can ever give him but it does take effort on both of our parts. When we sponsor a child, like through World Vision, sometimes I don’t think we expect something in return. I think we sometimes get caught up in the idea that we are doing a good thing for this child already with our monthly contribution, that we do the bare minimum to let them know we exist. But my experience is proof that when we pour even more into a relationship, we are going to receive much more in return.

The night Mickey and I walked back to our house after handing out the letters, our hearts were bursting and overflowing with joy and love for these kids as we recapped, through our tears, the events that took place moments before. Still today, our feelings for these kids are indescribable. When I left Haiti, I knew that this relationship would be more than about hanging a picture of our sponsored child on our refrigerator so we would remember to pray for him. For our family, Martial has very much become part of our family. He may not be with us physically but he is part of our family in every other sense.

Over the past couple months, I have had the pleasure of watching several families meet their children through Skype calls. This is the next best thing to meeting their child face to face. I have witnessed many sweet moments exchanged between sponsors and their children. These calls mean more to the kids than words can express and all sponsors walk away with full hearts. What a blessing that God has opened up the opportunity for sponsors to grow in relationship with their child in this special way, another reason why this is truly a unique sponsorship program.

Tammy
 

Reposted from July 2, 2012

All is going well with the team that is there working on small repairs around the orphanage. The first few days they managed to recover some chairs that were in great need of being recovered and they are working on completing a shelving unit for clothes storage. Special thanks to Leanne, one of our sponsors who is in Haiti with Mickey using her gifts and talents to coordinate these projects.

Also, when Mickey and I were there in May, we used money from our general fund to purchase a large tarp to replace the one that serves as their roof over their temporary shelter in the back yard. We could see daylight through the original tarp, which is not acceptable, especially during the rainy season. Mickey has reported that the new tarp is now installed.

More important than the work that they are doing is the relationships they are building. Each time we go back to visit, they feel more and more like family to us. We have earned each other’s trust over the past few trips and are feeling more and more secure in our relationship together.

On Saturday, the kids were treated to a trip to the beach. Still waiting to hear details about this excursion.

But a day at the beach no doubt was well deserved, especially after the exciting news I’m about to share.

Before I share however, I need to explain first that many of the children have only been in school for the last year or two. In Haiti, you are required to take an exam at the end of each school year and you must pass this exam to go onto the next grade level.

The kids have been working so hard all year towards this goal and studied hard for their end of year exams. Passing the exam is a really big deal!

They received the results of their exams on Friday and this is what Firmin wrote to us in an email this morning:

“Dear people of God !

Greetings and blessings
I am truly blessed and happy, and I want to share my joy. Mickey might have already reported
that to you but I think I must as well. The kids got their school report on Friday and the report was
excellent everyone in primary school got promoted to the next level, Hallelujah!!!! in fact Edith and Medjine worked so well for the previous terms that they were exempted from the final exams.
I will never fail to express my gratitude to God and to you( Bread to the Nations team) for providing a secure environment for those precious kids to grow.
Please share that news with the sponsors.
In Him
Pastor Firmin &Magalie Louis”

 

Can you tell that he is just a little proud of his kids?! He has a right to be proud! If you consider what this family has endured  since the earthquake in January, 2010, this is quite a feat!
Thank you to all who have stepped forward to sponsor. Their success is due in part to knowing someone out there cares.
____________________________ Bread to the Nations | P.O. Box 1196 | Alexandria | MN | 56308 | info@breadtothenations.org | 320-815-5348