Monday, August 11, 2014

100% pass rate

A national report for education in Haiti was just released today stating that the national pass rate for two crucial exams--one at the end of 6th grade and the other at the end of 9th grade--is 76%

Congratulations are due!   We learned that Father Parnel Lundy's school in Pestel had 100% pass rate for 6th graders and 9th graders.  These are crucial national examinations.  Here is a note (slightly edited for readability) from Fr Parnel Lundy:


We just published the results of state examens for June 2014.Our students passed the test exams 6th and 9th grades--all managed successfully. I am also glad and proud. Entire educational community of the parish is satisfied. On this happy occasion , I come with as much pride and join with you to share our joy. There ,you have also contributed . Also I pray you to share it with your family , Thriving Villages International Inc ,benefactors and all those with you working with dedication for Pestel ,for Haiti.
You can be thanked thousand times! Indeed, your devotion is not only rewarded , but we are encouraged to continue working together. More over , this result gives us satisfying to believe that the St. Francis schools are  growing from year to year. Next year we will present our first class of students for the 12 rd. grade state exams.
May God continue to bless you ,your family and Thriving Villages International greatly !

Fr. Jean Parnel Lundy
         Pastor of Pestel


--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

TVI July Update

Hi all

I've been eager to send this update out!    Please feel free to share with others.   If you'd like paper copies to distribute please let me know.

See the attachment for important updates on:
---High School building project in Pestel
---Ceramic water filter project
---New health-related project


We are thankful to so many.  Thanks to all who help, in so many ways, to allow us to participate in this important work.  Some give of their time and talents; some give donations; some give through their personal connections; many give through their outright encouragement and prayers.  

Jen and I are learning the importance of pacing so that we "do not grow weary in well-doing".  (Galatians 6:9)  As that verse hints, we believe important seeds are being planted in Pestel that will, over time, grow up into a rich harvest.   Please pray that God will continue to send those who can help in this work so that it will indeed be fruitful, and that people will be amazed at what He has done.  

Ben
-- 
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New video on the household ceramic water filters!

Hello everyone,

I'm pleased to share the latest video produced by the Miss World Organization.  Through the Miss World Organization charity, Beauty with a Purpose, they have already raised enough funds for 2,000 bucket filters and we are estimating this will reach about 12,000 people as a result.  We are also  thrilled with the work that Mr. John Ball and his team (from Illinois) have been doing to prepare for this project and to implement it on the ground.  

We are so thankful for the substantial health improvement that clean water will bring to these families in Pestel.  We're also excited for the jobs that will be created in the area since these filters are produced in Haiti!

Please check out this video, recently released:

We remain thankful that God continues to bring people together for this important work.  We see this as an outpouring of His compassion for the people of Pestel.  

Ben
--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Monday, April 21, 2014

Special Edition: Sister Fidelis

Hi everyone,

This May Sister Fidelis will be 'retiring' from Haiti to return to Sylvania, Ohio.  Please see the attached document (TVI Update April Special Edition) as well as this short presentation:

Sister Fidelis Presentation
(click on the link, then click download and open the file when it is done downloading.  If you have trouble, please let me know!)


In putting these together my mind was flooded with memories of my time with Sister Fidelis as we spent hours together in Pestel.  I remember meeting Sister Fidelis for the very first time as she stepped up (a big step!) out of the boat that came to pick us up at the port in Jeremie and introduce us to Pestel.  You can read more about it here:  http://thrivingvillages.org/howWeBegan.php 

I remember the two of us talking around her table in the village of Ferrier with only an oil lamp dispelling some of the thick darkness around us.  The world becomes very small when all that is illuminated is a bit of the table and an outline of the other person across from you.  

We visited many villages together, usually walking/hiking to get there.  And some of them were quite a distance.  As we traveled Sister Fidelis would prep me for how we might interact with the community.  
 Here's a sample:

My wife and I have had the great joy of meeting many of her friends and Sisters in Sylvania, Ohio.    And while we may not visit with her again in Haiti, I imagine we'll find a chance to sit across from her table in Ohio!




With great love and affection,
Ben
--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thriving Villages Intl Spring Update

Hi all,

I'm trying to get into the habit of sending out a quarterly update.   So far so good!  Please feel free to share the attached document with others.  

We had a good trip to Pestel in March with the Miss World Organization and thankfully, while there were a number of snafus, there were no injuries/accidents or illnesses.  We are now cooking up some really neat plans and I hope to share that with you fairly soon, probably in the next update (oh boy, a cliffhanger!).

