Project Rennwish

The School is finished! 

As of today, there are over 250 children enrolled,
many of whom would never have had an opportunity
for an education... (These pictures were taken one week
after the earthquake in Haiti)...

The completed school....

One of the classrooms... 

Beth McCall, from Orange County, CA sees what a school in Haiti looks like..

This is the classroom for 6th graders.  On the board is a diagram of what 
causes an earthquake and the history of earthquakes in Haiti...


From left to right: Brooke McCall, Beth McCall, Grant Connealy and Pastor
Vilnor in the administration office. One day later, we used this office as
a primary food distribution center for children, the village and refugees...

Project History

How to contribute to Phase Two Project Background The Challenge Making it Happen Today Photo Gallery
Phase One
Phase One
(fully funded)
Phase Two
(initiated on May 8)
Phase Three

The Village School
A story of a Pastor, two hundred Children, a Community and Pride.
Les Cayes, Haiti

Phase One of this school will be dedicated to
Natalie Louise Streather
In July 2008

Updated May 9th 2008:
The $8,000 required for launching Phase 2 (land purchase) has been
committed by a wonderfully generous anonymous benefactor.


To one person - this is a concrete block.
To another - it is the cornerstone of the future...

Project Background


There are times in this life when we are given the opportunity to change the destiny of a child, a family, many families - or even, in rarer cases - an entire village. This is an account of one of those rare opportunities.

Several months ago, while visiting Haiti to discuss another project that Project Rennwish has recently undertaken (to be announced), I had the chance to meet with a local Pastor from a small village. Pastor Vilnor is a young man, proud of his accomplishments - who has done more with "nothing" than one could ever imagine and comprehend - especially those of us fortunate enough to live outside Haiti - and that village. Pastor Vilnor asks for nothing, he has little insofar as material possessions and yet, he is the center of that villages world. In fact - he tries to run and operate a "school" in that village. He has just over two hundred students with local "teachers" - and their "school house" is his church - one very large room with a tin roof - where the pews are pressed into service as "desks" and teachers of all six grades compete to be heard over the din of other grades being taught a few inches away. Inside, on a warm Caribbean day with the sun beating down on the tin roof - you can well imagine the overwhelming heat and stagnant air permeating that one large room.

As a backdrop to this everyday scene, today - the village and villagers themselves exist in a world that few can imagine, stricken with poverty, unemployment and a daily "income" of perhaps a few Haitian Gourde (1 Gourde = about 2.5 US pennies) - there has been little hope in that community to revitalize their youth in regards to education, morals and a sliver of hope for a brighter future.

In short, the everyday challenge of each and every member of that village has been to simply survive at the most basic level - including perhaps eating one meal a day, or working their small crops - or maybe - sending their child to a school locally - so that they may have an opportunity - perhaps someday - at a better life. 

Someday…. And - today is that "Someday"


The Challenge

Project Rennwish, Inc. is guided by some basic, yet demanding principles. Many of those principles differentiate us from other Non-Profit Organizations. In short - we do not "blindly give money".  Rather, we attempt to invigorate basic humanity and instill a "sense of pride" in peoples daily accomplishments.  In short:

  • We do not want to "run" or "own" any of the projects undertaken with our "partners"; but rather - we develop long term relationships with those partners who live everyday within those projects/villages, effecting long term positive change;

  • We only become involved with programs that directly effect core values of humanity and morality - such as education, care of those less fortunate, children who have no hope otherwise. We entrust our "partners" to maintain that same level of integrity and honesty - and in many cases - that partnership is with a person, a child - or in this case - an entire village;

  • Our "success" is not measured by what we "operate" or "own" (we do neither)- but rather, how our investments have changed a single child, a group of children, a family - or again - in this case - an entire village in both the short and long term. It is our sincere hope that our "projects" outlast and persevere far beyond our mortal lives.

  • We demand integrity, moral ethics and irreproachable principles from our partners with whom we undertake partnership programs.

If our partners "succeed";
Then we have succeeded in some small way.


Today is that "Someday"

Quietly - over the past two months, Project Rennwish, a small handful of private individuals (listed below), Jen and myself issued a "challenge" to a local Pastor, a group of children - and an entire village in completing Phase One (of three Phases).

And the response has been overwhelming. In fact - the local villagers built this school, we did not. We simply supplied the "glue" to bond the community together in this goal. They are the ones who succeeded and surpassed that goal. If you look at the pictures below - you will see children, village elders, groups of women and children "building their school". They gave freely of all they had - time, labor, pressing fruit juice and baking bread for their neighbors as they toiled to "build their dream". You can also witness older women and men alike digging the foundation, carrying 70 pound concrete blocks and mixing/pouring concrete by hand - again, simply to reach a common goal. Just to "build their school" for the children and Pastor Vilnor.


Phase One

Phase One has been fully funded privately and is scheduled for completion in June of 2008. It will be dedicated on July 9, 2008 in a remote village outside of Les Cayes Haiti.

During the ceremony
The school built during Phase One will be dedicated to the memory of Natalie Louise Streather.

The dedication ceremony will be headed by Pastor Vilnor and will include his students, teachers and villagers. It will also be will attended by dozens of other local Pastors and leaders from throughout Haiti.


