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It’s Back-to-School Time

It’s Back-to-School Time

In the 1990s, Staples aired a popular commercial about a parent’s joy at back-to-school shopping, calling it the “most wonderful time of the year.” We know Christmas in December (and July), but it looks like for frenzied parents eager to get back to a regular school schedule, September is another holiday season.

It’s not quite a holiday for us, but we certainly have a tradition, and it’s starting as of today: the back-to-school wishlist.

Every year, we open our school preparations to kind sponsors and supporters like you who, in turn, open your hearts to help equip our students with all they need for a successful school year. How successful? Well, our dearest Manno did so well on his TOEFL that he is starting Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan this fall.

While we take every effort to purchase all goods locally in Haiti, the protests in July have resulted in damage and looting to many stores we patronize, including Delimart, which was burned down and is hoping to rebuild within the next year. Regrettably, our efforts this year will have to prioritize maximizing our budget and that may mean purchasing some goods from U.S. vendors. We will also not be taking the students out to shop directly because the stores we will have to visit, like Maison Handel, survived the protests but are too far to safely transport all of the children. Instead, we will open a pop up “school store” on campus, and mimic the budgeting lesson on through another currency, like “points.”

We’ve divided up the wishlist by child and into $20 / $25 / $50 options. You can view it here.

Join us October 14, 2018 for a one-night only special event celebrating the launch of Mitch Albom’s The Next Person You Meet in Heaven at the Detroit Opera House, benefitting the children of the Have Faith Haiti Mission and Detroit. Guests include Anderson Cooper, Jane Pauley, Sophia Bush, ‘The Detroiters’ stars Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson, Joe Dumars, Bob Costas, KEM, and a video appearance by Jim Harbaugh. Details and ticket information here

A Wall of Winners, the French Edition

A Wall of Winners, the French Edition

As is tradition, the annual English spelling bee is always followed by a French one. The Have Faith Haiti Mission School is an école bilinguale, or bilingual school. Sudents learn four hours of English and three hours of French every school day, with a curriculum designed to reach all Haitian academic standards as well as prepare students for any TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) standardized tests.

And so we present, without further ado, the winners of this year’s concours d’orthographe for the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh grade French classes held at the end of June.

See some familiar faces and names below? It’s no surprise. Some of our best French spellers have quite a knack for it in English, too! Another common theme? Ties!

Level Four

Tied for first place for Primary 2 with Nickenson, Josue and Bettinie once again found themselves equally matched in French.

Level Five

Enolyka and Louvenson are once again head-to-head as they were last year in French, and a few weeks ago in the English spelling bee, Primary 4 division.

Level Six

Widley and Appoloste just can’t seem to stop tying for first place, as they did with Djouna in the English bee, Senior level.

Level Seven

Chivensky (last year’s winner) and Nahoum in another tie.

An Update from the Mission Amid Haiti Protests

Late last week, protests erupted in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, after the the government announced a price increase of 38 percent to 51 percent for gasoline, diesel and kerosene. U.S. State Department issued an alert Sunday urging its citizens on the island to shelter in place, and many flights have been cancelled and road are unsafe.

The situation in Haiti is dire and we feel it at the Have Faith Haiti Mission. Some of our older children were at summer jobs and got caught in the protests and could not get home. They slept at offices. Members of our staff were also caught in the disturbances and had to abandon cars and walk. Thankfully, now, all of our children and extended family are safe and on our premises. For the moment, our supplies will hold. But getting around is difficult and dangerous. Our children are being loved and watched over, which is our mission there, and we thank everyone for their inquiries and prayers.

Many beloved shops and restaurants frequented by our children for special occasions have been caught in the blazes set by protestors, and we pray for the safety and wellbeing of our community.

All Tied Up: The 2018 English Spelling Bee Edition

All Tied Up: The 2018 English Spelling Bee Edition

The spring 2018 edition of a beloved Have Faith Haiti Mission tradition

With four categories of classes participating in this year’s spelling bee, we had more winners & three-way ties than ever before!

In our Junior Spelling Bee, which consisted of Primary 2 students, Ms. Cara couldn’t defeat competitors with words like, “isthmus,” “archipelago,” “igneous,” and “accurate.” After a nail-biting finish, Nickenson, Bettinie and Josue stood proudly as our three winners. Lorvens earned our runner-up title.

At our Intermediate level, comprised of Primary 4 students, Louvenson and Enolyka tied for first after correctly spelling words like, “adenosine triphosphate,” “Proterozoic,” “amniotes,” “Ordovician,” and “mitochondria.” Cinlove fought for, and won, the runner-up position.

In our Senior competition, the Collѐge 1 students confidently breezed through words like, “Taiga,” “Apatosaurus,” “Cenozoic,” and “Eocene.” Widley refused to hand over his title as reigning champ, yet Djouna and Appoloste wouldn’t settle for second. Results ended with another three-way tie. Bianka took home the runner-up title.

