Children's Hope Solidarity Team at MABE Orphanage -- Gressier, Haiti

Children's Hope Solidarity Team at MABE Orphanage -- Gressier, Haiti

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Haiti Journal #4 "Oloffson's"

RAM, right off the bat.

Whisked from their gracious welcome at St. Joseph’s Home for boys, before our team could catch their breath, we bounced them down the mangled streets of Port au Prince, Haiti in the back of our pickup trucks to Hotel Oloffson to submerge themselves in ‘kompa” music by RAM, named after the lead singer, Richard Morse. RAM

The white mansion was built as a private home in the late 1800’s. Perched a bit uncomfortably on a steep hillside, the hotel has a storied past. It was home to two of Haiti’s presidents (the last one torn to pieces), but now plays host to diplomats, foreign aid workers, paramilitary attachés, former ton ton macoutes, artists, businessmen, and, for a few hours, the Children’s Hope Solidarity Team, 2014.

Oloffson’s packed and steaming dance floor lies at the core of an awkward yet intoxicating mix of ancient Taino artifacts, displays of rich cultural and Vodou heritage all tossed about with remnants of celebrities, dictators and torturous foreign domination. Unlike the Haitian constitution, the hotel survived the U.S. military occupation (1915 to 1934), by housing a military hospital. This seductive concoction set the heartbeat pace for our solidarity team. The music, grown from the roots of struggle and resistance, echoed in our ears through the long, stiflingly hot days of rapid-fire service.

Haiti is not just about abject poverty, though there is that. We come to serve, but also to listen and learn - of culture, music and tradition grown out of strength and survival.

Day two? The street market – to buy a month’s supply of food for MABE orphanage.

Peace, all ways and always,

Professor Leisa Faulkner, University of the Pacific; Folsom Lake College; Founder, Children’s Hope

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Haiti Journal #3 "No Skin"

“Port au Prince is a city so naked it has no skin,” warns Jonathan Katz. 

True. We saw its raw body shaken to the bone four years ago with the historic earthquake then watched, literally, as those bones were sifted and lifted out of the rubble for burial and so that very rubble could be sold for scrap.

Now, people want to know what shape PAP is in. One third of the country’s population was swept into the capital city by manipulated foreign policies, hunger and desperation; she reels under the weight. 

Sickened and with still thousands homeless, she searches for relief. There is still no clean water running through her pipes and no sewage sanitation, though now nearly nine thousand dead from that condition combined with UN introduced cholera. Electricity is still a random-hours-a-day luxury. Her children are still being abandoned (two were offered to our team this week by blank-eyed and hopeless parents) and her remaining children are too often dependent on random acts of charity for a warm meal a day and hope for a chance at education.

Three days after the quake we carried hundreds of pounds of medicine and supplies that even Doctors Without Borders had run out of. A dozen trips later, we stare into PAPs face again. She is trying to pull herself together a bit. Some big new buildings are going up; now you don’t see garbage being burned on every street corner; and there are fewer UN troops with automatic weapons pointed at anyone with a camera. 

The Royal Oasis (Clinton/Bush) Hotel found it rather distasteful to have to stare across the city cavern at a hillside of impoverished shanties, so the only business savvy thing to do was to squander elusive Haitian dollars not on water, electricity or education, but on a fresh coat of paint for those crumbling shanties. 

PAP stands still - although mutedly - as her face is painted.

This week we helped patch up her hungry, sick and homeless a bit – as the following journals will tell, and though there are still too many struggling, we found strength in the resiliency of her people. 

Like the corn stalks we saw growing in the gutter, 

Haiti will find a way.

Her women, in particular, showed us their heart, shared their music and taught us the real meaning of solidarity and strength. 

peace all ways and always, Leisa

Children's Hope
3025A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682

Professor Leisa Faulkner, University of the Pacific; Folsom Lake College; Founder, Children’s Hope

2014 Haiti Journal #2 "New Shoes"

I'm afraid I never learned to care much about my shoes, though my mother tried her best. I was most fond of rubber boots that could carry me out into the frog pond, if I had to wear something on my feet at all. Going barefoot for fun was the best part of summer.

‪Children in Cite Soleil are not so privileged. As I pack for our July trip, I am touched by the generosity of so many. In Haiti, children must have black leather shoes to be able to go to school. Impoverished parents simply cannot afford to buy the shoes their children need. Hundreds of pairs of leather shoes were donated this trip, making many children finally able to attend school.

Also donated were over 100 bottles of children's vitamins, and enough other medical supplies to fill 29 duffel bags!

Our intrepid team of mostly college students will paint and lug  their way through the most impoverished parts of Haiti, learning with each step how to walk in another person's shoes.

Please remember that you, too, can always be a part of our teams to Haiti. If not in person, you can join us in spirit. Please consider donating today (you can send a check to the address below). We will be meeting with two groups of women at two different tent cities (yes, they are still forced to live in tents even four years after the quake!), to meet and learn from them, and offer some support. We also hope to not only paint a free clinic and an orphanage (and buy paint), but we hope to have funds to leave a month's worth of food, propane and water. All these and other services need your support.

