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
September 8 Update: We are happy to report that MFO has come through the storm unharmed! School will resume today and with minor clean up it will be hard to tell a hurricane has passed. We are very fortunate – with just a small change in the path we could be giving a very different update. Please join us now as we pray for those in the advancing path of Irma and thank you for the thinking of us and inquiring. We are always touched to receive your notes of encouragement and love.
September 6 Update: Hurricane Irma — now a Category 5 — is gaining force as it approaches the U.S. and we pray it steers clear of our tiny nation of Haiti. Haiti was devastated by the earthquake of 2010, and was hit yet again last fall by Hurricane Matthew. While most American cities have considerable time and resources to help them find safe shelter to weather the storm, a hurricane of this magnitude, with winds up to 180mph, would be catastrophic to Haiti’s fragile infrastructure if it makes landfall. Please keep Haiti and everyone in #HurricaneIrma’s path in your thoughts this week!
It’s time again for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival in Chesapeake, VA – our third annual fundraising event to support The Maison Fortuné Orphanage Foundation. The event is Saturday, August 19th from 2-7 pm at Greenbrier Farms, rain or shine. This year’s tickets are going fast, so if you haven’t already purchased yours, don’t wait – we may not have them at the gate!
The Tap Tap Festival features unlimited free samples of over 30 beers. Food from your popular regional food trucks and entertainment brought to you by two of your favorite bands – BJ Griffin and Galaxy Groove AND Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos! Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Maison FortunéIt’s Time for the Tap Tap Craft Beer Festival
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
In December 2016, Ashley Horner visited Haiti for the first time and spent time at the Maison Fortunè Orphanage, a place she now refers to as home. This orphanage is home to close to 200 children, providing food, shelter, and education for boys and girls who would otherwise be left in desolate situations. Upon her return back to the states, in the midst of the gift giving and holiday season, she knew her story in Haiti was just beginning.
Over the next few weeks, she struggled with what she could offer, as she knew she had more to give. Reflecting on the beauty she found in Haiti it was clear from the start that the people who make up these communities didn’t need to be turned into another America — she wanted to showcase the beauty of Haiti and its people … but she wasn’t a journalist, and she didn’t write for a travel magazine. It was still unclear but she knew she could do something.
Today Maison Fortuné Orphanage and its supporting Foundation will honor a man we call a father and friend. Brother Cosmas Rubencamp will be celebrated in services today – one in Danvers, MA and the other taking place at the same time at the campus of Maison Fortuné. We will be lifting up ‘Bro Cos’ as a mass is prepared to honor his life and everything he did for his Maison Fortuné Family. Our story exists because he stopped to care.
In an early visit to Haiti in 1988, Bro Cos visited the local Catholic School in Hinche, St. Martin. He spotted a child attending class without a uniform and he inquired to the officials about this certain boy. They informed him that this boy was attending class but hadn’t paid for his tuition and could not afford his books and other fees. They said the child kept coming but they were not sure how long they could continue to let him in without a uniform. This child knew the importance of being in school and was trying hard to learn everything he could because he also knew that because he couldn’t pay his time would be limited. What he didn’t know was that Bro Cos would be the man that would allow him to stay. This is the day Bro Cos met the Maison Fortuné Orphanage Founder and Director, Lefort Jean Louis, the student without a uniform. Not only did Bro Cos raise the money to pay for his high school tuition and school uniform, he also helped Jean Louis raise support to attend college at Virginia Tech where he graduated in 1994.
Virginia Tech, 2012
So today, please join us in prayer at 3:30 PM EST, when so many across oceans will be lifting up the soul of Bro Cos.
Bro Cos believed in the power of education. We will be setting aside the gifts made in his honor to help fund our college student tuitions. In the upcoming year, Maison Fortuné will have 26 university students attending college in Haiti. We know Bro Cos would be honored knowing his passion for education will continue in this important way. Please consider making a contribution in memory of Bro Cos. He will be dearly missed, but his legacy will live on in the hearts of minds of those he touched.
Our weekend was filled with celebration at the orphanage, as Ashley Horner, her team and our children celebrated an amazing accomplishment — running 230 miles through Haiti to raise money for our primary school. The original goal was $28,000, to fund the school for an entire year. When Ashley hit that goal, she doubled down, and kept running, challenging people around the world with a new goal of $56,000.
We are incredibly happy to report not only did Ashley meet the new goal, SHE BROKE IT. As of this writing the fundraising page is over $64,000, from more than 1,100 donors!
Not only did Ashley crush the goal and provide two years of funding for the school, she helped increase awareness about The Maison Fortunè Orphanage and our goal of raising the next generation of leaders for Haiti. We are beyond thrilled, and so very appreciative of everything Ashley and her team have done for the children. Of course the mission doesn’t end here – we have more needs, but thanks to Ashley’s efforts, we’re able to focus even more resources to our other challenges.
We’ll close with a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported Ashley and the children of Maison Fortunè through dollars, tears, sweat, sharing the story and sending prayers and warm thoughts. Thank you.
“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.”