Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vicki in Haiti

My student Jhonny (yes Jh...) loves JFK and expecially loves the quote, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country".  Well Jhonny, let me tell you...we promise we are going to do for your country!

On November 29, 2011 President Martelly and President Clinton were at the IDB Forum in Port au Prince.  I was fortunate enough to be at the same forum.  During this forum President Martelly announced, "Haiti is open for business."  Indeed it is!  In this picture President Clinton and I had just talked and he was signing some papers so I took the moment to take his picture. (It's kind of hard to take a picture of someone WHILE you are talking to them!) 
I was also lucky enough to meet Vicente Fox the former President of Mexico. Mexico is supporting the growth of Haiti!  Thank you President Fox!
This is the reason Haiti is working so hard to invite investors-the children.  The kids in this picture are living next to the property where my team is hoping to build 204 houses.  During the site visit the kids were gathered around and I asked another team member (Ricardo) to take our picture.  In Haiti learning English is important.  If we are awarded the 204 house contract from USAID, I'll go to Haiti to teach English.  We plan to teach to build while learning English and.... we know it can be done!  The next picture is of my students who have learned English in less than a year, one hour a day via Skype with me.  These guys have changed my life!

They are the future leaders of Haiti!
This is Nadège Robertson Tippenhauer and Hans Tippenhauer. Nadège and I spent several hours chatting about all of the great things that women can do in Haiti. She's a really cool lady all on her own. Executive Director of she's devoted to helping the kids of Haiti. She's my kind of woman! Her husband Hans is an advisor to President Martelly. Together they are going to do good things for Haiti and I love their energy and commmitment!

And last but not least, this is Annie getting a hug from President Clinton.  She's the team leader and I'm proud to be on her team!  Together two housewives from America are going to help change Haiti!  Please join us!  Send me an email at and offer something... thoughts, suggestions, money, your time.... anything.  I promise that I will be able to use your skills to help Haiti rise from the dust!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The good looking young men of Haiti

Have you ever looked at a magazine and said to yourself now that's one good looking guy!  I thought I would present you with some of the best looking young men in Haiti.  All are looking for a job. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time for graduation!

Bengil and Elie

Jonas, Jameson and Dieuve

Milot, Elie, Ralph, Ibens

Bengil and Blaise

Milot, Jhonny, Guervins, Dieuve, Josias, Ralph
Jhonny, Benjil and Elie
The graduating class and the new students

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Take a look at the items on the counter. To you it may look like a handful of pocket composition books, some tools and a bunch of jewelry.  To my students it looks like the start of new business opportunities.  The composition notebooks will be sold to other students who have never had the chance to have a notebook.  The jewelry on the counter will be sold and the money will be used to support the manufacture of the leather goods.

The little tools that you see on the counter are the tools for leather craft.  I’ve ordered more tools and hopefully they will arrive in short order.  The 4:00 students have put together a business plan to design and make leather wallets, change purses, book covers and all things leather.  They will be making the items for the next few months, when I return to Haiti I'll bring the wallets back with me, so keep watching my blog and you will see the items for sale.  They will be of original design and each student’s logo will be on each item.  I expect you will see their individual personalities in the designs they present for your consideration.  If you have request, please let me know and I’ll pass on the information to the students. 

I would like to say a special thank you to a several people who have supplied money to begin this venture, without you, this would have been impossible.  Please join me and pray for their success.  Keep watching and buy their handiwork. It will be great to own one of their first works of art!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I write this blog because I want a special someone to know how important his work is.  Day after day, he goes to work.  He doesn’t need to set the alarm clock because his internal clock rings.  That internal clock not only says it’s time to get up, it tells him that his family needs him, that there are people who are depending on his hands to make things work so they can do their job too.  The blue collar worker… not such a flattering title.  

While it may be true he looks good in a blue uniform, it is truer that the work he performs is extremely essential.  I propose we change that title to “essential workers”.  The work he does every day is essential.  His family has always worked with their hands.  It was during his childhood he learned which wrench fit which bolt.  He learned how to change brakes, repair alternators and rebuild engines.  In his spare time he learned how to plumb the kitchen sink and wire the light switch.  On weekends he learned how to plow the snow, re-roof the house and run a skid loader.

