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Monday, November 22, 2010

A New Chapter! Welcome Children!

To learn more about H.E.R.O. In Haiti visit

Claudy at the H.E.R.O. Education Program for Street Children

It is 12:11 AM on Monday morning, the 22nd of November. Today is the day that H.E.R.O. will welcome our first two children - - Melissa and Wiseley - - into our Transition Home. I cannot tell a lie, the past 2 months have been filled with extremely hard work. Special thanks goes out to Michele Deardorff our Secretary, Dan Kasnick our Country Director, Brice our driver/Creole teacher/get it done/take care of business/all around great guy, Marlene our Director of Kids, Rea Dol the Director of SOPUDEP, Kathleen Chant our Garden Coordinator, and all the donors, contributors, and supporters of H.E.R.O. I realize that this is just the beginning, but it does start a new chapter in our H.E.R.O. life.

Rea Dol, Director of SOPUDEP

While I am supposed to be finishing up a paper right now due by midnight tonight, I am instead reflecting on the past 2 months in Haiti. We acquired the residence in PAP at a very reasonable rental rate, but there were many repairs to be made. It has taken us 2 solid months to repair the plumbing and electrical, install a gas stove, have bunk beds hand-made and delivered, purchase mattresses that we had to cut to 26 horizontal inches (who knew you could do this and they would still look good!), bring in sheets and clothes from the US, install chlorinators for our water, and repair almost every doorknob in the house (Thanks Dan!). Did I mention the generator we had to buy because city power “trickles” into our house!? This is the reality of Haiti, one where everything takes longer than expected, everyone is patient about the process, and eventually everything gets done. I didn’t move to Haiti expecting anything else, and I am thus truly pleased that it ONLY took us 2 months to get the Transition Home ready!

Education is the Key to Success

And I have to admit, while the paper sits in front of me half finished, it has proven to be helpful for our Education Program for Street Children. We are in the process of taking a loosely developed school program for street children and turning it into a center of academic excellence. Currently H.E.R.O. funds the teacher salaries (read: Dan and Michele pay $200 (total) every month to pay 5 teachers to work 5 days a week from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM for an entire school year) - - if anyone wants to help fund the teacher salaries, let me know! Dan and Michele have enabled the 5 teachers to continue working with the 25 children that are currently enrolled, and the many more that are yet to come. Because of my assignment I was able to find reading and math assessments in Creole that we will be able to utilize to personalize the education for our students (some are 18 years old and doing schoolwork on a first grade level). We can make a difference! Additionally, we are beginning a sponsorship program for our street children that can be accessed beginning Tuesday at  This will help us to provide daily meals for the children, buy uniforms and school supplies.

Michele Teaching English in the Afternoons (After her other job!)

OK! I need to wrap this up; I have 5 more pages to write! Thank you everyone for all that you have done! I will surely write more about our first day with Melissa and Wiseley, all of our lives are about to change! God Bless.

To learn more about H.E.R.O. In Haiti visit

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cholera Update

To Learn How You Can Help Visit

H.E.R.O. Provides A Free Education For Maxo

Haiti continues to carry the burden and suffering of the world. After the magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed over 230,000 people in January, hurricane Tomas killed another 20, and now there have been over 1000 confirmed deaths from cholera. The number of cholera deaths will only continue to rise until every person in Haiti has access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation.

Chloriantors Provide Clean Drinking Water For H.E.R.O.

