Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Holiday Sponsorship Team 2016!

On December 31, 2016, our holiday sponsorship team arrived at TOHH in Grand Goâve, Haiti! It was a successful week, packed with activities for the kids, home visits to the sponsored kids' houses, a home improvement project, an even a Christmas party!!

The 2016 Holiday Sponsorship Team arrives in Haiti!!

New Year's Eve fun!
I had so much fun leading this amazing team from Massachusetts! The team was made up of child sponsors, family members of child sponsors, and also a few who didn't sponsor a child. Thanks to the December 2016 team for being TOHH's first sponsorship trip!

Game night with the Sutton Family
When we arrived on New Year's Eve, we knew our week was going to be filled with things to accomplish. But first, we celebrated the New Year and had a game night with the Sutton family from Hands and Feet!

Church service at MOHI
On Sunday morning, our team attended church at Mission of Hope International! Many of our community members (including sponsored children) go to church there as well.

Kay Mirliton
After church, we headed off to Kay Mirliton, Mission of Hope's Guesthouse. We visited with Pastor Lex and Renee, and enjoyed their beautiful beach view.

Chelle walks with Albidus
After lunch, our team set out to do some home visits in our community! During the home visits, the child sponsors on the team were able to see where their children live and meet their families. The families are so grateful to meet the sponsors who have changed the lives of their children by allowing them to continue their education. On Sunday, we visited the homes of Didi, Dodo, Jude, Lucienne, Willy, and Marley.

Chelle gifts Christmas gifts to Didi, Dodo, and their mother

Didi and Dodo (brother and sister) live in a one-room house built by Be Like Brit. They have enough land that they were able to keep the home they had lived in before.

Dodo opens a gift!

The younger children in the family sleep with their mother in the old home, and the older siblings sleep in the new home.
Carleen with Didi, Dodo, and their mother

Didi and Dodo's sponsors, Chelle and Carleen, gave them outfits to wear to the holiday party while we were visiting the home!

Jude looking cool in his new sunglasses!
Jude lives in a one-room wooden home with a divider in the middle of the home that creates two rooms. He lives with six brothers, three sisters, his mother, and his father. When we arrived for the home visit, the family had one bed with no mattress (they used clothes covered by a sheet). Three people slept on the bed, while the rest slept on the floor. The family also has a small kitchen area outside of their home.

Chelle with Lucienne and her mother

Lucienne lives in a one-room home built by Be Like Brit. Similar to Didi and Dodo's family, her family had enough land to keep the home where they had lived before. The family uses both homes to sleep in, and Lucienne herself sleeps in the new home.

Inside Willy's home

Willy lives in a one-room concrete home which, when we arrived for the home visit, did not have a bed or a mattress and the family slept on the floor of their home.

Inside Marley's home
(Photo taken in October when Carleen gave Marley new beds)

Marley lives in a two-room concrete home with her her mother, brother, and two sisters. The family rents this home. In October, Marley's sponsor, Carleen, purchased supplies for and helped build two beds and mattresses for this family which they have in their home.

The team attends English-Creole service at MOHI
At night, we attended Mission of Hope's English-Creole church service, where many of the songs are sung and the scripture is read in both English and Creole.

An outfit and shoes for every child!
After church, our team worked on organizing a project that had been in progress for months. A huge thank you to Mary, Leslie, and Melissa who worked so hard to put together a Christmas gift for every sponsored child to receive at the Christmas party!! Mary and Leslie collected donations of brand-new sample shoes from Reebok and set aside a pair for each child. Melissa held a clothes donation drive and organized a shirt and pants (or a dress for some of the girls) for each sponsored child. From the donations she received, she was also able to include toothbrushes, coloring books, and crayons in many of the gifts!

Organizing Christmas gifts
On Sunday night, our team worked to match each pair of shoes with an outfit for a child. After they were all organized, we put them back in our luggage bags to hide them from the kids - these Christmas presents were going to be a surprise!!

Creole class with Suzie!

On Monday morning, the team had their first Creole lesson with our amazing translator, Suzie! Suzie does such a great job working with the teams, and we are so thankful for her.

Wilzer and his father
Evando receives legos!
After the Creole lesson, our team was able to see two of the sponsored children (Wilzer and Evando) receive birthday or Christmas gifts from their sponsors.