He may have not ever sat in a classroom learning the proper punctuation of sentences, how to develop a spreadsheet or how to trade stock on the NYSE.  But then again, we can all communicate without proper punctuation, we can write our numbers down on paper and he’s been bartering since he was about seven! 

I know hundreds of people who have gone to college and only a handful who can change a set of brakes on their car.  What has happened to our country, have we sent everyone off to college and forgotten to teach some to work with their hands?  Soon we will be out of workers and when that happens our society will fall to pieces. There will be no one to manufacture or fix anything.  We as a country must honor and appreciate the “essential workers”, for they are the ones who keep our lives in order.  A computer cannot fix our cars or build our homes or change our brakes.

Let’s stop saying everyone should go to college and start saying we need to teach our children a skill.  Not everyone needs to know how to install a program on the computer.  But we all DO need to know how to fix our own leaking toilet.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Irene

As hurricane Irene sets her site on my students in Port au Prince. These are the messages I recieve from my students.  There are an estimated 600,000 people still living in tents, some of them are my students.

Jhonny Lindor listen mom haiti is still in the bad situation don't you know you are our mom in haiti do not leave us alone mom please we need your help haiti mom all i know one day can help my self and others i love you mom

Please Jesus do something because "HAITI" is still under tents.
Jameson Ostine

Thursday, August 4, 2011

That's me!

Yes, I'm proud to say I was a featured member of Rebuild Haiti Better!
I'm proud to be among many who are dedicated to rebuilding Haiti!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Artists for Hope

One of my favorite places to shop.  Artists for Hope.

I am your friend

This is for my 4:00 students... I'm missing them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cholera-a quick needless death

Question: What causes cholera?
Answer: Exposure to contaminated or untreated drinking water

Question: Is there a treatment?
Answer:Treatment is to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through diarrhea. Depending on the condition, you may be given fluids by mouth or through a vein (intravenous). Antibiotics may shorten the time you feel ill.

Question: Can I die from cholera?
Answer: YES-Expecially if you are in Haiti.

Question: Does anyone care?
Answer: Yes, Lori and Licia @ Real Hope for Haiti

Question: Do you care?
Answer: Click here to find the answer.


Cholera Update

Mourning cholera victims Partners In Health

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pick one... anyone....

I have had several readers ask about how they can help my students in Delmas 33. Although Teach the World Online provides free English lessons to all students, there are some students who are still living in tents and in less than desirable conditions.  They are working very hard to go to school in addition to attending my English classes.  School supplies are almost inaccessible to most students.  The luxury of a spiral notebook and a pen that works is beyond the reach of some. Without a piece of paper and a pen, it's pretty hard to take notes, practice, do homework and share your knowledge with someone else.  I have opened an account which will allow me to transfer money to the students and although I am not a "nonprofit" you can be assured every penny you send, will be given directly to the students.  I will personally pay the transfer fee.  If you would like to gift any amount to the Delmas 33 students you may do so by sending it to Paypal.  Upon receipt of your money, I will transfer it to the student who is in the most need at the moment.  You can expect a thank you letter from that student, via e-mail within three days.  If they can find a camera, they'll also take a picture and send it to you. 

By sponsoring a student you can help fight poverty in Haiti by helping them have a pen and paper on which to write their homework. 

I can assure you, there is nothing more important that you can do than to help a person who desires something as simple as "a chance".

Here is a picture of my class.  Pick one.... anyone....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My First Moments in Haiti - with new my students

There is very little to say, I believe after you watch this movie you will know there are no words that could ever describe how we are feeling.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Looking Forward

My life is my story and I choose to share it with my readers because I believe we all have something to share and you are no exception. If you are a first time visitor or a return visitor I invite you to look at your own life and find the things that have impacted you the most. Those events are what we commonly call life changing events. They are the things that shape who you are what you do, how you think and they lead you towards your greater purpose.

