2012 November

For updates from our Nov. 13-19, 2012 trip, please visit http://edengardenhaiti.org/blog


June 2012 visit to the Eden Garden Orphanage

To read about our June 2012 trip to Haiti, visit Eden Garden Orphanage blog


Monday, Jan. 16, 2012: Day 7 (Departure Day)

We could only get the 5:30 p.m. flight home out of Port-Au-Prince on Monday, so we had a few hours to spend at the orphanage before leaving for the airport. We arrived at Eden Garden around 7:30 a.m., just in time to see the kids for a few more minutes before they headed off to school.

We watched them emerging from showers, getting their hair done, eating their breakfast, finishing up last minute homework, loading up their backpacks. To me, it looked somewhat similar to school mornings in my house. These 37 children (and the staff who care for them ) were acting just like a family. 

Before the kids left for school, one of them prayed for the group. Then Pastor Marcel prayed with them - first in English for us to understand, and then in French for them to understand, asking God for blessings on their day as they learn and study. It was just the same way that we pray over our kids every day before they go to school. We are all part of God's family.

There were sad faces as we said our goodbyes, and the question was asked (that is always asked) as we are leaving...."When will you come back?" "Soon!" we promise them.  As they walked to school, we were informed that we needed to report to the school for a special presentation.

When we arrived, we found the children sitting in open area of the school, sitting in the 21desks that had been designed and built for them during our visit.  How exciting it was for all of us to see the desks actually in use!  The children sang to us, and then there was a special presentation by Christian Toussaint, principal of Eden Garden Academy, to the various people that had done things to improve his school throughout the week.

Big thanks went to the Master Carpenters, Sean, Kurt and their helpers who built the 21 desks and a new desk for Christian (the principal) as well. The leads on the Solar Power team, Larry Wooster, Allan Rainey and Terri McGregor, received their certificates and handshakes for their hard work and life-changing contribution. The completion of the solar power system allowed for other improvements such as the wiring of fans into the classrooms, which are like brick ovens in the hot Haiti sun. Scott Kramer and Ron Chapman took on this project and the kids are able to be a little cooler in the classroom now.

Marcel, Dave & Misael worked on various parts of the water hydrant project, running the water line over to the school so that the children now have access to clean drinking water during the school day.

This work was also done in preparation of the future bathhouse project. See picture below to decide if our students could use a better bathroom?

The bathhouse for the students is just one of many projects that would improve the conditions for our kids and the school kids Eden Garden. We also have plans to renovate the kitchen at the orphanage, and when that project is complete, we want to add a school lunch program for all the kids at the Eden Garden Academy. Lack of nutrition causes many problems, among them are learning difficulties which are evident in so many students each and every day. If we could provide a school lunch, we would know they are at least getting fed one meal everyday. 

Many ideas and plans for Eden Garden are in the works, providing us with many obvious reasons to return to Haiti. However, there are 37 BIG reasons to return - our growing, changing, awesome kids who don't really care all that much about what we do while we are there, but just want us to be there with them. After all, we are family.

 Director Jean Claude Monasse, Dave & Caryn Wooster, Ronise Monasse 
and just some of our 37 kids at Eden Garden Orphanage

SUNday, Jan. 15, 2012: The Difference That SUN Makes!

Most mornings, when we arrive at Eden Garden, we hear the familiar sound of the generator screaming in the background as the ladies in the kitchen use the blender or other appliances to prepare lunch for our kids.  Each month we spend between $350 - $500 dollars on fuel for the generator.  Power is something that our team in Haiti has learned to not to count on when we make these trips.  We know that we will have to structure our work around when the generator runs, so we can charge our batteries for drills, etc.  This trip was no different in that respect until Sunday - the day that everything changed.
Scott, Ron, Misael & Terri working to get the panels installed on the roof

Our team arrived early in the morning on Sunday, knowing it was our last full day to get our projects completed before heading home on Monday.  We arrived to silence...all that was heard were the sounds of our kids running and playing together as they enjoyed their day.  Breakfast was being prepared without the sound of the generator.  It was then that it hit me - the solar panels that you see in this picture had now been connected to the dual 3500-Watt inverters that you see in the next picture ... and WE WERE PUMPING AMPS!!!  The solar team had nearly completed its installation already, but Sunday was our first day to see how the orphanage would run on solar power only.  Our solar team of Larry Wooster, Scott Kramer, Misael Henriquez, Kurt Kesselman, Marcel Pichot, Sean Ryan, as well as our partners from Sonlight Power Company; Allen Rainey (Founder) and Terri MacGregor (Electrical Engineer) had overcome obstacle after obstacle to "GET 'ER DONE"!  Now, we were watching the meter as the sun began to fill the photo cells on the roof with energy.
Larry Wooster & Misael Henriquez