Phase Two

Project Rennwish and Pastor Vilnor are considering purchasing a "lot" of land adjacent to the current school/project, as the existing land is too small for further construction. By acquiring this small parcel, it allows us (the villagers, Pastor Vilnor and Project Rennwish) to begin the following:

  • Final construction of additional school rooms for pre-schoolers and dedicated work areas for the upper grades (8-10th graders) in the learning of arts/crafts, woodworking, sciences, etc.;


  • A land lot capable of growing/cultivating , which will teach gardening/crop skills to both students and the local farmers;


  • A lot size that can be expanded to include Phase Three.

Estimated Budget - Phase Two
$8,000 for land;
$32,000 US for construction/buildings


Phase Three


(Details to be announced after the dedication of Phase One in July, 2008)



Benefactors and Sponsors of this School


We are proud and humbled by the following individuals and organizations who have quietly donated to this project:

The Natalie Louise Streather Memorial Fund
Hooked On Cars

Mr. Robert Rouleau

Eric Sklut  

Ms. Jennifer Munson

Chris Walrod

Paul Hester

David Dudley

Thaddeus Austin

Stephen Robbins

George Semaan

Victor Austin

Mona Kassfy

Jason Marino

Timothy Henshaw

Stefan Damstrom

Scott Harrison

(Kansas City Wrenching Society)





Click on any picture for larger view
Why we do this....

Some of Pastor Vilnor's students and teachers.  (Apparently - they were very excited to get out of class for this photo.)

Why we do this....
The current "school".  One room. More than 200 children in six grades try to "learn" under a single tin roof.


Breaking Ground for the school.  Over thirty villagers continue to donate their time , labor and what precious little food they have to assist in the construction.
This is a "village" project.
An elder villager and her two young daughters pass out fresh bread and fruit juice they have just made to the workers.
When one person wants to make a difference - they do.
This woman's contribution is to be certain the workers have fresh juice.
Filling the foundation walls - by hand, bucket by bucket, wheelbarrow load by load.
Compacting the foundation for the final concrete floor.
Pouring the concrete floor.
Pouring the concrete floor.
And the walls rise up from nothing.
And the community builds it for themselves and the children.
"Pride in doing something that they thought was impossible"



The Dedication


June 2009

The second story to the school is finished!!
(Please click on photo below for larger view)

Project History

July 2008

I guess I'm just going to write this post/thread as a "train of jumbled thoughts", since - every time I return from a trip like this, I find the words difficult to come by? So - maybe it's better, rather than attempting to do all in one post/thread, I'll try to do one "event" at a time?

For that - there are bunches of pics for this thread… And, in the next few days, Pat and I will try to post others - similar, but yet different from the other events (certificates, soccer balls, Espwa, Technical School, etc.)? Same trip, yes. Different projects, events and people. You folks are doing - or rather "have done" so much for these projects in Haiti - you can not imagine…

For that - I know Patrick can imagine. He was there, in Haiti along with my Mom (Joan Dunkle) - seeing first hand all you have done. I am in his debt and he has my respect. Few - if any - would dare to go to Haiti. Patrick did. And for that, I think he saw a part of this world many can't imagine exists nor believe might exist as we go to our safe houses in our nice neighborhoods, and children - by the dozens - don't call out to you asking for food, or money, or note the color of your skin.

To Patrick: I respect you… And you have my thanks… More than you may know…

Anyway - here is the first topic from the trip - dedicating a school in a remote and impoverished village in Haiti. This school is the first the village has ever had. Children from that village are usually sent out to other schools, or sent to relatives outside, or sold off or.. Well - whatever. The school was dedicated on July 11th - but it was really dedicated the day the entire village came out to build "their school". We didn't "build it". Money didn't build it… That little village built it for Pastor Vilnor, the children and themselves. The pictures to date on Rennwish told of their construction efforts, so now - I'll try to tell the rest of the story…

About two months ago - there was nothing.


Here is their story…

Or rather your story….

Adrien and Pastor Vilnor hold up the plaque dedicated to the memory of Natalie L. Streather - to which this school is dedicated. Next September, there will be over 250 children enrolled, and this plaque will hang in the admission/administrative office. It was hand carved by a local artist for this event. It is wonderful. The words are from both Gail & Adrian Streather, and Pastor Vilnor:

And a close up:

Pastor Vilnor, Pat and I (and a few others? ;) ) read the plaque for the first time..

The front of the school - where some final paint, walls, blocks are set a day or two before the dedication:

And a few workers.. This is their school - and they are proud...


This was taken in the Admin office (at the front). Yes, there is a bathroom. Yes - there are actual tiles. Yes - there will be running water and flushing toilets. Yes - they are proud of that as well:

I really need to explain the picture below.. The woman in the picture has lived in the village all her life. In my previous pictures - SHE IS THE OLD WOMAN WHO WAS CARRYING THE BLOCKS.. When she saw me - she walked over, and while weeping - gave me a huge hug and simply went on with her thanks. You folks - who have supported this effort - have her sincerest thanks.. Forever... She is a wonderful village matriarch who never imagined... But - for all of you - she is alive to see the day her village was changed. That's to your credit and to hers...

Friday - the day of the dedication.... I was a little "detained" - so this pic is from my Mom... The ceremony itself? While I was speaking (which was also broadcast over Haitian national radio - who would have guessed?) a few hundred attendees. The dedication lasted the entire day - and there were a thousand or so through the day? I dunno...

And some of the attendees:

And villagers who built their school:

And the crowd in the church for one of the dedications:

And outside the church - which is...

Why we just do this:

Thanks for reading...