The Bible tells us before we were formed in the womb God knew us by name, we are His and he has a plan to give us hope and a future. Every single day of our life has been prepared for us. Look forward to His plans.

My blog (or collection of blogs) has been a process of identifying my dreams, core values and beliefs. I’ve shared everything from a personal letter to my son to how messy my pantry looks, my birthday (twice!), the sadness I feel for the conditions in Haiti, my cool job, statistics, funny moments and my struggle listening to God. Along the way there have been a couple of life changing experiences. I am looking forward to Gods plan for me and the life changing events that are sure to come my way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Looking Back

This month marks six months I've been working with my class in Delmas, Haiti. The first day I met them, they were still identifying colors and shapes. I've asked the students to write an essay as best they can in English, today I received my first essay to grade. I'd like to share it.  If my students can do this in six months with only an hour a day on an "iffy" internet connection, just think what we could do with 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with a good internet connection.

Would you all like to help me grade this paper :-)

What makes you unique?

The core word of this question is “UNIQUE”.ENCATA defines unique as being the only one of a kind, being different from other in a way that makes someone or something special or worthy. Regardless of one’s belief, either in Bible either in the theory of evolution of Darwin, everyone can agree that the earth has been peopled for more than one million years. With this age knowing as humans give birth fast, the number of humans that have lived is uncountable. But let’s focus on men .So all these men were they similar, or were they different?

Is there a chance that I’m the exact copy of somebody who had lived before?

A sharp study will bring light upon our debate.

To discuss that subject we will consider five points: BIRTHDATE, FAMILY NAME, RESEMBLANCE IN APPEREANCE,SIMILARITIES IN CHARACTER at least the PERSONALITY.

Life is with no doubt the most beautiful thing that exists… To experience happiness, bliss and love one must be alive. The process of life will not be part of our study but we’ll emphasis on the birth in this point .Even though we take count of the exact time of the delivery it’s probable that more than five babies take birth at the same moment. Therefore many people can have the same birthday or if you allow this abuse of language the same birth minute.

Generally after the birth every baby is given a name .According to the Bible since God had created the first man HE had given him a name and thus to the woman; this has kept on up to now .A name is given to a child to call him or her when needed and to identify him or her from other members of the family ,surrounding et cetera. The question of last name has been coined by Italians at the beginning of our era… Normally children bear the last name or their father but sometimes resulting to a variety of problems some mothers give their last name to their child. The last name tells the origins of the child and helps identify the child from other children who might have the same first name as him or her.

Hereditary links are so remarkable that some children walk, talk in the same way as their parents. Sometimes when you see a kid there is no need to meet his father or his mother. We made this a approach to make you see and understand that two people could have the same name or the same character and behavior. Even though we do know that nature has a different impact on each person, which will help the person to build her personality.

The personality is somebody’s set of characteristics, his or her total attitudes, interests, behavioral pattems, emotional responses, social roles and other individual traits that endure over long periods of time. George Sylvain a Haitian poet of the 19th century said that the name we are given is a mirror in which our behavior and personality are reflected sometimes.

From the first point to the last discussed in this study let’s notice that none can top the personality. Though it is seldom that two people have the same full name but it is something that’s already happened. According to the fact that the birthrate in a hospital in the USA is “X” and in Haiti it is “X” so we can all admit that many babies can be borned at exactly the same time. In family children can have the same handwriting as their parents. And we cannot ignore the prominent resemblance that exists between family’s members.

Someone cannot be the only one of his kind depending on his birth date, name ,appearance, character just because regardless, as we mentioned at the beginning of this study, of one’s belief we’ve all been created in the image of God or come all from one man. But the human kind is spread on a big ball of 40,000km of circumference; each region is different from others by its climate, relief, culture, wealth, education level, belief et cetera. Every nation is different from others. In families, the source of all societies, there is a lot differences between siblings. The nature impacts every body differently so in this point of view every body is different from others; but that difference dwells in the personality of everyone. People’s personalities are like their finger prints none one on earth can have the same characteristic, given in the definition beneath of personality, as you. I am unique because I have a lot of qualities and flaws that nobody else has; because the way I think nobody else can think that way ,nobody else can love my mother, my brothers, my girlfriend the way I love them.
All I can say as a teacher, is I'm proud.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I have a question.

