Haiti #4- Rose-Mina Orphanage: Haitian Hell

Posted: June 16, 2010 in Haiti Missions, Journeys, YOLO
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Our plans to work at Hope for the Children of Haiti changed as we found that a very large mission group was working there at the same time. It was uplifting as we encountered many mission groups and volunteer medical teams wherever we went in Haiti. That may have been why we did not experience any racial hostility, as the only white people we met were there to help Haitians on a volunteer basis.
In order to best use our time in Haiti, some of us decided to work at another orphanage in much more desperate straits: Rose-Mina, an unapproved orphanage run in her home by Mrs. Fernandez (www.frdhaiti.org). Our sister Church, Grace Chapel has been supporting Rose-Mina for some time, giving them money to get the kids medical help, for building repairs, and for supplies.

To hear her tell it, Mrs. Fernandez has taken in the kids, along with an occasional widow out of Christian love. She offered to take us to two additional locations where she runs other “orphanages”. Although she claims to be a pastor of some sort, we never saw her once interact positively with the children in any manner. When we got to Rose-Mina, she cried the obligatory tears, told us how wonderful we were and that we came just in time! We tried to believe her, wanting to give her the benefit of the doubt under such difficult circumstances. Dr. Bernard, who also helped Mrs. Fernandez many times, advised us against helping her due to her questionable business practices and poor conditions for the kids. We still hoped that it could be turned around as we feared the children would be put on the streets.

When we saw 71 filthy, malnourished kids living in the open covered courtyard of a small  home with no running water, no supplies, a dangerously filthy play area covered with  sewage, rat-infested dirty latrine, rancid oils in a small open “kitchen” with flies covering  everything, we realized that even by Haitian standards, this was deplorable. When her  son-in-law Ernst pulled up in a white BMW to pick up some of his things, our shock  turned to revulsion.
All of the children had ailments including skin diseases, rashes, parasites, and were very  dirty. Our nurse Marnie held back tears as she told us that there was no point in treating  most of these kids for communicable diseases, parasites and infections as they would just  get the ailments back as soon as we left.

We were there for six straight days and most of the kids had the same clothing on the entire time. At the insistence of Grace Chapel, Mrs. Fernandez hired a few local workers who occasionally would bath the smaller children. Since it was the rainy season, some of the kids would be showered by the runoff from one of the leaky tarps during storms. When the clothes were washed, they were laid out on the filthy roof to dry.
Among the children were: two very sick infants who were not getting any liquids or nutrition; a girl whose head was enlarged from an untreated ailment; many toddlers with hard, bloated stomachs from malnutrition; a young teen who had a leg amputated but could not get to the free American clinic to get a prosthetic; a young girl with a mild case of Cerebral Palsy that was getting worse because she could not get to a clinic to receive physical therapy; a blind teen was kicked out of the school for the blind due to lack of funds.
The blind boy, Jonathan, spent his days playing familiar hymns on a toy piano the entire time we were there. He had almost no interaction with any other children. I am haunted by the thoughts of what he will do with his time when the batteries run out.
When these examples were pointed out to Mrs. Fernandez, she simply stated “the kids are fine and I want nothing to do with any clinics!” When Jonas gave her $100 to take the infants to the clinic, she said she would. When we came back the next day, she kept the money but had not taken the children to the doctors. The babies also were not there.
Despite significant investments by Grace Chapel, each year that they return they find even more kids in this make-shift orphanage and the kids in more desperate straits. We found piles of donated water bottles scattered around the house; boxes of medical supplies that were damaged from improper storage; a cistern with an insecure cover that one of the children recently fell into. A child apparently died at the orphanage last year, but we could not get information on the circumstances.
Mrs. Fernandez always offered a number of excuses, but this was something of a final effort for Grace Chapel. They hated to pull their support because of the kids, but it became clear as we worked there that this was a profit-making business for Mrs. Fernandez and not the humanitarian effort she pretended it to be. (It is my opinion that she belongs in jail doing hard labor, not in responsible charge of beautiful children).

Still, since we were there, we wanted to make things better for the kids as a whole, and perhaps a lot better for a few of the kids. So our plan was to clean the filthy place, get the water system working, build and stock a pantry, and were considering paying for the electrical lines to be brought in.

The video of the grounds I show here is only a few of the videos I will share unedited.

  1. Yani says:

    Bill Perkins: It is such a shame that you been “Christian” speak like that about others. First of all, you don’t know Rolande and how she started everything on her own. I do know her and I’ve seen how she brings kids to the U.S with the help of Hospitals to get treatments for the kids. Many times stayed at my house as she came along with the kids. She loves those kids as they were her own, and she’s open for adoptions. It is so sad that we don’t see Christ-like anymore. What happened to those real Christians that do good without pointing fingers? or pretend they’re helping and otherwise are just there to play the fake-good-Samaritan. I just pray that God open your eyes and you can realize what you have said about them. For the way you expressed yourself in your blog it seem that you are the living- hell. Just do good as God is calling us to do, Jesus is coming soon and we have to gain souls for Christ not kills them. If you, in your opinion really think all that about Rolande….what does the Bible tells you to do with the lost??? Pray for them, because today they are in need of help but you don’t know when you’re going to be in need. And please don’t post blogs like that about people, soon you will give count to God for your actions. God bless you.

