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Kanaval Celebrations Begin at PES!

Jwaye Kanaval! Happy Carnival!

Carnival is celebrated all across Latin America and the United States – every year thousands of people head to New Orleans for its Mardi Gras celebration. Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, is celebrated every year before Ash Wednesday.

In Haiti, “Kanaval” is one of the most anticipated events in the country. Every year, the capital city of Port-au-Prince closes off main roads and erects colorfully decorated stands along the parade path. While there are weeks of lead up celebrations, the main event is held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Elaborate floats, ornate costumes, rhythmic music and nonstop dancing encompass the richness and beauty of Haitian culture.


The Kanaval festivities began yesterday at Pwoje Espwa, as the children received an early dismissal. Follow the rolling beat of the music and you could find them gathered in the Teen Boys’ Village, where they challenged each other in sack races, hopped flawlessly underneath jump ropes, and participated in many other fun games.

Today, schools and businesses across the country will be closed for the national holiday – and the festivities will continue at Pwoje Espwa!

I fell in love with Espwa during my first visit last year. Hard to put into words, but there was a real "heart" connection with the kids and staff. It is a special place. My visit was focused primarily on the girls and the teachers. Relationships were initiated during that first visit that I treasure very much!

- Maria Simeone

There is hardly a more heartbreaking sight than seeing an orphan in Haiti--many of them who have families who simply cannot feed and clothe them. Of course there is the emotional response to their plight, but there is a more pragmatic hope--that given a chance in a loving, caring environment, these children can grow up to be leaders, people who can move their communities and the country itself in a positive, healthy direction.

- Jackie Wilson

This place is amazing! The kids and their caregivers will restore your faith in the human spirit. The magic of Espwa is that there is a childhood provided for the kids there that would not exist otherwise.Haiti has a very very long way to go, but this is a hopeful place with clean, well fed, happy children, teachers, house moms, and support staff. Fr Marc and all of the others should be very proud of their accomplishments. Help them in any way that you can!

- Kerri McDonough Croland
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