I am all for the United States Navy. They are my heros in so many ways. All around the world our men (including my two sons) and women serve our country and provide support to so many other contries. On April 6 the HSV 2 Swift finally delivered nearly $1 million worth of relief supplies to Haiti. However, the Navy’s program Project Handclasp spokesperson said because of various transport difficulties the bulk of the food had passed its expiration date and had to be thrown away.

Now I know most food has an expiration date of a “long time” which tells me that the food either was old to begin with or it’s been sitting in a warehouse for a “long time”. Which is it?

If it was old to begin with, why did Project Handclasp accept it in the first place? If it has been sitting in a warehouse that long, why is that? Someone needs to be doing their job a little better. It is not only wasteful, it is heartbreaking.

Commander Lewis Preddy, said sending the food on a ship earlier would have meant drawing down resources from humanitarian missions elsewhere and I wouldn’t want that to happen either. But I would like to know who didn’t check the expiration dates before it was loaded on that ship.

We are the United States, we make things happen in a timely fashion. Commander Preddy, you need to check the expiration dates a little closer.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Young Haitian professionals working towards lasting development

What do you do when you see a need? Fill it! That is exactly what a group of young collegiate and professionals have done in Delmas. In Haiti there is a saying, “to do something by nails”. Translated… trying to get something done with out the proper tools and frames. Buteau and his friends put their heads together and developed a plan to address the lack of proper tools and help the community build a frame on which they could build lasting development.

MOJECF- a French acronym translated to English means, the mobilization of the young people against the flails was created in 2006 and recognized by the Haitian government in 2008 as a nonprofit, humanitarian, Christian community organization. MOJECF is committed to community education to combat the flails the youth of Delmas encounter every day of their life.
Recently MOJECF has sponsored several community awareness programs to address environmental protection, communal hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis. In partnership with CCHER (Center for Community Health Education and Research), Food for the Poor, CONCERN, Grace Children’s Hospital, guest speakers Dr. Blandine and Dr. Duc, hundreds of Delmas citizens have been given the proper tools to develop a framework for lasting development.

Join with me to help spread the word, support them and pray for their successful continuation.
Visit their web page and send them a note of congratulations.

The mobilization of the young people against the flails
Rue MarienT Delmas 31 #21 Port-au-Prince (W.I)
Tel.: (509)3441-0979

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!!!

How on earth could I have missed the opportunity to share with you my birthday?  Well here it is.  This is my intermediate class in Port au Prince (Delmas) Haiti.  I'm taking a video with my camera pointing at my computer screen.  You can see my shadow but more important, you can see just how suprised I was!

It is Elie who is reading the "Birthday Card" for me, but it is the whole class singing.  Enjoy! 

I know today is a red letter day for you and you may trust me if I tell you we feel the same.  Today is not only a day that God preserves but also a day that He did a miracle. Thank goodness that we have met that first teacher and we can not exchange that day for anything.  I know you know my hands can’t reach you but my words can reach your heart. In the world there are many different ways to say that you love some one but here is a different way …. And there are many different languages in which you can wish Happy Birthday to some one but mine is in Creole, Bon fet.

Does it sound cliché to say, my life has been changed because of this class?  Even if it has.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Communique' #86

Here is a picture of my friends Nora and Leon. Nora is the Executive Director for Caribbean Children's Foundation Missionary to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Among about a million other things, Nora likes to gather sea glass and I like to buy sea glass! That's how we got to be friends. A few day's ago I was reading Nora's Communique' #86. Every time I read that word communique' it makes me happy! By the time I was done reading Communique' #86 (see I just had to say it again because it makes me smile!) anyway... I wanted to share with you a little story that happens right out side of Nora's door.