All I could think of when I watched the energy in our batteries climbing was the same thought I had when I watched the clean clear water pumping from the water well we drilled in May of 2010...... THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!  Now, the team that has been working all week to install new wiring to the school with fans for each classroom was going to have the power to get those fans working in time for class on Monday morning.  Now, our students and teachers can teach and learn in comfort.  Now, our kitchen staff can better plan their meals, keep food longer and more fresh as they will have power for the fridge and kitchen tools that they need.  Now, Jean Claude and his wife (who left their home to come live in the dorm at the orphanage) can at least have a rotating fan blowing on them as they sleep in the miserable heat. Now, all our kids can have ceiling fans running in their rooms tonight.  We now will be able to use the critical security lights that can stay on all night to help keep our kids safe.  Why? Because the SON provides us with the SUN in Haiti.  There are many things this country is lacking, but sunshine is certainly not one of them.  This solar project (made possible by the fund-raising from the New Hope Adventist Church's S.O.S. Missions Team) has changed everything! I (Dave Wooster) spoke to Jean Claude after our return and asked how many times they have had to run the generator since our departure on the 16th. and he said ZERO!!!  This funding, this talented installation team, this SON and HIS SUN has changed everything!  For that we are more thankful than words can express.  NOW it is on to planning for things like a computer network and distance learning and many other things that reliable, affordable power now makes available.  Thank you to all of you who have contributed to this LIFE-CHANGING project!

"School Desk Project" by Sean Ryan

There are many experiences that I can write about in the week I spent in Haiti.  I feel EXTREMELY lucky to have been able to experience and work with this great team of people.  The most rewarding about the week for me was seeing the older/younger teams of young men use their skills and abilities to help others at Eden Garden and beyond.  I believe we were able to demonstrate that doing good work on behalf of others ends up in reward and recognition of their efforts.  Mr. Christians’ Monday ceremony with all of the school kids sitting at their new desks was an incredible feeling of pride for me, and I hope, for Nicholas, Gregory, John Weber, Bichard and Merlens.

I feel like the medical team that supported this trip ended up being the unsung heroes.  To see the snapshots is one thing (and they are powerful!), but to watch them in action, healing communities and bringing comfort and hope to people was a beautiful thing.  This was both the hardest and most powerful part of the week for me.  I tip my hat to Elizabeth, Erin, Stacey, Mary and Ed as they are incredible human beings and I am blessed to have spent time with them.

Finally, I would like to personally thank all of the donors who continue to provide for the children of Eden Garden.  I have never been involved in a charitable effort with such transparency, generosity and focus on making sure that the dollars are spent where they can have the largest impact first.  It is to you, the donors, that helped provide the materials and allowed us to make an impact on Eden Garden, the community and for the Ramon family’s damaged home.  The certificate that I received from the principle of Eden Garden Academy  fully belongs to the donors, Eden Garden's board, the fantastic TEAM of individuals on this trip and those fine young men for a job well done all around. Thank you for a fantastic experience!

Sean Ryan
Cisco Systems/Virginia
Trip Participant/Builder

Sunday, Jan 15, 2012: Medical Team Re-Cap

The medical team decided to hold another clinic there on the orphanage grounds on Sunday, inviting children from a neighboring orphanage and sending word to a nearby village that they could come to the clinic for free treatment. One of our patients was a little girl, (probably 9-10 years old) who had  horrible burns on her leg and foot from cooking oil that had fallen on her.  I heard her cries across the clinic where I was in the pharmacy, and came to see what was going on. I watched as nurses Ed and Elizabeth slowly removed dead skin that was still attached, cleaned out her wound, applied Silvadene burn cream and dressed it. As she wailed in pain, Elizabeth got really close to her comfort her, just as a mother would, assuring her that she would be ok and told her that she was being a brave girl. She returned to the clinic as instructed the next day so that they could re-check her wounds and teach her how to apply her own cream (shown in the picture on far right bottom of collage).


The Ramons and Home Repair

Over four years ago, Eden Garden invited Mr. and Mrs. Ramon to eat at the orphanage. Each day they come (spoons in their pockets), and wait patiently for their lunch, which is often their only meal for the day. 

They are a fixture at Eden Garden. Between the two of them, they have one good eye - she is completely blind, and he has one working eye left. We watch as Mr. Ramon lovingly cares for his blind wife, and they are a picture of what marital love in action looks like.

Unfortunately, during the earthquake 2 years ago, the home of this 90 year old couple was damaged, especially their roof, which allowed rain and wind into their bedroom.

After assessing the structural damage and the torn roof, the construction team sent members 

Kurt Kesselman (neighbor of Dave's from Booz Allen Hamilton), and Sean Ryan (co-worker of Dave's from Cisco), who are both very skilled carpenters. These men wanted to fix the roof so that the Ramons could enjoy a rain-free bedroom again. Dangerous problems they encountered were walls and cement blocks that crumbled from the slightest touch.

