Here we go again! We’ve been so very busy here at Be Like Brit – yet again hosting another amazing Britsionary group, welcoming two members of our Program Committee who are here working with our staff on professional development and other training, planning special activities with our children, and more! We also welcomed just yesterday Dr. Heather Gillis from Tulane University School of Social Work, who is on site conducting a field assessment and to check in on the work our interns Lauren and Zakiyyah have been up to!
Just last week while Len and our good friend Peter Catanese were in Haiti, they set out on a hike behind Be Like Brit to visit the families and friends we’ve been able to meet since our time here. One boy in particular stood out, and his situation struck Len and tugged at his heart. The boy, about 11 years old, told Len that because of the heavy rains at night, he and his family were forced to sleep outside of their home – a tent – because the water rushed through it so fiercely that it wasn’t safe to stay inside of it. No shoes, no education, no food – Len promised the family that we would be back to visit and see what we might be able to do to help.
Our group did just that – it was determined that the benefactors of our Britsionary’s “Fix-A-Home” trip would be the family they met that day (shown here) and off to work they went! These projects almost always start with tearing down the existing structure, almost in its entirety. A discussion is had with the family around what their most pressing needs may be, and our groups make the decisions as to what to do. It was decided that a new structure with a rock wall to divert the flow of water around the home and a tin roof would be the best ways to protect the family against much of Haiti’s unforgiving and unrelenting rains and winds. The result, after a long week of hard work, sweat, and faith – is nothing short of amazing!
We are always amazed at the work our Britsionary Groups are able to accomplish in just a short week! If you are interested in taking part, be sure to see our website for more information! www.belikebrit.org
Our good friends Debbie Pallatto-Fontaine and Susan Johnson have been on hand this past week! Debbie brings with her professional development training for our staff around child development issues, including things like discipline, curriculum development for our after school development, and more! She almost always brings along with her a special activity for the children, too! This past week, the Parable of the Lost Sheep was made in to a great learning exercise and a lot of fun for Brit’s Children as they took part in her Bible story and teaching opportunity!
Susan is on hand to offer medical training to our staff: CPR, Basic First Aid, using an AED, basic HIV education for staff, food safety, hygiene, the list goes on! Susan’s also working on conducting wellness checks on each of our 35 children, and offering her services to the staff, too! We’ve even been able to conduct some community outreach to help some families in need that we know of, or friend’s Susan has made over her many trips to Haiti to do this kind of work for us! We’re so blessed to have her on hand and working with our staff to be sure that we can meet all the needs of our children and staff!
Heather Gillis from Tulane is here to check in on her two students, our interns Lauren and Zakiyyah! Heather was one of our Program Director Jonathan’s Professors while he was studying at Tulane earning his master of social work degree and having her back with us after her first visit in April is wonderful! We look forward to a good few days with her and a staff training she’s developed to assist our caregivers understand the effects of trauma on children!
As most of you saw on facebook, two of our children underwent umbilical hernia repair surgeries on Monday this past week. The Hopital Benard Mevs, or Project Medishare affiliated with the University of Miami was absolutely outstanding in their care and treatment of our two children, Steeve and Sherly. We can’t thank Dr. Toni enough for all of her efforts in helping to coordinate the care for these children and helping this new Program Director navigate the not-so-easy bureaucracy that is health care in Haiti. As a result, our children are recovering well and fully. We could not be more grateful!
In closing, I want you all to meet Sampson. Sampson is that 11 year old boy I mentioned above – the boy who, along with his mother and siblings, was forced to sleep outside of his “home” on the ground because the torrential rains flooded their house and made it unsafe to live inside. Imagine that: Fear of the tarp and wood structure collapsing and trapping you inside your own home, the cold, hard ground a better alternative…
As I mentioned before, Len met Sampson while out on a walk in the mountain community up behind Be Like Brit. Hungry, filled with the ubiquitous fungal infections that plague the developing world – scabies, ringworm – no shoes on his feet – not able to tell us when he last ate. Like Len so often does, he took this boy back to Be Like Brit to help.
Francky, our driver and friend, helped to clean up Sampson. We brought him in for a meal, which he ate slowly and deliberately so as to savor every bite, not knowing when the next meal may come. This is Sampson’s reality. The reality of so many – yet this case was strikingly bleak – strikingly poor.
This is what Be Like Brit is all about. Because of Sampson and his family’s plight, one of our Britsionarys has decided to sponsor his family – to provide schooling for him, a monthly food allowance, clothes, shoes, but most of all, HOPE.
Hope, Faith, and Love. This is what it means to Be Like Brit.
Things sure continue to keep us busy and we continue to be blessed by all of the love and support we receive from all of you! Be sure to keep up on all the great things that are happening here at Be Like Brit! Have a blessed week!