Mary and Leslie with some of the Rene Family

Our Monday was packed with home visits and kid time! In the morning, we traveled to Emmanuel's home and met his family.

He lives in a one-room home with his mother, father, and seven siblings.

Feliere works on a sewing project

When we did the home visit, the family had two twin beds, neither of which had a mattress.

His mother is a seamstress, and the family was working on some sewing when we arrived!

On the way back from Emmanuel's home, one of the kids told us that he wanted to have a race with Patrick. When we agreed, of course, all the other kids wanted to join in (even the smallest)! So, we made a start line and a finish line, and they had a race!
On your mark... get set... GO!
Carleen and Rose Berline!
On Monday afternoon, we visited another one of the sponsored children, Rose Berline. Rose Berline lives in a one-room home with her mother, grandfather, aunt, and uncle. The family has one bed in their home.

Inside Philaure's house, Carleen gives her a Christmas gift (sunglasses)!

We also visited the homes of two other sponsored children: Demas and Philaure.
Demas lives in a concrete home that's a short ride from our TOHH Guesthouse. His mother loved that we came to visit, and was so happy to see us!

Philaure also lives a short drive away from the Guesthouse. She lives with her mother, sister, brother, and cousin in a one-room concrete home. They have two beds and a table in their home. 
Hammer time!

Tuesday began with another Creole lesson with Suzie! After that, the team started their home improvement project.

Mary, Leslie, and Ethan paint a table!

During our pre-trip meetings, we also discussed what type of project we could do during our week, since the theme of our trip was working with the sponsored children instead of a home-build.

Patrick helps Gama cut a 2x4
So, our team raised funds to build tables and beds for three families, as well as purchase mattresses for the beds.

Carleen and Nyah help paint!
Flantorge, who coordinates child sponsorship Haiti-side, looked into the home situations of many of the children and decided which three families were in most need of a bed, table, and mattress.

Leslie, Grace, and Carleen hammer the frame of the bed

We would deliver these later on during our week.

Grace and Suzie speak about wound cleaning!
During the afternoon on Tuesday, we hosted a health seminar for our sponsored children and their families! We are so thankful for Grace and Jill whose efforts came together to create this seminar. Grace led the first half of the seminar with a focus on wound cleaning. She received donations of medical supplies that she used during the seminar.

Leslie cleans a cut on Blan's leg
Our team also helped pack one bag of wound cleaning supplies (i.e. alcohol prep pads, antibiotic ointment, bandages) for each child to take home. Many of the children receive cuts and scrapes that go unnoticed or uncleaned because they may not have these supplies at their homes. Thanks to Grace, the children learned how to clean their wounds and can do this for themselves at home! After the demonstration, our team worked together to clean and bandage the wounds that the kids had.

Jill checks the blood pressure for Philaure, Esther, and David's mother
After the portion on wound cleaning, Jill did a seminar on blood pressure! She spoke about what blood pressure is, and how it could potentially be dangerous to one's health. Jill also measured the blood pressure of the adults who attended the seminar and recorded the information on a card for them to take home. If their blood pressure was too high, she informed them that they should visit the clinic at Mission of Hope. After the seminar, Jill was also able to check the blood pressures of the TOHH staff members! They were so grateful!!
Cliforde loves his cupcake!

On Tuesday, our team was part of a TOHH birthday celebration!

Marley reads her birthday card

We had three birthdays during our week in Haiti - Cliforde, Ketlove, and Marley.

Ketlove receives a doll!

The children each decorated and ate a cupcake, and received a gift!

Shoes in the open market
Wednesday was a big day for our team in Haiti - the day of the Christmas party!! The kitchen staff went to the market bright and early to purchase the food and supplies they would need for the party. After the Creole lesson, our team also went to the market to purchase some shoes for a few remaining children, as well as popcorn for Friday's movie night!

Carleen visits Ketlove's home

After the market, we visited two children's homes: Ketlove and Netuna.
Leslie and Netuna meet for the first time

Although Ketlove and Netuna are sisters, they do not live in the same home. Ketlove lives in a concrete home with her aunt.

Netuna lives in a concrete home with her uncle. The family has one bed and a kitchen area outside their home. It was an amazing experience for Netuna and her sponsor, Leslie, to meet for the first time!