Charles and Kurt assess the torn roof and damaged home

Imagine sleeping in your bedroom with a roof with a huge gap for one year

Two boys from the orphanage, Merlens and Bichard, helped Kurt and Sean during the day, and into dusk, to repair their home as much as they could.

The Ramons were appreciative and very grateful for the efforts of Sean and Kurt who fixed their roof. 
As they repaired the roof, Mrs. Ramon sang and praised her God all day long. "Merci, Jesus, Merci" - "Thank you, Jesus, thank you", she was saying, over and over again. We marvel at how a lady who has so very little, finds so much to be thankful for. It is a lesson for us all.

The Story of Michou

Thursday morning, Michou, a fragile-looking 17 year old girl found our makeshift clinic in
Fond Paul village, several miles away from Eden Garden. She presented herself for treatment to nurse
Elizabeth who sadly determined that there was not much we could do for Michou except make
her more comfortable, ease her pain and rehydrate her.

Unfortunately, Michou was suffering from end-stage H.I.V., and told Elizabeth that her parents and
family had abandoned her. From the unmistakable look of pain and desperation in her face and
eyes, it was clear to us that Michou was enduring the last days of her disease alone and in the worst environment.
Elizabeth began an IV line of rehydration fluids, and Misael laid a mattress on the floor for her
and cared for her during the day giving Michou water, and when she could eat, some nuts and
granola bar. At the end of the day, Elizabeth determined that she did not want Michou to go
home by herself because she was so weak.

Charles, nurse Erin, interpreter TiTi, and Arden volunteered to walk her to her village up the mountain a mile or so away. And although Charles and Arden walked on each side of her, Michou stumbled and fell hard on the ground, scratching her elbows and knees. She sobbed quietly on the ground, tears flowing, as she could not get up.

Charles and Arden helped her up and took turns carrying Michou home. Sensing that she was a burden on Charles and Arden (whose huffing and puffing indicated that they were struggling with the uphill walk), Michou whispered that she would try to walk. They got to her village, found her two room home, and
placed her on a mat. After praying with her, they left her bottles of water and protein bars, and
later sent some supplies for her wounds and skin with another person. Michou was silent, and
could not even wave goodbye. Her eyes were full of sadness.

On Saturday afternoon, a group led by Elizabeth, and including Glenn, Sean, Kurt, Stacey, Ron and Arden decided to visit Michou at her home to give her more supplies and food. Unfortunatley, Michou was not there, so they left the supplies with her family, who we couldn't even be sure that they would give them to Michou.

Shortly after our group got back to Eden Garden, they were surprised to see Michou and her sister who walked at least three miles in the hot sun to Eden Garden to see us. They heard that we had visited Michou’s home. Michou told her sister that she knew “the Americans would never leave her.” After some refreshments, we were able to put take her home with a bag of medicines, clothes, towels, water, food and some money.

When we said goodbye, Michou hugged and kissed Arden on the cheek, as did her sister. We saw a smile on her face for the first time. And this time, she was able to wave goodbye.


Sat. Jan 14, 2012: Day 5


As much as we were hoping that the bus we shipped over would arrive well before our visit, it did not. However, it did come in the (Saint) nick of time so that we were able to share in the joy of watching our 37 kids at Eden Garden have Christmas in January!  The timing was perfect, after all.
Photos (clockwise) 1) David Wheeler & Arden Brion, otherwise known as "The Wrappers", wondering why on earth I did not just send gift bags over for the 60+ gifts that required wrapping. My answer of "Kids like to rip the paper off" did not seem to satisfy! 2) We sent the kids away and started an assembly line of elves who transported the gifts from the 2nd floor office to the shelter where we would have Christmas. 3) Glenn Gibb, elf in yellow 4) Misael, Ed & Benny making the final drop at the shelter 5) Erin placing the gifts on the appropriate "girl or boy" table 5) The kids coming in with their eyes closed in anticipation

Photos (left to right) 1) Dave leading the kids in, anticipation was high! 2) Mona waiting patiently for Christmas to begin 3) Sean passing out gifts 4) Still waiting... 5) Stacey playing Santa 6) Georgy and  7) Mika & Mona tearing into their gifts

Photos (clockwise) 1) Stacey helping Maydaly open her dolly accessories 2) Sabine & Woodline 3) Sean and Reline 4) Maydaly and her twin dolly! 5) Arden and the kids 6) Scott and Frisnell  (Scott's family had donated many of the Christmas gifts) 7) John got his "MAHchine" he had been asking for 8) Dave playing "Beyblades" with the boys (our son's favorite toy, chosen and purchased by our daughter Sabrina, who contributed her piggy bank savings of $126 for the Eden Garden Christmas).