Thanks again for all you do...
Peace, all ways and always,

Children's Hope
3025A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682
Prof. Leisa Faulkner, University of the Pacific, Folsom Lake College
Founder, Children's Hope

2014 Haiti Journal #1 "Moonlight and Music"

Moonlight, music's afterglow, great conversation - some not-so-small-thrill at meeting some new, kind, souls...

The lead singer handed Luke 10 rolls of quarters for Children's Hope after Thursday night's concert. Our Lukey can't resist handing out his Children's Hope card and telling folks we are going to Haiti again - especially when we've started packing for our next trip. And, every quarter counts. That $100 donation should be enough to buy five black pairs of leather school shoes for the orphanage, if I can spot a good sale.

23,310 children's vitamins, 2,500 condoms, 10 new stethoscopes, one more slightly used...inventorying and packing 30 duffel bags haunts my dreams when I do sleep...but I wake smiling thinking of all of our generous supporters over the years and how dedicated our young Children's Hope Team members are. This year, thirteen college students have managed to raise all their own funds and then some to help us buy prescriptions, new rubber soccer balls, food and paint for the orphanage - things we can't beg or get donated. Still, we keep hearing about how much more is needed. So many more people dying from cholera - and while the UN warns of a new "surge in cholera deaths" (approaching 9,000 now)...our students will bravely tromp though mud in Cité Soleil  to get to the clinic there - you know the sort of places deemed "red zones" where the Red Cross won't go. Amazing.

So, here's to a new friendships, kind patrons and old friends who carry this life-saving work along. You who support this work are an inspiration, we just carry the bags. Thanks for your continued support.

Leisa, Paul, Lukey and Emma

P.S. As always, your checks are tax deductible, can be made out to Children's Hope and sent to the address below:

Children's Hope
3025A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682

Professor Leisa Faulkner
University of the Pacific, Sociology
Delta College, Folsom Lake College
Children's Hope, Founder

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Hey Folks,

Our first annual VOODOO PALOOZA Haiti Benefit Concert was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thanks to the awesome bands, DIVERSITY and ISLAND OF BLACK for donating their talents to the cause. Many hands make the burden lighter. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014



A Haiti Benefit Concert on the Lake Featuring
Island of
Black & White
With Special Guests Diversity
Saturday June 14, 5pm
3025A Cambridge Rd., Cameron Park
(2 miles north of Highway 50, Cambridge Rd. Exit)

Suggested Donation: $5 or a
Bottle of Children’s Vitamins
For Info or to RSVP:
Seating is limited... please RSVP as soon as possible!

Monday, March 17, 2014




Hey Folks,

I made it!! It was a sunny, beautiful day, a wonderful event, and... I finished! My pedestrian time of 2 hours, 10 minutes doesn't exactly have the Kenyan Olympic team shaking in their boots, but I finished 11 minutes faster than last year, so I'm pretty freakin' happy. At my advanced age, I'm just happy to have survived. :)

More importantly, YOU CAN STILL MAKE IT, TOO!! It's not too late to match my pledge ($8 per mile, $104) to Children's Hope, or to donate whatever you can. Simply click on the DONATE button on the upper left of this page, or send a check to CHILDREN'S HOPE, 3025A Cambridge Rd., Cameron Park, CA. We're a certifed 501c3 non-profit so your donation is tax deductible.

Thank you all so much for your generosity... many hands make the burden lighter!

Friday, March 14, 2014


What: Haiti Solidarity Meets the Luck of the Irish
When: Sunday, March 16th, 8am
Where: Raley Field, West Sac at the Shamrock'n 1/2
Why: To support Haiti's most vulnerable children
How: Click on the "Donate" button or pledge via email to
Race Info:
Haiti Info:

Proceeds from the 2nd Annual Half 4 Haiti Solidarity Run will go towards Children's Hope's Haiti projects, including...

Mabe Orphanage, Port au Prince
These are the Mabe kids who we have fallen in love with and have watched grow up over the last few years. They were taken in off the streets by our dear friend Maco and his family, and are being raised in a loving environment. But they have very few resources. No electricity, no running water, no toilets.

The Lamp for Haiti Clinic, Cite Soleil
 The Lamp for Haiti is an amazing, inspiring community medical clinic providing 
free care to the children of Cite Soleil, the poorest and most notorious slum in Haiti.