    • wdperkins says:

      Yani, I appreciate your passionate response, though I needed to delete your offensive comments about one of our fellow missionaries depicted in my videos and photos. I don’t mind you impugning me; you are welcome to note that I am not that handsome or I have grey hair; I would find it humorous! You do lose credibility when your only response to my many well-documentec postings is a couple of paragraphs of vile attacks and misplaced Biblical concepts.
      I spent 9 days working in that Hell-hole while your hero let these beautiful children live in filth while she came and went with that phony “doctor” friend of hers. She sat there while babies went an entire day without water. We saw the malnourished children playing in filth, trying to survive with nothing. We brought toys and food for the kids, only to find that they disappeared by the next day. We lined up a transfer to a legitimate orphanage for six of the kids but she refused to let them go. One of the workers explained confidentially that she needs the younger kids to draw money from the Americans. We asked her why Baseleigh did not have a prosthetic leg that he could get free from the American clinic and she responded “I don’t want anything to do with it”. We met other charities that have donated thousands of dollars to her “orphanage” and had come to the same conclusion that we did: at a minimum she is a liar and is likely a criminal, at least by American standards. There are unfortunately many people like her in Haiti that are exploiting children for her own benefit. She may have meant well in the beginning, and may have helped some, but she is a big part of the problem at this point. This has become a business for her, and she is doing a deplorable job!

      • Junior says:

        Mr Bill Perkins , I have read your blog and I have to say I respectfully disagree with the comments there made. Both my wife and I visited this orphanage in febuary of last year, after the earthquake, Having known this organization for years, I have to say that if Mrs Fernandez is to blame for anything it is for having to big of a heart. do you know how these kids come to her? most of them are dropped on her doorstep. All she wants to do is help them. Their only problem is that they don’t count on the same funds as some of the bigger crèche in the country. If i had the funds to build these kids a brand new facility and pay teachers to enhance their education i would. by way, i few things you forgot to mention in your blog is that both her son an daughter live in the US and are proffesionals. more than 3/4 of the hatian population is living the way you describe the kids in this orphanage are living, or worst. why signal a “true” non-profit organization out? my wife and I will do everything in our power to get this orphange up to date so that you can visit again and give us your seal of approval. God bless, Jr

        your organization came after we left. those “wonderful”, shown in your videos, shirts were donated by a local organization for these kids and brought them to these kids on February among other things. this leads me to believe your involvement with this orphanage was post the earthquake. there are a lot of factors you should take into consideration before you can make an accusation. right now 2 of her kids are getting operated. i know because i visited them personally. please be more careful on how you state your opinions about a fellow Christian. calling the orphanage “Haitian hell” would suggest that Mrs Fernandez is the devil. wishing her to be put in jail is also over the top and a pretty large leap after only participating with them for 9 days. there are kids right now in the process for adoption i know because my wife and i wanted to adopt one but it turns out e has already been matched for a home. as for your source that led you to believe the orphanage was a tool for Mrs Fernandez to produce revenue and holding the smaller one as hostage, i have to say this can not be father from the truth. just like many Christian organization, Mrs Fernandez want to pair these kids with the possible candidates as she sees these kids as more than just a child in need, but as her child. These kids do not benefit from the comment posted on this blog. did you know that 2 of the kids that left for adoption ended up back with her because of unsatisfactory condition? God bless you Mr Perkins

      • wdperkins says:

        Junior, thank you for your passionate, well-thought out reply! Like you, I initially bought into Mrs. F’s story as many others have. But after speaking with several legitimate charities that have sent her many thousands of dollars for specific purposes only to find nothing done, I woke up. Like it or not, she is either incredibly inept and weak, or is a criminal. Have you met her son-in-law that drives the white BMW and is building a large home with a pool on a hill a few hundred yards away? There is no love lost between those two. I don’t agree with much of what you said, but I will at least give you the following:
        – The entire country of Haiti is a disaster so it is hard for Americans to use the same standards we have in that place. Certainly it is understandable that you get hardened when you see such poverty and suffering. Even one prominent Christian leader I know who has brought hundreds of kids out of poverty and many into the US only focuses on the strongest, brightest and most likely to thrive. Those that are not the “cream of the crop” do not get considered: a tragedy that only God can make right, but understandable given the lack of resources they have. In spite of the squalor in her “home”, I have seen Mrs. F and her phony doctor friend just sit there in the sun for hours as babies go without water and sick kids are left unattended. She could not be bothered to get Baseleigh a prosthetic leg, even though the American clinic would give it and training to him for free.
        – Perhaps this started as a charitable venture and Mrs. F intended to help some kids. However now it is clearly a dysfunctional business, and she is not qualified to take care of one child let alone the 71 poor souls that were there when I was. We brought in some very influential help to persuade her to allow us to move 6 of the kids to a professional orphanage at our expense but were rebuffed. Dr. Jacob Bernard of http://www.hfchaiti.org met with her but could not convince her. We were told by one of the staffers that she would not give up the younger children because they get the most $$ from Americans. We finally filed a complaint with the “authorities” who said she has had a number of complaints against her.
        – Perhaps Haiti has bigger problems than Mrs. F. I understand that even though the Rose-Mina kids are filled with parasites and other illnesses, live in a disease-infested hell hole, play in sewage covered ground around filthy latrines with almost no toys, have bloated stomachs from lack of protein, and have little training of any kind, it could be worse I guess.
        One reason I took so much interest in Haiti is that as a civil engineer, it became clear to me that the problems in Haiti are largely civil engineering based: lack of clean water, sewer, sanitation, good transportation, drainage, etc. I sent money down to hire people to check in on Rose-Mina and tried to go back with a larger group. I looked into the Clinton-Bush effort and was told the reason not much money has been sent there is that they cannot find qualified, credible people to administer the funds in Haiti. I know that with a few bulldozers, a road grader, dumptrucks, laborers, etc., I could transform the center of Port-au-Prince in a matter of weeks. But when I was there, brand new equipment sat unused on the dock! I finally realized that I have to move on: I can’t find a qualified agent to investigate problems and help individual kids, I can’t get through our government’s bureacracy; I have to wait for God to call me to my next assignment, wherever it might be. I am planning to work in Ecuador in the Andes this summer on a trip to help bring water to villages. Given what I have seen in Haiti, I am having trouble leaving them behind.

