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Over Christmas Break (and New Year’s Baskets, Part 1)

The Christmas Program

This year’s Christmas party committee worked tirelessly to design an innovative program that would appeal to and involve as many members of the community as wanted to participate.

There were skits (done in true Haitian style) about the true meaning of Christmas…

(the cast for one of the skits)

One of the students from Lemuel’s school read the Christmas story out of Luke, and Thony presented a brief Christmas message.

Their were tons of games for all ages, only a few of which I was able to capture in photos.

The prizes for the winners ranged from brightly wrapped gifts to special “gift cards.”

One of the gift cards was for a free meal at Tes et Fils after the program.  The other gift card was for a free goat! During hurricane Matthew, many people lost livestock, so the “goat gift cards” were a great way to give some families a boost. Each member of the winning four-man team for the game below won a goat.

There were trivia questions…

…and special music…

…and energetic Christmas carols…

…and a traditional-style, gift-giving dance.

New Year’s Eve Service and Food Baskets

School vacation times always provide unique opportunities to work with and invest in our youth.  Its also a fun reunion as those who are attending school in other cities or in the D.R. come back to the Plateau.  They immediately begin participating in various work around Lemuel while regular staff are on vacation.

This year, Manis put the youth in charge of the New Year’s Eve service in the church.  They did an excellent job.

While the service was going on, the youth were also entrusted with a surprise.  All of those attending were to be given a gift of a food “basket” after the service (they were not told this in advance).

While Thony and some others wrapped up the service, the rest of the youth were quickly separating the food into family portions.

Manis announced the surprise at the end of the service and then handed things over to Mezou, who was responsible to separate the crowd into family groups and direct the distribution.

One member representing each family passed through the line for a full basket’s worth of provisions.

Then, all the individuals remaining–mostly children and youth–were each given one item out of what was left–either a bag of flour or a bag of spaghetti, oil, tomato paste, etc.

Everyone left with something to take home.

After everything was finished, Manis spent a few moments encouraging, instructing, and counseling the youth.

And it wasn’t over yet.  The remaining provisions were assembled into additional baskets.  We also gathered together some clothing to add to them.  These baskets put together on Sunday afternoon to take to Nanyila.

Nanyila is mountain community, even more remote than the Plateau.  They had also been hit pretty hard by the hurricane, and we heard that there was a lot of need there.

So on Monday morning, a delegation of the youth, led by Dadithe loaded up in vehicles and took the baskets of provisions to Nanyila.  They worked in collusion with the church committee there to distribute the provisions to the community.

There were also some baby things…

…and some school supplies for the kids.

After spending a little time with the people there, everyone began to load up in the vehicles for the trip home.  As they prepared to leave, people came running up with little “thank you” gifts out of what they had been able to quickly retrieve from their gardens–beans, passion fruit, key limes, corn, and greens.  It was a very touching outpouring.

Seeing different places and the needs of others, experiencing the joy of giving, being chosen to lead, being given responsibility and the opportunity to apply things they are learning–it is difficult to convey how invaluable these experiences are to our developing youth.


Every year, distributing New Year’s food baskets looks a little different.  It depends on the current needs and situations.  There were still more baskets to give out, and that will be contained in a separate post coming soon!

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