The TOHH Guesthouse is all decorated!
Wednesday afternoon was our TOHH Christmas Party! Before the party, our team decorated the TOHH Guesthouse with holiday decorations they had brought from America. When we finished, the sun had set, and the lights on the Guesthouse looked gorgeous!

The kitchen staff work hard to prepare the meal

Each sponsored child was invited to come the party with one adult (a parent, aunt, uncle, or older sibling). A huge thank you to the kitchen staff, including Katia and Jocelyne, who prepared enough food to feed 150 people!

Nathan puts an ornament on the tree
The kids' gifts are wrapped
and ready under the tree!

During the party, we prayed, sang, and gave out the Christmas gifts! The team had set up a Christmas tree outside and invited two of our sponsored children, Cliforde and Nathan, to help decorate the tree!

The bottom of the tree was filled with gifts, and the children were so surprised to see them when they came for the party!

Ezechiel receives an outfit and a pair of shoes!
Jill says her name and where she is from in Creole!
Each of the missionaries also came up to the microphone and said their name and where they are from in Creole!

Setting up tables and chairs

Our team passed out the food to all of our guests; this was special 'party food' that our community may not have at any other time of the year. Our team agreed that it was so powerful to see 150 people eat a large meal, and leave our TOHH Guesthouse with their bellies full. Thank you for your support in making this happen!!
All 150 guests received a meal and a drink!!
Peterson receives a pair of shorts!
After the party, we had some children stay at the TOHH Guesthouse to receive other gifts from their sponsors.

Netuna receives a gift from Leslie

Mary brought gifts for her mother's sponsored child, Emmanuel, and Leslie brought gifts for her sponsored child, Netuna.

Netuna opens her Christmas gift!

Emmanuel loved his Emmanuel College shirt!!

Emmanuel was so excited when he received a t-shirt from Emmanuel College - it had his name on it!!

Mary and Leslie with Emmanuel
Ketlove opens her Christmas gift!

Jude opens his gift!
Chelle and Carleen also gave their sponsored children Christmas gifts, and the kids were so happy to receive them!
Willy receives a toy Jeep!

Thanks to all the child sponsors who made this holiday season a special one to remember for all our sponsored kids!

Leslie and Carleen unload a mattress from the vehicle

Thursday was another busy day for our Holiday Sponsorship Team! We started the day by delivering the tables, beds, and mattresses from our home improvement project to the families who were to receive them.

Claude will sleep well in his new bed!

The first family whose home we visited was the Jelin family. The sponsored children in this home are Claude, Peterson, Jude, Nathan, and Venal (Blan). On Monday we had seen that this family lives in a home with ten children and two parents, and only one bed (with no mattress). When we delivered the bed, mattress, and table, the family was overjoyed!

We arrive at Emmanuel's house with
 a new bed for his family!
Next, we went to the Rene Family's home to deliver a bed, mattress, and table. The sponsored children in the family are Wilzer, Simonia, Feliere, Emmanuel, and Louidia. Emmanuel had come in the vehicle with us to help deliver the mattresses, but he had no idea that one was going to be for his family! When we arrived at his house, he was shocked!

Jill and Grace carry the bed frame

Emmanuel sits on his new bed!
Earlier in the week, we had visited Emmanuel's home and seen that he lives in a one-room home with nine people. The family had two beds, neither of which had a mattress. This family was so happy to receive the bed, mattress, and table!

Lastly, we went to the home of two of our sponsored children, Linedialine and Presner Moline. They live in a concrete home with one bed with their mother, older sister, and their older sister's children (including a newborn baby). They were so happy to receive this gift, and knew they were going to sleep well that night!
Linedialine, Presner, and their sister's newborn baby love their new bed!
Thank you to our Holiday Sponsorship Team for changing the lives of these three families. They are so happy, and grateful for what you have done!

After the team delivered the beds, mattresses, and tables, we drove just down the road to the newly built TOHH Hurricane Matthew Relief home! Thanks to your support and donations, we were able to raise enough funds to build a new home for this family who had lost everything, including heir previous home, in Hurricane Matthew. The team attended the house blessing, and Ethan handed over the key to the new homeowners!
The team at the home blessing!
Jill prepares the frosting!

In the afternoon, our team invited the sponsored children whose sponsors (or sponsors' family or friends) were on our team to come to the TOHH Guesthouse for games/crafts and baking!