Fri. Jan 13, 2012: Day 4

Friday was a busy dayand there is much to report, but for now I am just going to give you a glimpse of our day with the medical team through these photos. Info and stories to come later!

Clinic location of Ville Seche, Haiti

Patients waiting to be seen in medical clinic
Reading their medical information paper from triage while waiting to be seen
Elizabeth Wooster, R.N. 

Father waiting in line with his sleeping son

 Benny Hass passing out candy to kids waiting to be discharged
These two girls asked me to take their picture
 Betty Wheeler fitting people with reading glasses
David Wheeler serving water to patients waiting for their prescriptions
Misael Henriquez making friends by taking pictures and showing the kids - they love to see pictures of themselves!

"Etienne", quite happy and tickled to be seen by our medical team, nearly danced with Arden on her way out of the clinic!


Thursday, Jan. 12: Day 3

 Triage under the tent in the village of FondPaul

Today the medical team took it on the road and visited the nearby village of FondPaul.This is a more remote village at the base of a mountain where we have held clinics in the past. Again, we saw a lot of the same types of illnesses we typically see (dehydration, parasites from unclean water, malaria, malnutrition, etc.). There were a few more unusual cases today - a little girl with a bead stuck in her ear, sitting right on her timpanic membrane which likely have required surgery to remove back home. Fortunately,  it came loose by irrigating the ear, a true miracle and answer to prayer according to one of our nurses. There was also a 17 year old girl with H.I.V. who had a heart rate of 200 when she was examined. She was immediately hooked up to I.V. fluids, and within an hour, her heart rate was down to half that.  She stayed most of the day receiving her fluids, and was down to 88 by the time she left. It was discovered that she had very little food, so she was given received a number of snacks (granola & protein bars), and we sent her home with more oral rehydration solution and food. At the end of the day, Charles and Arden (my dad), walked her back to her home, where she will soon die. Even though in the end, we could do nothing to change her terminal prognosis, rehydrating her and feeding her helped her to feel better, even for just a little while. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for.  

 Erin Yoder, R.N. investigating a family's health issues with the help of a translator

 Ed Green, R.N., pulling dead skin off a little girl whose wrist was burned when a pot of hot, boiling water fell on her.

 Stacey Torrens, R.N., giving medicine to a baby, disguised in peanut butter.

Marcel Pichot brought his guitar along to play and teach the kids some guitar basics. Bichard, John Delet, John and Woodline enjoyed his company today.
 Solar Supervisors Allan Rainey (Sonlight Power) and Larry Wooster, with helpers John Rico and Merlens. These young boys so desperately want to be involved and included, and appreciate the opportunity to learn something. Today, the inverters (the hardware and brains of the solar panels) were installed (shown to the right). All of the exterior wiring has now been finished, and tomorrow we will light up the system to run the orphanage on solar power.


Weds Jan. 11, 2012: Day 2

After a good night's rest, we were ready to jump right in and get to work!  Today's solar crew included Allan Rainey & Terri MacGregor of Sonlight Power, Misael Henriquez, Kurt Kesselman, Scott Kramer, Marcel Pichot, Ron Chapman, Dave & Larry Wooster. 9 solar panels were installed on top of the roof above the office at the orphanage.This was the first step in the process,and tomorrow they will start hooking up to the inverter and will hopefully have power! Sean Ryan spent his day engineering and designing new desks for the students at Eden Garden Academy. The desks will seat two students each, and include a space to put some of their school supplies.Currently, our kids sit on old, rickety benches so these new desks will replace some of those.

The medical clinic saw over 100 patients at the clinic on the grounds of the orphanage.  News travels fast and the line of people waiting to be seen by a medical professional grew s quickly. The team mainly saw malaria, parasites, and dehydration. One 18 month old boy came in with H.I.V. and had a variety of issues from that, and consequently will not live for very long. This is sad realization for many mothers in Haiti, which has such a high mortality rate for children under age 5. Tomorrow the medical team will take go on the road and hold a clinic outside in the village of FondPaul, just outside of Montrouis. We ended the night with dinner at the hotel and a re-cap of the day's events, sharing observations and experiences with the team. We stayed and chatted until the dining room closed down, then moved to the outdoor lounge area and visited some more. Then there was that late night karaoke dare between Sean & Dave, but we'll spare you the details on that one.... :o)

 Ron Chapman, Terri MacGregor of Sonlight Power, Scott Kramer and Misael Henriquez with the solar panels that were installed today.
Allan Rainey (of Sonlight Power) and Dave Wooster
Kurt Kesselman and Sean Ryan working on the school desks

The line of people waiting to be seen at the clinic

Mary Speicher working triage at the clinic

This baby was severely dehydrated and got an i.v. line put in.