This time of the year not only is a time for celebrating but also the time to welcome VISITORS to our campus. This is a key part to our success and our ability to keep offering the services we do. When our story becomes your story we all win!
The orphanage becomes a second home to individuals reaching out to learn more about our mission to larger groups that are seeking an organization to help.The MFO boys and girls cherish the love and time volunteers spend with them during this season. Personal experiences lead to the best stories and we are thankful that upon returning to the states so many of you share our story with others!
We have many plans in store for 2018:
· assisting in the successful graduation of 5 MFO Alumni completing their senior year in college,
· renewing our commitment to education for our primary school ensuring we continue our high standards,
· and we will begin to look at ways to reach out into the community to make sure children that don’t need to be in our care can be placed back with family members or other primary care givers.
With all of this on our plate we also will continue to work to meet the daily needs of food, shelter and security for all of those in our care. The help of volunteers who bring not only their time and love but also supplies of clothing, hygiene items and toys this work is not only possible it is happening every day! We are so thankful for our community and we look forward to 2018 – our 18th year of service together to the Haitian Community!
Haiti is a complicated country with complicated problems, but fortunately, the answer to this question is simple. Focus on educating Haiti’s youth. Educating the children – young and old of Haiti is the single most important thing that Maison Fortune does—period. If Haiti’s circumstances are ever going to change then it’s the educated Haitian youth that will drive that change. We firmly believe that the education these young people receive with the support of the MFO Foundation will make a difference in their lives and their communities.
On December 3, 2017, we had the privilege of watching our very own MFO residents receive their diplomas from the University of Notre Dame Haiti. Take a minute to listen to one of our graduates. Johnny Metellus came to Maison Fortuné Orphanage as a small boy, and on December 3, 2017, he was part of the first ever graduating class of students in the University Notre Dame Haiti”s Medical Biology program! It is because of supporters like you that we are able to open these doors of opportunity for students like Johnny.
Video and Photos: MFOF Volunteer Photographer and Videographer Eva Fuze
Maison FortunéGraduation Day: December 3, 2017 – University of Notre Dame Haiti
Meet Exilien Jean. He came to MFO in 2000, when he was just 9 years old. His mother was still living but unable to care for him once his father passed away. He was welcomed into our family as one of the very first children and now thanks MFO every day for the opportunities he has had and continues to have.
Exilien is now finishing up his third year at the University of Notre Dame Hinche and will graduate next year from the Medical Technology program. He will be completing an internship this fall in Port au Prince and hopes to work in a laboratory setting once he graduates. After high school, our students move off campus and live on their own. While he found this transition hard at first, he was thankful he had the life skills to be out on his own and has now grown to enjoy his independence and his studies. Exilien continues to be involved with our younger boys, helping out between his classes as he can. On the weekends, he can often be found sharing his computer with the younger boys, teaching them to use the computer and showing them tools to help study math and english. He is a shining example of what it looks like to “pay it forward.” He embodies the opportunity we strive to create. Exilien’s dream is to one day own a plot of land and begin to start his own family. All of this is only possible with the ongoing support from donors like you.
Can you commit to helping to support a child like Exilien create a better future for themselves? With a recurring monthly donation of $25 or more, you can provide tangible resources for our children that will open doors for them and allow their dreams to become a reality.
Maison FortunéMeet A Future Leader of Haiti – Exilien Jean
I had been to Haiti before. But I knew that Royal Caribbean’s private island would be nothing like what I was about to experience over Spring Break in Hinche. I did not know exactly what to expect, but I ascertained some idea of what the trip would entail when the packing list included lots of sunscreen, plenty of heavy duty bug spray, and a full prescription of malaria pills. Nonetheless I was beyond excited to reach the orphanage and spend the week in Haiti.
Two teachers, one deacon, seven juniors, six sophomores, and three freshmen from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach traveled to Maison Fortune in April 2017 to do missionary work and to gain the experience of a lifetime. After two long flights and a bumpy van ride, we finally reached the orphanage. Stepping out of the van, I was anxious, as I had no idea what to expect. Almost Instantaneously, boys came running through the rain to greet us and come help us with our luggage.
Shortly my nerves subsided and I felt at home right away. I came to learn that Maison Fortune was a tight knit group of young boys and girls who loved nothing more than learning new things and spending time with the people who have come to visit them.
