Have a look at this picture, now that our new year starts to unroll:
It is an image of St. Francis, that marks the entrance to Francisville, our center in Haiti for food production and job creation, for farming and solar energy development, and many other activities that create jobs and produce what we and others need, locally and independently.
Francisville is our lived-out belief that creating dignified work is creating peace.
Have a look at this picture:
Today we blessed the first five boats, hand-made at Francisville, and part of a fleet of at least 30 boats that we will make. We are replacing boats, and livelihood, lost in small fishing villages, destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.
This is part of our lived-out belief that no matter how strong we have created our programs to be at Nos Petits Freres et Sours (NPH Haiti) and St. Luke Foundation, we never give up being good neighbors, we never give up going the extra mile for those in trouble. This is why we have never abandoned our multiple front line works in marginalized areas of Haiti. In fact, I still spend the lion’s share of my time in front line work.
Here is a last picture:
You see for yourself, Marie* is beautiful and happy.
Marie and many children like her were found abandoned and sick on the streets, found by employees or police or other Good Samaritans, who bring them to us or to Mother Theresa’s Sisters or other people who care, where they find a home.
Marie has proven Fr. Wasson to be right once again, in his belief (confirmed by Eric Fromm), that there is deep healing when a child becomes part of a loving community, and this rich experience of home opens the future wide for the child who was nearly doomed. Marie has found a true family in our NPH Haiti Fr. Wasson Angels of Light home.
Our children’s homes, schools and hospitals are our lived-out belief that institutions add great value to individuals and to society. We keep expanding and improving our institutions, with good reason.
Within a very short time,
We have celebrated Christmas and the New Year.
We have celebrated the difficult 7th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.
We are celebrating another successful week of heart surgeries at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, and we just celebrated another successful week of prostate surgeries with laser technology at St. Luke Family Hospital.
These are amazing achievements.
Now this weekend, we will celebrate
30 years of Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs, and
17 years of St. Luke Foundation,
As you surely know, the St. Luke Foundation was founded by hermanos mayores of Nos Petits et Freres, who wanted to reach out, in a similar way as NPH does, but to marginalized children in communities, and adults in extreme conditions of poverty.
This must make Fr. Wasson proud.
His dream was to see his children become generous, productive and caring members of society.
Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs staff and children will celebrate this week with many activities at St. Helene (our original home in Haiti, founded by Fr. Wasson). This will be followed by a week of visiting hospitals and prisons with care packages.
St. Luke will celebrate this week by organizing a massive boat lift to the areas of the south destroyed by the hurricane.
The boat lift is partly motivated by the difficulties we face during our many long and tiring caravans to the area, since they are minimally efficient because of the time of travel, the limited weight of supplies we can transport, and the damage to persons and vehicles involved.
It is even more motivated by the recent arrest and extradition to the USA of a senator of the Jeremie region, whose arrest has led to continuous blocking of the road to Jeremie, and the harassment of both local and foreigner people.
We will set off within the next ten days, in a rented barge, with 1,000,000 pounds of supplies, and hopefully the five new boats pictured above in tow. We will bring construction materials for our schools, roofing materials for the people of La Seringue, St. Victor and Dame Marie. We will bring seeds, yams, and banana and coconut trees to restore agriculture, and a healthy supply of beans and rice to offset hunger, as gardens continue to grow.
All of this is a continuation of our work to help those most affected by the hurricane, the desire to help 5,000 families restore their hearth and livelihood, made possible by your care and your generosity.
I would say, all things considered, the new year 2017 is off to a great start.
Celebrate with us. Join us in help, and in prayer.
By the way, I am also celebrating my 30th year in Haiti!
Pray with me, that I might still have many years ahead of me in this work.
Thank you, and please accept our humble prayers for you and your families.
Fr. Rick Frechette CP