At about 4:30PM every morning, it seems that a truck stop of sorts is located on the shoulder of the road across the street from my home. Blowing their excessively loud air horns, two or three large open bed trucks will arrive, pulling their vehicle onto the side of the road to park their rig facing the oncoming traffic that is entering the gates of the city of LesCayes. Soon smaller vehicles, people on motorcycles and people on foot will arrive to start filling the trucks with their merchandise in preparation for their long journey from LesCayes to Port-au-Prince. Large bags of various products are lifted up into the bed of the truck, where the men in charge wedge each parcel into a precise spot. The bags will contain one of many things, such as charcoal, rice, fruit or clothing. The passengers, mostly peasant woman, will climb on top to begin settling in for their long ride. Some very elderly women will defy their age by making two or three very un-ladylike steps from the ground, up the side of the truck and over the top railing to find the best seat possible for the lengthy ride to a roadside market in the capital city of Haiti.

A most enterprising lady always appears alongside the trucks. She is pushing a rusty old wheelbarrow with a tire that is more square than it is round. Nestled under a bundle of towels and rags is a steaming pot of food. The roll-along diner is soon swarmed by hungry passengers needing some sustenance prior to their nighttime journey. A heaping mound of beans and rice is artfully placed on a Styrofoam plate with a plastic spoon piercing the savory food. The passengers are adept at climbing up into the truck without spilling a morsel from their plateful of food that will be enjoying, while perching on top of one of the gigantic bags of juice oranges heading to market. Many passengers finish their food just as the driver of the truck prepares to start the engine. The discarded plates soon become the stepping stones of pedestrians on the gravel paths below. Even the next morning, the remnants of the food feast lay scattered throughout the neighborhood, in spite of a nearby sign that pleads for no trash to be thrown in this area.

When departure time seems imminent, passengers wedge themselves into the best possible position for the long, bumpy, breakneck speed ride into the big city – a ride that may include unpredictable weather of high winds or rains or the serenity of a beautiful umbrella of a starlit sky. Some tighten a scarf around their head. Some put on a sweater in an attempt to keep the chill of the damp night air from their bones. Some decide that a more reclining type position would better suit them for being able to sleep along the way.
This is the life of a street vendor. A small fee is paid for each sack of merchandise brought on the truck. A small fee is paid for each passenger who will nestle themselves amongst the hodge podge mounds of market goods. At times, passengers are even accompanied by livestock of goats and chickens who are heading to market. The truck will wind over two mountain ranges, forge through rivers where bridges have been washed away and slide through treacherous sections of road that sometimes require the passengers to get down from their thrones of rough sack cloth to walk through the area so that the lightened load can get everyone to their destination.
The destination for many is a little place to squat in a tiny spot on a smelly, muddy, trash-strewn roadside. There they will compete, shoulder-to-shoulder, with hundreds of others who have come to sell the very same product that they have come to sell. There they will stay, many times in the baking sun, until they have sold what they have brought and made enough money to return home and start the process all over again.
One cannot say that the Haitian people are not hard workers. The Haitian people will do whatever they have to do to survive. I watch grown men riding bicycles to their jobs, as it is their only means of transportation. I watch as men carry live chickens throughout the community, trying to sell them to a housewife needing a meal for her family. I watch teenagers peddling brooms, pharmaceuticals, electrical gadgets and other desired items, as they weave on foot through the chaotic traffic. My thoughts then turn towards corporate America. Has anyone climbing the corporate ladder ever worked under conditions such as this, just to bring a single dollar home to their family at night? Yet, here in Haiti, we see this type of labor day after day after day! It is the norm, rather than the exception. Haitians earn little, but work hard! Haitians are survivors!
When you sit in your homes tonight, after a long day at work, take a moment to bow your head! Take time to thank God for the blessings that you have! And while you are at it … ask him for a special blessing for a Haitian worker !
And for Nora and Leon and their work with the The Caribbean Children's Foundation.
Until next time,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Artists for Hope

I haven't left the house for several days and I felt like shopping. One of my favorite places to shop is Artists for Hope. My first purchase from them was a beautiful necklace and earrings. I wear them all of the time. Today I bought baskets made by 81 year old Madame La Rousse Jn. Pierre. This basket is made from a very special weaving technique that isn’t used very often in Haiti anymore because it is very difficult. You can read more about this amazing woman at
Or if you click on any of the pictures you will go directly to the shopping page. Enjoy!