There is so much for which to be truly thankful, as you'll read about in the update.  There is no way to give everyone his/her dues, but I think you'll get the sense that this is a combined effort with individuals doing their parts.  So much is needed on so many levels, and we have seen time and time again people step up with encouragement, prayers, donations, fund-raising, providing opportunities to speak, promoting the needs of the poor in Pestel, managing projects, organizing people, volunteering to take one some aspect of the work, etc.  In short, people willing to give of themselves.

With a grateful heart,
Ben


PS  You can read a bit about the March trip to Pestel here:

--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March Update--Haiti

Hi all,

Trip to Haiti
I will be heading to Pestel, Haiti this weekend with the Miss World Team and we ask that you might pray for our safety and any anxiety.  I remain amazed at their resiliency and their desire to help the children of Pestel through their Beauty With  A Purpose charity.  I really am looking forward to seeing them all again.


Ceramic Water Filters
One of the exciting components of our trip will be visiting the village of Duchity in Pestel where a team, led by Mr. John Ball, has been implementing an initiative with the ceramic water filters that will ultimately reach about 2,000 households ( =  12,000 people)!! 
About two weeks ago I gave a presentation at my medical school (Penn State Hershey) to medical students on our work in Pestel, and they collected coins in jars during classes to raise money for the water project.  They raised $1001 in a week!!!   And these are "poor medical students"  :)   


Water Deprivation
On a down note:   Much of Pestel has been experiencing a very hard, dry spell.   I've been receiving notes by email from several people over the past month.  There have been some deaths related to this as well as people have taken risks to try to obtain water.  This has been very hard to process, and it has been a burden on my heart which I have not shared with you because, frankly, I didn't have any solutions.  But I now realize that was the wrong decision.  I recognize that I don't need to always have solutions before sharing these sorts of things.  
I received word from Sister Jo in Pestel that they did experience some rain for three days recently, which is a huge blessing (as you can imagine) and  a surprising answer to prayer.   Of course, the will need a LOT more rain.  In speaking with others we have discussed trying to find ways to truck water into Pestel just to avert this crisis, but even here I don't know where to turn.   The dry season could last for another month (or more).  
In discussions with Water Missions International, we are not giving up on well-drilling.  But we need some sophisticated equipment with expertise to be able to identify potential underground sources of water to improve chances of hitting water.   


Health Clinic
For some time I've been discussing the possibility (and necessity) of a building project in Pestel to construct a health clinic.  This would be located in about the middle of the region where there is no health facility and would serve as an important staging area for the health campaigns as well.   Please pray for wisdom and discernment on this as it is not a small undertaking.


Thanks!
Ben   




--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2013 Year End Report for Thriving Villages

Hello everyone,

We are happy to provide a 2013 Year End Report for your reading!  Please see the attachment.  We do not intend to convey a message that this represents "our work".  Please see this report as a celebration of many of the good things that we have played some small part of and/or took witness to related to the people of Pestel.  We view this as God's goodness being poured out on the people of Pestel, and we pray that each of us will be encouraged to trust Him more.  

At the end of the Year End Report is a 2-page Update.   This is a new format that we are trying out to help convey information.  Please let us know what your thoughts are about this format.   Also, if anyone has interest in helping develop these types of reports we would be most grateful!   We can provide the content if someone wants to help with the formatting for the updates/reports.

Thank you for your part in this.   We hope your joy increases as your read through this!

On behalf of the Thriving Villages Board,

Ben


PS  if there are any typos in the document it's my fault!  :)
--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A great way to start a new year!

Pestel High School Education Fund 


We are really thrilled to report that over the month of December, through the generosity of so many, we collected $9286.25 for completion of the classrooms at the High School in Pestel!  Here is the response from Father Parnel who oversees the school:


Dr,Ben,
I received your letter with  joy. I am very glad for the donations. On behalf of school `` Saint Fran├žois d',Assise of Pestel`` I tell you thank you very much, Dr Ben , On behalf of school of `` Saint Fran├žois d'Assise of Pestel`` I say to all friends of Pestel thank you  very much also.  It is a grand gesture.I continue to pray God for you.
God bless you !
 
Fr, Parnel


We are thrilled!   A note from our Chair, Dr. John Eby:

Thanks to God and your generosity the opportunities for students to get a good education in Pestel have increased significantly.  It is indeed a joy and privilege to partner with a school in Pestel that carries the name of Saint Francis of Assisi. and incarnates his well known prayer.  Through our support we have become  instruments of God's peace and have brought hope where there is despair.  Thanks from the board of TVI.

John W. Eby, Chair






--
President, Thriving Villages International

Thriving Villages website:  www.thrivingvillages.org
Thriving Villages blog:  http://thrivingvillages.blogspot.com/

"Pay special attention to these issues:
   love for one another;
   absence of desire to be thought of as someone special;
   and the impeccable performance of mundane tasks."  Teresa of Avila