Marmalade Church School Construction Almost Complete!

Marmalade Church School Construction Almost Complete!

Amazing progress is being made to complete our reconstruction of the Marmalade Church before the kids return to school in September. The whole local church turned out to help when the construction materials arrived on July 12th.

One thousand cement blocks, two hundred bags of cement, a hundred twelve foot metal roof panels all arrived in two large trucks and the Marmalade Church people moved all the materials up a hill to the construction site. Kids, some as young as six years old, walked up and down the 100-foot hill to get all the materials to the site. It was amazing to see teenage girls with five gallon buckets full of sand balanced on their heads and chatting away as they walked up the hill in flip flops to empty the bucket and head back down the hill for more. Pastor Villience, his whole family and other church members were working together as this long awaited project got underway. The excitement of the teachers was wonderful to see as they too carried materials up this hill to stage the work. Go to the photo section of our web site to see lots of pictures.

Help for Haiti bought over $12,000 of building materials and paid eight local tradesmen, carpenters and cement masons $3100 to do the work. The lead boss on the project is Presume Sipporte and his team consists of 8 local tradesmen. They began working as soon as the supplies arrived and plan on being on the site until the work if finished. Their presence on the site secures the building materials. Their families provide them with food and other necessities during the weeks of work. This work may be their only project for the year and the payroll really helps them support their families. By the time we arrive in September, the church and school will be completely rebuilt.

Bethany Family Camp at Camp Lincoln & Backpacks for 130 Marmalade Students

This was truly a family camp with a purpose as the kids came away from an overnight camping experience with their parents with a real understanding of what it means to have the privilege of being able to go to school when in a place like Haiti many kids never get the chance. The church held a Family Camp this summer and children from Bethany Church packed school supplies in the backpacks.

Each backpack was customized with the name of a Marmalade student and inside was a large colorful paper with the name of the child who packed the backpack with supplies. The Bethany kids wrote a note to each Marmalade student in Haitien Creole as we translated phrases from English to Creole for the Bethany kids to copy. For example, “Jezi remen ou” means, “Jesus loves you” in Creole. Jan Dietrich and Kristen Kephart from Bethany will leave with me on September 11th to deliver the backpacks to the Marmalade kids.

A Haitian congregation from Bethel Evangelical Church in Somerville, MA joined us at camp and the women from the church cooked wonderful traditional Haitian dishes for the Saturday supper. Pastor Mark Biennestin, the Senior Pastor, spoke Saturday evening and translated Jan’s Sunday message in Creole. Many new friendships began as the families got to know each other when they all worked together to pack the backpacks.


The school will open with no real school benches for the kids to sit on. The ones they have from last year are in terrible condition, and there are not enough of them. There is no place for them to write and they are falling apart. We can have local carpenters build new ones for $75 each. This is the cost of materials and labor. At Bethany Family Camp Dale And Judy Flemming from North Hampton gave me $75 asking that it be used to build the first bench. We need 29 more benches and each one will seat 6 kids. If you can donate to this project it will make a big difference to kids for years to come. Four benches for $300 or ten for $750 –please do what you can and just note on your donation “benches”.

With Thankful Hearts,

Jim & Betsy Willey


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