Here is a picture of the baskets at MY house!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Volunteers helping to restore education in class rooms throughout Port au Prince

Snow is falling in Northern Illinois this week and that gives Vicki Kessel a great opportunity to carry her computer outside and show the snow drifts to her English class in Haiti. Vicki lives 150 miles west of Chicago, and she loves her volunteer virtual teaching job. “The kids show up and are so eager to learn, I just love this work.”

For 3 months Vicki has been connected to classes of 10 to 20 students organized in Port au Prince by Teach the World Online, which started offering classes to children living in the tent cities three weeks after the earthquake and is trying to expand the classroom sites in Haiti as fast as donations will allow. Money is needed for the student classroom space rental, the internet access costs, and one laptop computer for each class, and speakers to plug in so the children can hear the teacher talking to them from the laptop screen.

Working with Teach the World online’s curriculum coordinator, Vicki has her daily lesson plans and works to engage the class, get them to speak to her and to each other in English. There is a class monitor who helps interpret and keep the class focused on the Haitian end. Children have lessons to take home, and “each one, teach one” is expected from the children, who have widely varying English skills.

It has been reported that 4000 schools were destroyed by the earthquake in Haiti. Free universal education is not offered, and tuition schools are too expensive for most children, so the children of Haiti are losing valuable years of education as they wait to see how and when their country will be rebuilt.
Vicki Kessel is logging on to Skype and hoping the connection will stay strong for her 4 PM Port au Prince class, because today they will be reciting some poetry, and singing a song they learned this week. She sees 6 faces in the small camera range, with 10 more behind, all eager to speak to her . She starts; “Hello Everyone, My name is Vicki, and I live in Illinois. What is your name, and where do you live?” In a later poling question she asks, “How many of you live in a tent?” On her monitor she sees all the hands go up, tent is an English word that everyone knows.
To see a class and hear a teacher starting a class of beginners go to:
Contact information:
Vicki Kessel

Justin Purnell

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Teach the World Online

Teach the World Online

Click on the picture and it will take you to the facebook page!

I've been writing about Haiti for about three years. I'm a supporter of several GREAT organizations who are making a difference in Haiti. From caring for those who are sick to caring for the children who have no where to go and spreading the word about many others who are making a difference. I try hard to make these people REAL. Because they are, all of them have names and all of them deserve love and support and accolades for what they are doing.
I've been asked to join Teach the World Online teaching students to speak English in Port au Prince. Now you may think speaking English is not that important but I want to tell you from the very first day I started teaching, I learned from the students what it was like to want to do something so bad that they would sit in the dark to get it done.
That's right. While we were having class, it got dark and there was no electricity. We communicate via Skype and they have a laptop that is hooked up to car batteries to make it run, when it got dark the only light in the room was from the monitor. I sat and looked at my computer monitor and all I saw was darkness. But I could still hear the excitment in their voices while we were practicing our vocabulary words. Have you ever wanted something that bad?
Would you like a school built with your name on it? Here is what I am asking my readers to do. Give money. For less than $1000 a new virtual classroom can be built. Why are we doing this? Well let me tell you....
An uncalculated number of professors, professionals and students were killed or fled Haiti after the earthquake, causing brain-drain of a critically needed people for the country and TWOL is reversing brain drain.

What makes Teach the World Online different? WE GET IT!
Unlike many other nonprofit organizations, we hire local Haitians in Port au Prince to work in our schools as teaching assistants and we stay here (except for the occasional visit of course). What’s more, we embrace the philosophy of the snowball effect. When each of the 150 students shares their knowledge with their family members, 500 lives will be changed! Even better than that our school is free to all the students who attend!

Teach the teacher is a concept that Teach the World Online will champion across the world, over the next years. Join us; give your money to build a virtual school in Port au Prince. If you can’t give your money, give your time and become a teacher!