A Home in Haiti

La Maison D’Enfant Espoir is home to 57 lovely, cheerful Haitian children in the country’s capital Port-au-Prince. Located in the city’s suburb, La Maison will serve as our unofficial home away from home for the next two weeks while we visit the Caribbean island country.

At any given moment the sound of laughter, shouts, sobs, giggles, and general action can be heard throughout the two-story house. Children are everywhere. Around every corner, behind every door, in every room. The front yard is a roughly gravelled lot transformed into the perfect soccer pitch by the older boys. The house’s main verandah has been transformed into a hair salon by the girls, who happily comb and rebraid the hair of their peers. The youngest children can be found marching happily around the house in packs, cuddling naked cabbage patch dolls and exploring hidden treasures discarded by their older brothers and sisters. La Maison is constantly full of action, making it seem more like one wild, living breathing animal than an orphanage.

The cuties do their best poses for the camera

Shenaylove with the twins, Daniella and Danielson

The gated front yard of La Maison

La Maison was opened as an orphanage for children in 2002. French for The House for Children to Hope, La Maison D’Enfant Espoir is home to a group of kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Run by the very personable Bruny Etienne, La Maison is constantly on the repair and even after nine years as a functioning home is still a work in progress.

Holding a small photography lesson with the kids

We did some folding and organizing of the kids' clothes

We were instructed to take multiple photos of their Strawberry Shortcake colouring book

Gill with her new friends

The Strawberry Shortcake colouring book makes an appearance with Daniella

Leah and her camera get bombarded

These best friends are too cute for words

Currently, the Quebec-based Jaqueline Lessard Foundation is working to build the children of La Maison a new place to live and learn. The project was launched last September and has a planned inauguration date of June. The new complex will include five new classrooms for children of the orphanage and students from surrounding areas as well as a new building for sleeping, eating and playing.

Etienne and some of the older children of La Maison come to inspect the progress of their new home

The beginnings of the school that has enough base for 6 floors

After just two days in Haiti, it seems obvious that everyday life in the country’s capital is nothing short of a constant struggle. But within the gated walls of La Maison, the children seem to pass their days with endless amounts of laughter and a carefree ease that comes so naturally for them with an outlook on life that us two travelers are both eager to adopt. It seems only fitting that these children will be the ones teaching us a lesson on living.

Leah and her breakfast buddy, Jonas

Gill giggly new friend, Lancely