Actions and Results for Saturday, June 23: Posted by Caryn Wooster

After working hard for three days, we all needed a day of rest. Some went to the local church on the orphanage grounds in the morning, while others relaxed at the hotel beach for a while.  Then in the afternoon, we grabbed some of our older kids from the orphanage and took them on a little field trip with us which was a special treat for them. We took a hike up the mountain to visit two special people we met on our last trip.

The first was Michou, a young girl dying with H.I.V. who we treated on our January trip. Frail and thin, she walked down the mountain from her home to greet us and graciously saved us a further hike uphill on a horribly hot day. She happily greeted the crowd of visitors with hugs and made her way around to see each person. I’m sure it was quite a scene for those watching, since it’s not often to have a crowd of “blancs” (they call us “the whites”) visiting. We guessed that she felt like a bit of a rock star, happily posing for pictures with old friends and new friends.  We also visited an elderly woman who we found laying in the dirt, dehydrated and hungry on the walk to Michou’s home in January. Though she has children living within a few feet of her, she lives worse than a dog. Our medical team treated her, and gave her some food and drink.

Saturday night after dinner, all of us went back to the orphanage to spend some time with the kids. There was a game of dominoes being played on the floor, hair braiding of Emily, Erin & Sabrina by some of our older girls, and a work-out station led by Jonathan, who is a personal trainer by profession.  Some other ladies organized a storage area of items that were sent on the shipping container while our construction crews worked on the kitchen and electrical projects until 1:00 in the morning. Knowing how tired everyone was, this was quite impressive to us, and earned the team the title “The Graveyard Shift!”

Exercising with Jonathan Ordway, Kelly Hlavka with Phala & Verline, Braiding Emily Barnett’s hair and Stacey Torrens, Kelly and Vanessa Bevington playing games with the kids.


Actions and Results for Sunday, June 24: Posted by Caryn Wooster

Even though it was the weekend, lots of students returned to the school to enjoy one last program of crafts, stories, singing, games and snacks offered by the Vacation Bible School team at the Eden Garden Academy. The school principal, Christian, was thrilled with the program and knew that the kids were enjoying it so much, that they would have no problem coming in to school on a Sunday!

The medical team held their last clinic today in the town of Lanzac, about 15 minutes from the orphanage. Though 70 tickets were passed out for families to be seen, the day seemed to really move  slowly because nearly all of the families that were seen were 5-6 people each.  We were all trying to use up our extra snacks and donated items, so kids walked out with bags of snacks, toys and even some brand new shoes for the babies and dresses and shorts which were made by one of Dave & Kelly’s fellow Cisco co-workers, Megan Charles. When the Vacation Bible School team finished their last program with the kids, they came over to lend a hand in the clinic so that we could finish and get out before an evening program that was being held in the building that evening.

The few hours of work done on Saturday night enabled our construction crew to complete the kitchen project on Sunday and Eden Garden Orphanage now has a nice new kitchen! We are so grateful to Gramaco Inc. for the donation of the beautiful granite countertops and to Brookgrove Foundation in Maryland for the 2 commercial ovens and a stove they gave us! The solar panel installation was also completed – thanks to Ron & Beth Chapman for donating these solar panels to give Eden Garden the power they needed!

We spent some more time with the kids and then said our goodbyes, which were tearful for everyone.  It’s hard for us to leave because the kids are so sad to see us go, some just sobbing as we hug for the last time. We have been told that visits from teams like ours are the highlights of these kids’ lives. The way I explained it to my 11 year old daughter, Sabrina, is like this: In our family, we have a 1:1 ratio of kids to parents. You, as our children, get so much love and attention and you absolutely know that you are the center of our lives. Imagine sharing 2 parents’ love and affection (by our director Jean Claude and his wife Ronise) with 36 other kids in your family like the kids at Eden Garden do.

Surely it makes them feel pretty special when someone takes the time to notice them as individuals, to hold them and pay attention to them, especially when in the Haitian culture, kids are not as valued or treated quite the same way as most of our kids probably are at home. Instead, children are often seen as an inconvenience or further burden on an already difficult existence. This is evidenced by the fact that there are over 40 orphanages in the town of Montrouis, but probably only about 50% are actually true orphans – the rest have parents but they are unable to care or provide for them. While you would hope that these parents would still come to visit and maintain a relationship with their children, most do not – and it is heartbreaking.  It helps you understand why they just DRINK UP any love and affection we can offer to them.  

At dinner time that evening, we passed around notes that the kids had written to some of us in their broken English, thanking us for coming, and for the things we brought for them or did for them (“thank you for electricity”, “thank you for shoes”). Of all the things we do and bring and provide for them, the greatest gift that we can offer them is our time and attention. I’d say it doesn’t cost us a thing, but in fact, it does. However, the connections we make with the kids and the people of Haiti draw our hearts together and change our lives, and it keeps us coming back. We will return to Haiti for our next mission trip from November 13-20 of this year and then again in January 2013.

Join us and you’ll see why!


 1) Dave Wooster 2) Sabrina Wooster 3) Ranee & Peter Selufsky 4) Vanessa Bevington 5) Amy Bocala 6) Erin Yoder


From left to right): 1) Peter Selufsky triaging patients in Sunday’s clinic in Lanzac 2) Kelly Hlavka helped distribute hand-made dresses and shorts sent by Megan Charles 3) Ed Green, R.N. 4) Alonni Cochrane Grannam and Glenn Gibb escort patients from station to station at the medical clinics. 5) Giovanna Sobhrino discharges patients with instructions on their prescriptions with the help of a translator


Kitchen before & kitchen after renovation with Scott Kramer, Kurt Kesselman and Dave Wooster. Chris Cromwell prepares the floor to mount the cabinets that were pre-built in Maryland and sent over on the sea container. It took a village to carry the commercial stove (donated by the Brookgrove Foundation) into the kitchen. A new septic system was installed to accommodate the increased usage that the renovated kitchen will bring. Ron Chapman stands with the solar panels that he & his wife, Beth, donated so the orphanage could have more power.