Our oldest class, comprised of Collѐge 2 students, competed for the Advanced title. Students refused to surrender to words like, “Chiroptera,” “stalagmites,” “Haplorhini,” “pachyderm,” and “Tertiary.” Unfortunately, Junie-Anna was eventually taken down with, “paradoxically,” making her our runner-up and giving Edney the winning title.

Each winner earned a shopping trip to the local market where they picked a prize of their choosing, including watches, bottles, toy cars, and sunglasses.

5 Lessons from Our Haitian Garden

5 Lessons from Our Haitian Garden

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”

Those wise words from gardening expert Janet Kilburn Phillips are fitting as we are proud to share updates from our vegetable garden. Just look at beaming Widley and his recent spring harvest.

The vegetable garden at Have Faith Haiti grows lettuce, basil, cilantro, aloe, carrots, lettuce, onions, beans, peppers and zucchini.

Miss Gina and the kids built the garden beds together, marking the first gardening project at the Mission. While students including Enolyka, Cinlove, Gina, Josue, JU, Esterline, and Lengee are in the rotation to maintain a garden bed, Louvenson and Widley have particularly taken to tending the garden and have insisted on taking responsibility for a garden bed each.

It’s been a long road of patience, and learning from mistakes. With trial and error, and with each hurdle, the gardening team has learned and gotten smarter.


Lesson #1: Nutrients are Important

The beds were first installed in the fall of 2016. In school, the kids were also learning about the parts of plants and monitoring the plant growth helped our studies. But nothing sprouted at first! The garden needed composted soil to help the seeds sprout and thrive. The organic matter in composted soil releases vital nutrients into the soil and helps build the right soil consistency for air, water, and energy to pass through.

Lesson #2: Provide Cover

When the seeds finally did sprout, they were eaten by rats! An enclosure was built to keep away the rodents, and keep all planting strictly within where it’s best protected from the elements. With such a severe climate, the garden must be watered twice a day from the reservoir, filled weekly with purchased water. (There is no water/sewage system in Haiti). They will soon be collecting natural rain fall to make the garden even more self-sustainable.



Lesson #3: Get Immunized

After conquering the issues of nutritious soil and rodent infestations, the plants would grow but develop diseases due to small pests. Natural pesticides helped reduce the incidence of leaf miners, which caused a white fungus to grow. Lettuce master Widley explained his process for quality control:

Lesson #4: You Need Room to Grow

Carrots were the first to sprout, but the soil wasn’t deep enough, so they were only an inch or two in length. They also learned the hard way that the plantings were overcrowded, which also stunted growth. After adding more soil and spreading out the seeds and learning about crop rotation, the vegetables were able to thrive to fuller potential.


Lesson #5: Farm to Table

When Miss Gina began the gardening project, the importance of a nutritious diet and self-sustainability were important teaching goals. The kids regularly volunteer at a malnutrition clinic, where babies were dying due to a lack of proper nutrition, and the garden showed the way to solutions.

You know the old saying about “teaching a man to fish,” and regardless of their future financial situation, Miss Gina enforced the importance of knowing how to grow fresh produce.

One of the best bonuses? Learning to cook with the veggies! They have made salsa from the cilantro, pesto sauce from basil, zoodles (vegetable noodles) from the zucchini, and salads with the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

It’s not just the meals that have been fulfilling—with every set back and every lesson, they improved and have come to cherish each harvest and the memories made by cooking dinner together.

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. — Gertrude Jekyll

Jelly Bellies and Faithful Hearts

Jelly Bellies and Faithful Hearts

Easter is always a special time at the Have Faith Haiti Mission – and not just because of the new spring outfits generously donated by individual sponsors. It’s a celebration of faith and renewal, of community and coming together.

Let’s start with a little fashion show, brought to you by Widley learning how to put on a tie:

Best dressed in their Easter best (but sorry, no bonnets!)

They shared a special moment releasing balloons to heaven, in remembrance of those loved and lost.

So much Easter basket fun, with thanks especially to Beaumont Health for the teddy bears, and beautiful greeting cards in Kreyol from Cardz for Kidz.

These baskets belong to our newest additions, and are their first Easter baskets.

And then the hunt began–for 400 eggs, that is. Yes. 400! Ready, set, go….

May we all be as excited as this happy bunny Manes (even before any sugar!)


Josue and Bianka found the golden eggs and were later treated to ice cream at Sugar Rush, an ice cream parlor and candy store in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince where Have Faith Haiti is located. They also showed off their moves as they posed just like the mannequins in nearby store windows.

But perhaps what they will remember the most is the Jelly Belly challenge. Weird and gross, or sweet and delicious? Who knows! But you quickly get a good idea of how they fared once you watch these answers to li bon?

Can you tell who got coconut and who got spoiled milk?


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