Those who have been to Maison Fortune can attest to the fact that the children in Haiti have a lasting impact on everyone they meet. To those who plan on going, my advice to you is to go with an open mind and learn all that you can from these kids, because they were able to teach me so much in just the few days I was there. I truly valued every second I was able to spend with those in Haiti, whether it was watching a movie in French, kicking around a soccer ball, or just talking on the porch.
There were so many wonderful parts about the trip, so I am not sure that I can pick a favorite, but I am certain the worst part of the whole week was saying goodbye.
Submitted by: Casey Cummings, Student at Bishop Sullivan High School, MFO Volunteer
“Go as far as you can see. And when you get there, keep going.”
Day 4 Update . “We have made it to St. Raphael. Ashley has run straight since we left Cap-Haitien around 12:30 early this morning. It’s been the longest straight stretch so far without a big break. And she is absolutely dominating today’s run. Maybe it’s the nicer weather today – a cool overcast day with a breeze instead of the rain or sweltering heat we’ve seen so far. Or possibly that she got everything she needed last night to actually recover: rest, food, sleep in a real bed. Or maybe it’s the simple fact she knows we’ve hit all the big check points before Hinche where we’ll meet up with all the kids at the end of the run.
When she first told me she wanted to do this… I’ll be the first to admit I made the mistake of doubting the whole thing. “It’s too dangerous” I told her. “The conditions are so different down there.” And it’s not that I assumed she hadn’t thought about these things, and maybe I was being a bit too glass-half-empty… but it sounded impossible to me. It sounded like too big of a feat for any one person to try and tackle. But I realized, very quickly, that Ashley is not your average person… She’s been forged from a different mentality and an inner strength that’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever known. No mountain is too high, and no challenge is too great with her.
It makes you check yourself and recognize how easy it is to say something isn’t possible, or worse maybe – that something isn’t worth the risk of simply trying. I think the majority of us probably only have ever witnessed about 10% of what we are truly capable of. This week, we are all witnessing what it looks like when someone puts their full 100% in the game.”
When you start out with a vision of doing good things and you surround yourself with good people- GOOD HAPPENS!
When I came back to my home country with the vision to “make sure children without access to education could obtain one” – I had no idea that so many years later the work would extend so far beyond the four boys and one room house I started with. I also never imagined and that the people I’ve met along the way would believe in me and be the reason we are able to go so far.
Being the Founder and Director of Maison Fortune Orphanage I have a unique role that has become more than I had ever imagined. When visitors come now what they see is a very different picture than the photos we took 15 years ago. Now in addition to the smiles on the children attending primary school, they also see high school girls making their dreams a reality through education, and University students looking ahead to graduation and starting their own businesses. Thank you for making this a beautiful reality for over 200 children in our current care and the 70+ who have moved beyond our care and are now finding their own way.
In additional to kids it is my unique position to also see our facilities. Today I want to highlight those of you who have also shared that vision over the years have contributed to our Capital and Building Funds. Our children are only as safe as their environment allows them to be and that is
why your special support to our buildings, infrastructure, and security is so important. Over the years our buildings have been painted, generators bought and fixed, pumps installed, wells dug for a constant safe water supply, and roofs have gone up for shelter from the storms. All of these projects are prioritized, budgeted, and done with local companies and labor. When you give to our capital fund you are enhancing the lives of our children but also lifting up our Hinche community. I can’t thank you enough.
This year we have been renovating and building a new kitchen area. This is only possible with additional giving beyond our operational needs and we are so appreciative. With our new space our children can study out of the rain and our cooks can prepare meals while it rains! Our transition to gas cooking is nearly complete and we are grateful!! We will be saving money going forward by not buying charcoal and saving the environment at the same time! With your support we no longer need to procure 150 lbs of charcoal each week to keep our fires hot! Thank you! Thank you!
Lastly, while we have been working together to change the lives of others, you have also changed mine. In a time where the world seems to be turning inward I am grateful to know the exact opposite is true. Alongside each other we will always be stronger, Thank you.
-Lefort Jean Louis, Founder and Director Maison Fortune Orphanage
Maison FortunéSurround Yourself With Good People-Good Happens!