There is always so much going on with Be Like Brit, not just in Haiti, but in both our Worcester and our Delray Beach offices in the USA, too! Add Melissa in London to the mix, who handles all of our Britsionary applications, background checks, scheduling, and flight purchases, and we're truly growing in to an international NGO!!!
As we welcomed the Britsionary Group on Saturday last week, a group from Pilgrim Congregational Church, who worked hard all week to build another house for a family in need (we're up well over 80 homes now!), we also welcomed our friend Judy Bloomberg for a two week stay at Brit's Home to help us formally evaluate the progress of the Be Like Brit Academy, and to offer her feedback and suggestions around how we could improve the program and the curriculum. Judy was previously with us here at BLB last year with her husband Mark, a physician, who spent a month with us working on similar educational goals, and on developing a strategic plan for the expansion of our clinic and medical services to the community. Judy's feedback and skills have been an excellent addition for us, and invoking the train the trainer model, we believe we're building the capacity of our Haitian staff and teachers in the most culturally appropriate and effective way!!!
We also welcomed back to BLB a previous Medical Britsionary, Jeff, who traveled to Haiti from Pennsylvania to work with other community clinics in Grand Goave and who traveled to the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation Hospital with a van full of children and staff and neighbors who needed consultation. While we do employ our own full-time nurse, Mirlaine, it's always good to have a strong, well-informed advocate on your side when dealing with anything medical in Haiti. So much of the population is uninformed, and at times, providers may not be as thorough or as detailed in explanations as they might otherwise be. This is no fault of their own, of course, with a system overwhelmed and overloaded with need.
We're so fortunate to have incredible care from St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, and our needs are always met thanks to our great ally in Dr. Pierre, the Medical Director there. Thanks to Jeff for being those extra eyes and ears on the ground, (as well as hands!) this past week in Haiti! He even got to take some time out from the clinic to travel to various outings with our group!
We were thrilled to welcome Cherylann and Bernie back to BLB this past week, too! Bernie spent a lot of his time this week in obtaining new images and video of Be Like Brit and of our grounds, and also of the projects we work on on a regular basis. The images that Bernie was able to capture with his drone are absolutely incredible! If you visit our Youtube page, you can watch them all, too! Look for them to post to Facebook this week, too!
With Cherylann here, she and I, along with Gina our staff social worker were able to really go through our programming goals for 2017, and discuss problems and issues challenging us and some of our children to work together towards a resolution. Cherylann, along with the other members of the Program Committee, spent two years developing our Program Manual, including our Guiding Principles and our Guides to Speech and Action, directives on how we would (and do) respond to issues here at Brit's Home. Her insights as a mother are always invaluable, and talking through these issues is reassuring to all of us! She also of course worked hard on the job site too, alongside our group!!!
Of course, many of you saw that Peterson safely arrived in the United States last week! He's going to be working alongside Len at our Delray Beach office, training under Papi Len to help build the skills and learn more about our plans for the Be Like Brit Foundation moving forward! We're excited to have this exchange in place, and know that he, Len, and Pastor Deb in South Florida will be doing great, great things! This week, they spoke at Lynn University! Keep your eyes on South Florida, for there are great things coming out of there very soon!!!
Our children are thriving! Did you know that almost every week, we take all of our children down to Taino Beach for a day by the ocean? Not only have they all learned how to swim, but now, we're working on teaching the values and importance of social responsibility. This past Saturday, the children and staff worked to clean up a large section of the beach, to preserve this beautiful landscape. Haiti truly has some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, and we're committed to making ours in Haiti one of the natural beauties of this country!!!
Behind the scenes, there is a lot going on, too! This past week, I met with the Country Director for Heifer International in Haiti, to discuss how we might be able to introduce a farming program at BLB to serve our own internal needs and to somehow help in the community, too! We're looking at educational initiatives and projects including goats, chickens, and more!!! This would have a major impact on our sustainability and I am excited to see how this progresses as we discuss more our needs and the needs of our community!!!
As always, thank you for helping us help the children of Haiti at Be Like Brit!!!