Chelle and Demas baking cookies

These children were Emmanuel, Netuna, Didi, Dodo, Willy, Marley, Rosemitha, Lucienne, Demas, Jude, Philaure, Rose Berline, Marie VeDean, Ketlove, and Mylove!

Frosting time!

The kids played games, including Twister (thanks Chelle for bringing this!), which they loved!

Rosemitha (left) and Didi (right)

They also made sugar cookies and decorated them with colored frosting and sprinkles!

How do you think Netuna likes her cookie??
They each took about a dozen cookies home with them for their families.

Sean shows the team around Hands and Feet (Ikondo)

After crafts and baking, we finished our day with a trip to Hands and Feet to see their Ikondo campus. Our team saw their mission tourism guestrooms, as well as handmade items made by their HaitiMade workers.

Angie talks to the team about Hands and Feet (Thozin)

Friday was our last full day in Haiti, and our team fit in as much as possible! In the morning, we traveled to the Hands and Feet Thozin campus to see the Children's Village. Thanks to Angie (and baby Lily) for showing us around!

Next, we took a beautiful hike to a waterfall! Since it was not the rainy season, we were not expecting there to be much water, but there was!
Our team with two kids from Hands and Feet, as well as other kids from our community, at the waterfall!
A small waterfall and beautiful sunshine

The hike was gorgeous, and I couldn't help but take in the beauty that surrounds us in Haiti - from waterfalls to butterflies to endless mountains.

Grace and I walk with Blan

A couple of the children from our community, including one of the sponsored children named Blan, saw us leave the TOHH Guesthouse and wanted to come with us.

We warned them that we were going on a hike (not just a walk) and that they would need water, but they decided to come anyway. Blan, the smallest, followed us all the way to the waterfall! He was just adorable, and we picked him up as we crossed water so he wouldn't get soaked!

Swimming at Taino Beach

When we returned to the TOHH Guesthouse, we ate lunch and got ready to go to Taino Beach! Some of our community children had found out that was where we were going, and had walked (a few miles) to meet us there.
Souvenirs sold by vendors on the beach

The beach was a great adventure that included swimming and purchasing souvenirs from local vendors.

Also, during our week, Willy's sponsor, Chelle, had seen the home he lived in during the home visit. He did not have a bed in his house, and she donated funds towards a bed and mattress for the family. On Friday, she delivered the bed and mattress to Willy and his family, and they were so happy! Willy did not come to TOHH later for a movie - we figured it was probably because he was too excited to sleep on his new bed!

Movie night!
Friday night was movie night at TOHH! The kids in our community love movies, especially since most of them do not have electricity in their homes and therefore cannot watch them at home. They had been asking us since our arrival on Saturday if we could have a movie night! On Friday, we watched Ice Age and the kids thought it was hilarious! Also, the kitchen staff helped pop the popcorn that we had bought at the market on Wednesday to give out to the community kids. Our team had one last visit with their sponsored children before they began to pack for departure the next day.

TOHH Sponsored Children at the Holiday Party!
On Saturday, our team traveled back to America. We thought our flight might get cancelled (as there was a snowstorm in Boston), but it was not. We landed in Boston while it was snowing and everyone made it home safe!
The 2016 Holiday Sponsorship Team poses for a picture with our community kids!

Thank you to the first Holiday Sponsorship Team for a wonderful week in Haiti! Our community and sponsored children had so much fun! You are the change we wish to see in the world, and you made all the difference in so many lives, just in one week!


We are already planning for the 2017 Holiday Sponsorship Trip to Haiti! The dates of the trip will be Wednesday, December 27, 2017 to Wednesday, January 3, 2018. We have available spots, and we are now accepting applications!

The team will be doing activities similar to the those done by the 2016 Holiday Sponsorship Team. These include meeting and spending time with the sponsored children, a holiday party, crafts/games and baking with the kids, a waterfall hike, a trip to the beach, and a possible home improvement project (extra cost, to be discussed at pre-trip meetings).

The cost of the trip is as follows:
$125 - Deposit (includes the cost of a TOHH shirt that we request you wear on travel day)
$450 TOHH Guesthouse Fee (includes three meals/day, housing, transport to and from the airport, and operations costs)
Flight Costs
If you are interested in joining the trip, please fill out the application form here:

For more information about preparing for a trip to Haiti, follow this link:

Feel free to email cassandra@treeofhopehaiti.org with any questions!

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