Life and Hope Haiti

Update - Oct. 27, 2011

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Dear Friends of Life and Hope,

Earlier this month, teachers at the Eben Ezer School in Milot lined up pre-schoolers hand to shoulder and for the first time walked them to the brand new bathrooms. Merceda, the 46-year-old woman hired to staff the bathrooms, handed out swatches of toilet paper from the large commercial rolls sent down from the Great Works School in South Berwick. She taught them how much to use, how to sit on a toilet, how to flush, and how to make sure they washed their hands well when they were finished. With running water and electricity, this basic need could be met for the children in Milot.

At lunch, the children were given a hearty dish of rice and beans, food paid for by the donations that came from dances, churches and school collections, in short that came from so many of YOU.  And later in the week, after we scrubbed the slide clean, the smaller children were invited to play in a playground sent from Florida and constructed this summer. While the youngest children squealed and raced around to slide over and over again, the older kids looked on through the chain link fence, enthralled by the school’s latest acquisition.

Of course all of this is about educating the children for the future of their country, and their own future. And the most satisfying moments I had during my week in Haiti were probably watching as the teachers lined up before the students on the first day of school. Lucien, the principal, introduced each teacher, before the school community raised the flag and sang the national anthem.

Since I last visited the school in 2009, it has gained electricity, which comes from both a solar panel and the generator donated by the York Rotary Club. I thas added a well, a second story, and most recently, thanks to a donation from Kittery individuals and the Kittery Rotary, a new Apple computer. One pre-school teacher, Mirline showed particular interest so we trained her how to use a computer and how to enter student information in a data base.

The main project we are looking at right now is part of a plan to make the school more self sufficient. We hope to buy a few acres of land for a farm. We could grow and sell vegetables, milk and eggs, bake cassava bread for sale and help feed the children. We already have chickens and 17 goats, including some new kids, but they need more area to graze.

Right now, Milot area is a hot bed of possible activity and land prices are increasing every day so buying land would be a good investment. The Clinton Foundation and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (which runs the only cruise ship into Haiti right now) are both looking at or in the midst of large investments in the area. (See this article:

Besides the farm, Life and Hope one day hopes to have a small guesthouse to host our visitors and create an income for the school. We also envision selling student paintings and coffee in local hotels and as well as from the school grounds. This week, a local coffee roaster offered to give us a commercial grinder to send down. We dream of a school that can at least partly sustain itself. We are on the way, but in the meantime, we could not do it without help like yours.

 Thank you,

Amy and the team at Life and Hope

PS -- I have attached photos that show students first entering the bathrooms, learning to wash their hands, at the opening school ceremony and excited to see the new playground. In one shot there is a girl registering herself for school with the principal. Her mother stands by.