Please pitch in if you can.
Many hands make the burden lighter!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Venezuela's Future

Anti-government demonstrators protest in eastern Caracas on Feb. 28, 2014. (Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images)

By , February 27, 2014

People are confused about Venezuela, and reasonably so. Why conflicts? Who is protesting? On what scale? What is the government response? What are the deeper issues? Even more, what do the deeper issues and possible responses portend for the future?
Answers vary greatly, even among non-hysterical commentators.
For example, as to why, some astute folks say the protests are an effort by Leonardo Lopez  to usurp leadership of the opposition from Henrique Capriles. Others say the protests seek to push the government into repressive measures in order to undermine its support. Still others say the protests seek to remove Maduro and sweep away all aspects of Chavismo.
As to who, some say the battles are orchestrated by Venezuela’s rich, others say it is discontent from average folks without prodding. Some say it is wealthy students, others say it is students per se. Some say it is militarily savvy thugs and even Columbian exiles, others say it is kids without portfolio. Some say the country is massively against the government, others say this is a serious because violent uprising but is carried out by small numbers with largely elite backgrounds.
As to the government’s response, some say they are engaging in harsh repression, others say they are exercising extreme restraint. Some point to deaths and claim government killers, others point to deaths and claim opposition killers. Some call government interference with media dictatorial censorship, others say private papers and TV operate with near total abandon with only minor curtailments temporarily warranted to reduce violence.
To me, however, the protests appear to be primarily opposing precisely what is good about Chavismo, in particular income redistribution, dispersal of power, and increasing mass participation. They attract ample average folks with serious criticisms of crime, corruption, inflation, and shortages, as well. The popular concerns appear to be used, however, by Venezuela’s most reactionary elements, perhaps to shift the balance of power in their own movement, but perhaps hoping to create enough havoc to attract international intervention to remove the government. The government, in contrast, appears to be trying to curtail public disruptions without resorting to extensive violence, though with some elements no doubt favoring greater repression. To me, the situation mirrors but also escalates the whole Bolivarian history, wherein the government has sought massive change but without coercion and true to  respecting elections, while the opposition has wished to reverse election results and employed any means they could find — including coup, sabotage and overt violence.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interview with Venezuela Expert Greg Wilpert on Recent Unrest in Caracas

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez (pictured) surrendered to authorities at a rally in Caracas Tuesday as his followers 
gathered for a fresh round of anti-government protests in a plaza surrounded by anti-riot troops. afp

Anti-government protests in Venezuela represent more of a public relations threat to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro than a real challenge to his administration, author and Venezuelan analyst Gregory Wilpert told RT in an interview.
Wilpert said that though the recent opposition protests in Venezuela to highlight economic ills are unlikely to last much longer, the demonstrations may work to show the Maduro government in an unfavorable light abroad as it stifles dissent.Anti-government protests in Venezuela represent more of a public relations threat to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro than a real challenge to his administration, author and Venezuelan analyst Gregory Wilpert told RT in an interview.
“Internationally, there's been a tremendous amount of success in portraying the government as having cracked down on opposition demonstrators and making the government look bad in that sense,” said Wilpert, author of “Changing Venezuela by Taking Power.”
Wilpert added that the expulsion of American diplomats from the US embassy in Caracas should be seen, at least at this early juncture, in the context “of US history and its interference throughout Latin American countries over the past century.”
RT: Why are Venezuelans now showing anger with Maduro though he has been in power for nearly a year?
Gregory Wilpert: The opposition in Venezuela is trying to take advantage of some of the economic problems that have become more acute in the past year. Mainly, I'm speaking about the inflation and shortages that exist in the economy, and they see this as a good time. Also, because there are no elections coming up for a while, and there's a lot of internal division within the opposition. The more radical sector of the opposition has taken this opportunity to overthrow the Maduro government, which I don't think they'll achieve at all, of course.
RT: Venezuela is accusing the US of sponsoring these anti-government demonstrations. How justified are these accusations?
GW: One has to see those accusations in the context of US history and its interference throughout Latin American countries over the past century. There's a long series of interventions, and that makes left governments of Latin America very suspicious of US government intentions. Combine that also with revelations that have come out through Wikileaks about the US embassy's activities in Venezuela, one can see a clear pattern that the US government has been working very closely with opposition organizations. And not only that, it has funded many opposition groups. Now, if these most recent accusations, what's exactly behind them we don't know, we haven't seen the proof yet, but it certainly has to be seen in the context of both those revelations and that history which has made the government extremely suspicious of the US.
RT: How far do you think these demonstrations will go? How much more violence could we see?
GW: It has already been dying down, so I don't think that it will get any worse. My guess is that it's going to be limited to the middle- to upper-middle class neighborhoods. Today, the only disturbances were reported in precisely those neighborhoods, and it will become smaller and smaller until it finally disappears. It's mainly because these protests do not enjoy the support of neither the majority of the population nor even the majority of the opposition. So it's unlikely that they will continue.
RTHow much are these protests a challenge to Maduro's administration?
GW: They represent more of a challenge to his public relations, I think, than an actual challenge to his power, because if they die down, they won't really do much. However, internationally, there's been a tremendous amount of success in portraying the government as having cracked down on opposition demonstrators and making the government look bad in that sense. So in that sense, it's a public relations success for the opposition and could further damage the Maduro government's appearance in the international media and with regard to other governments outside of Latin America.
Supporters of Venezuelan President Maduro march in support of the government and to call
for peace after the recent deadly violence following street protests, in Caracas. Reuters