At H.E.R.O. we were fortunate to have chlorinators installed at our Transition Home in Port-au-Prince last week. All water passing into our showers, toilets, and sinks funnels through a chlorine system installed on our water tanks, resulting in water that is clean enough to drink. Furthermore, we are creating emergency cholera treatment kits in the event that our children or staff should become infected. In Haiti, when one travels to the hospital, most often you are met by a doctor or nurse that then tells you what medicine you will require to be treated. You then must go to the nearest pharmacy to buy the medication, and then return to the hospital to have the IV, or other medicine, professionally dispensed by the doctor. Cholera has the capacity to kill within 4 hours, and thus the time required to get to a hospital, purchase the necessary medication, and have it properly dispensed may simply be too much, resulting in death. We hope that by creating cholera treatment kits we will be able to have immediate access to the necessary medication and medical instruments to provide treatment within one hour. In addition to the chlorinators and treatment kits we continue to advise our children and staff to wash their hands regularly, and we only serve food that has been thoroughly cooked. This is the reality of Haiti.

Going To School Puts A Smile On Laura's Face

I also want to express that the cholera problem in Haiti is not a Haiti problem, it is a world problem. Haiti is a country that is only a 1.5 hour plane ride from the United States, where most DO NOT have access to clean water, and HALF never attend school. It is also OUR problem. While it is true that H.E.R.O. ( would be grateful for your donation to help us aid the street children and orphans of Haiti, what is MORE important is that you please help Haiti by selecting and donating to at least one of the many incredible organizations working hard to create a better Haiti, including
Partners In Health (, SOPUDEP (, International Action (, and many others that are making great efforts to secure a better life for the people of Haiti. We really can make a difference in this world, but we must work together to get results.

To Learn How You Can Help Visit

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting The Job Done

To Learn More About H.E.R.O. Visit Us At

Wiseley and Melissa

I returned to the United States last week to begin collecting data for my final doctoral Capstone Project at Vanderbilt University. The project took me to South Bend, Indiana where along with my colleagues we interviewed over 30 teachers, administrators, and district officials. It was an exhausting five days that required an 8 hour drive from Nashville to South Bend. I have to admit, however, that after being on the roads in Haiti it was a pleasure to spend 8 hours on open highways averaging about 75 miles per hour, with no traffic, no delays, no potholes, just the fun of driving. We are truly blessed to live in a country such as the United States where our lives are made easier by even the simplest of things, such as paved roads.

I left South Bend after five days to drive another 8 hours to visit my Haitian Godson, Carl, in Latrobe Pennsylvania. He is currently a sophomore at St. Vincent’s College on an athletic scholarship. The most difficult aspect of the college life for him has been missing his family back home in Miami. I think it was helpful for him to see a familiar face up there for a couple of days, and of course I am sure he enjoyed the perks of getting a nice jacket for the coming winter and eating out at some restaurants rather than the cafeteria. He is on the football team but unfortunately could not play over the weekend due to a hamstring injury. However, this allows him to focus more on his studies and spend more time in the library! I was only able to spend a few days in Latrobe, but it was great seeing the progress Carl has made, from immigrating to the United States from Haiti at the age of 5, to now being a college student. I hope we can provide the same opportunities for our children in the H.E.R.O. program.

Brise Showing Off Our Bunk Beds
I wrapped up my week with a 10 hour drive from Latrobe back to Nashville. I will be here for one more week, attending class this weekend, and buying plenty of materials, clothes, toys, etc. for the children that will arrive at the H.E.R.O. house next week. The two children, Wiseley and Melissa, are having their medical checks this week, and next Tuesday will be officially enrolled in the H.E.R.O. Residence for Orphans and Street Children. The house in Port-au-Prince is 95% ready. We have to fix one little toilet problem, and it will be done. We have purchased 7 bunk beds, 14 mattresses, a generator, an inverter and battery system, 2 large tables, and plenty of educational materials to get started. We are almost ready!

Dan, Country Director, with Wiseley
I hope that you have watched out thermometer grow on our website at We have reached $55,765.00 dollars in donations towards the construction of our permanent residence for street children and orphans. Thus far we have received donations ranging from $25.00 to $3,500.00! Every dollar helps us to reach our goal of $100,000 dollars! I thank everyone for their donations, contributions, encouragement, and prayers as we continue to serve the most disenfranchised youth in Haiti. Thank you!

To Learn More About H.E.R.O. Visit Us At