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An Easter Message From Papi Len

A Blessed Easter to you and your family from all of us at Brit’s Home in Haiti and our staff in the USA. Easter is a time of reflection, giving up something we love or giving more to those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s a time to renew our Faith in God, his Son and the Holy Spirit, there is a reason why it’s every spring, it’s time to start a new, to shed our winter skin and to embrace the beauty and new life of spring. With that being said I would like to introduce you to our Leadership Team in Haiti…


Our team is led by Mami Love who is our Haiti Administrator and in charge of the Operations of BLB, Madame Gina who is our Program Director and is responsible for implementing the Guiding Principles of Brit’s Home. In case you ever wonder what Papi Len does in Haiti besides drink Diet Coke, I’m responsible for all Britsionary Trips to and from the USA, I’m in charge of the entire building and operations, so another words the buck stops here with me! Having lost Britney in an Earthquake I want to make sure that we never lose another person, so I’m in charge of everyone’s safety, our kids, our staff and our Britsionary’s. With over a 1,000 brave souls who have traveled to Brit’s Home over the past 6 years and to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, I believe it’s an honor for me to host them and make sure they see, feel, smell and touch the Real Haiti… “Most American’s believe they are going to Haiti to help Haiti, but in reality it’s Haiti that has helped them” Len Gengel


Our Britsionary Team in Haiti consist of Madona who I met my first weekend in Haiti, so young, joyful and intelligent. She became our first caregiver moving in with Mr Jonathan when our first child walked thru the door at Brit’s Home. She then became our nurse when she graduated from college and now with Francky’s help leads our Britsionary Teams when they land in PaP. Francky is an Amazing Guy, he’s our Go To guy, Francky can get you what you want in a minute’s time. He wants to please and gets great satisfaction on seeing folks happy. He started 6 years ago with BLB as a Gofer on his Motorcycle, then he said to me that he wanted to learn English so I gave him a CD and work book that a Haitian Couple had given me in Boston. Today Francky is almost fluent in English and even got his driving license along the way, he has truly been one of our success stories here at BLB Haiti. Bijou is Bijou, he is in charge of security of our Britsionary’s and for me, Papi Len, where I go Bijou goes. He is gentle as a mother Lyon with her cubs when it comes to children, both his and ours, but he is a force to be reckoned with if you cross him or his Britsionary’s. Recently Bijou has taken over the camerera duties and we have found that he has a real eye for it, if he remembers to bring the camera to the job site… Lastly is Davidson, now known as Dave, he shortened his name to sound more American he told me! Dave has been training as an assistant job super for the past 2 years and has done a tremendous job now as Job Supervisor. It’s like he stuck a straw in my brain and has sucked out all the knowledge I have inside. He wants to learn and in 1 years time has learned English pretty well. He went to college to be a dentist, but after he was caught in the crossfire of 2 gangs in PaP while coming out of class, he decided to move home to Grand Goave and find work at BLB as a caregiver and now Job Supervisor. I call these guys my Dream Team and they are responsible for you and your family when in Haiti, I love them!


Gina is our leader of Programing as I stated above, but her management is of 3 separate groups, the daytime staff which consist of 2 teachers, 2 assistant teachers and 10 caregivers. The 2 teachers and assistants teach our BLB Academy students and they day starts at 8am, then the 10 caregivers come in at 11am and work with our kids until 7pm. Then Gina has her nighttime staff of 14 Caregivers and 2 Daytime/Nighttime Supervisors Wilmann and Nico. Both Nico and Wilmann have worked with BLB for 6 years, working as day laborers to get enough money to finish High School and now both have aspiration’s to go to College, they are Loyal, Trustworthy and incredible dedicated to our children, they Rock!!! Coach is just that a Coach, a guy in his mid 30’s who played professional volleyball in Haiti and was a teacher at St Francois in Grand Goave. When they couldn’t afford to pay coach anymore, Fr Brice introduced me to him and we hired him right away. Immediately, we could see the leadership skills he had and the ability to inspire our kids. Today Coach is #2 under Gina and trains our staff on Leadership and Education, he is a blessing to BLB. Walter and Farrah are our nighttime supervisors in charge of our caregivers… Does anyone see a pattern here? I got some great advice from Mr. Robin Mahfood founder of Food for the Poor. He said to me 7 years ago before I started construction in Haiti “ Len, you need a supervisor to supervise the supervisors in Haiti” which made no sense to me 7 years ago, today I will tell you those words of wisdom were Profound in how we operate Brit’s Home in Haiti…


I’m proud of our Team in Haiti and feel very blessed to have such a dedicated staff who believe as I believe “It takes great Dignity to serve others” With over 100+ Haitian Staff I can honestly say how blessed we are on this day we call Easter! How are children have gone to church as 1 big family and how they came back to see their little bowls of Easter Candy with their name meticulously displayed to everyone feels the Love of Mami Love, Madame Gina and their entire Team at Brit’s Home.
In closing, I would like to share with you some personal thoughts, as a Roman Catholic who is a Christian I feel today is the Holiest Day of the year. I feel like old skin has been shed and that a new beginning is upon us and it is with these words and feelings that I sadly announce that Jonathan LaMare is leaving Be Like Brit. He has done an incredible job finding 66 kids who needed a place to call home and a family to call their own. Cherylann and I will always be eternally grateful to Jonathan for the sacrifices he has made over the last 4 years and I have asked him to share with us a couple of paragraphs saying so long, not goodbye as Jon will always have a chair at the table at Brit’s Home and he will always be the savoir to our 66 children and always known as Mr Jonathan at Brit’s Home…


It was in September of 2012 that I received a call that would change my life forever. Kristin Hervey, the USA Director of Be Like Brit, called me for an interview for a position as the Program Director of Be Like Brit. At the time, I was teaching at SUNY Plattsburgh, and canceled my class to take the call. What was supposed to be a 20 minute call turned into almost 2 hours, and the consequences of that call would ultimately bring me to Haiti in December of that same year...

Tasked with the enrollment of 66 children, I felt overwhelmed while at the same time feeling like I was in the hands of family. Len and Cherylann could not have been better people to work for, to work with - and I am forever grateful. All good things must come to an end, and for reasons in my personal life and beyond, I must say goodbye - for now. I will never forget this amazing experience and opportunity, and I will forever stand alongside the mission of Be Like Brit.

Jonathan

A Blessed Easter to all of you from all of us at Be Like Brit in Haiti and the USA… Papi Len…


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