  2. Jesse Gray says:

    Holy cow. We just spent a day doing a medical clinic in Rose Mina. Heartbreaking! We had the same experiences. Jonathan is still sitting in the room by the rooftop, terrified to walk outside. His legs are atrophied from lack of use. He played “I Surrender All” on one of our keyboards while we all wept. He didn’t have a keyboard to play, so one of the guys on our team picked one up for him. I hope it wasn’t taken and sold.

    • wdperkins says:

      Thank you for your comments Jesse. I would like to hear more about your trip. Sad to hear about Jonathan. FYI I have a friend who has a charity in Haiti and he sent some people recently to check on the kids. Nothing much has changed since I was there. I would love to get some of those kids out of there, but it is almost impossible. People like Mrs. F manipulate the system and exploit the kids for donations. Waiting for God’s direction there. Let me know if you would like to post a guest blog about your experiences in Haiti.

  3. Raina says:

    I am shocked!!!!
    My name is Raïna Edouard. I am the biological daughter of Pastor Marie Rolande Fernandez, and if anyone needs any more details than what I am going to share below please feel free to call me ANYTIME. 754-244-8803 or radouarde@hotmail.com
    I would like to thank Yani and Junior for your kind words, it is people like you who make this kind of accusations not hurt more.
    I am 23 years old now almost 24, and since I was 9-10 years old living in Haiti, my mom started this work. Check out http://www.frdhaiti.org for more details. It is still under construction, but you can get some info there.
    No child at the orphanage is malnourished, if a child has a big stomach it is probably a new child that my mother is nursing back to health. Also, I wish you, Bill, would try caring for 80 children (not 71, 80) based on your OWN whealth for 13 YEARS straight and let me know how you handle it.
    No child was EVER put out on the streets, EVER. So, I don’t even know where you got that from.
    This is Haïti we are talking about, very few houses have running water, as in turn the faucet and water is flying out. So I feel on a lot of things, you added details that are skewed just for dramatic effect.
    Thankfully the people from the Chilean and the Argentinian embassy donate water to the orphanage on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively, so the kids never lack water. They shower twice a day and change clothes every time they shower. The clothes were donated, so a lot of them look alike, and it could be easy to think that they didn’t change their clothes, but they did.
    White BMW….This one made me laugh. First of all, my mother is doing the charity, not my sister Marie Sandra Edouard, nor her husband Ernst Lacrête. Even though they help every day with the orphanage, since they live there (this was our private home by the way from my mother’s first marriage to our father) they are not the ones who started it. They have lives of their own, they are allowed to own whatever car they can afford. By the way, that BMW, you speak so highly of, is not in that great of shape. It is in the shop every other day literally, it has a stick shift transmission, and let me tell you, to drive it, you literally have to shift your body in a weird position to be able to change gears because the chair is broken. I know that first hand, because I JUST went to visit my family in Haiti for Easter and I tried to drive it and gave up. That car is often used to bring kids to the hospital when they get sick, just so you know.
    The kids do have some ailments. There are many of them, and they exchange germs as you would imagine. Put any 2 kids together, they exchange germs and can get each other sick, so go figure 80 of them in a private house. It is a fairly big house, but with 80 children, it gets crowded.
    My mother does the best she can to reduce this issue, but it is a recurring one, that she is still working on. That phony doctor you speak of is Dr. Pierre Louis. She is the only doctor who’s been helping without hesitation or interruption for as long as I can remember. And she is not phony. The only way to get rid of those ailments is to get a bigger house with more help. Getting food to feed 80 kids daily is a DAILY struggle. If it wasn’t for some intermittent help here and there they wouldn’t have survived. So now, if you are struggling daily to eat, how can you afford to fix ailments permanently?!
    She could easily kick some of the kids out, and keep the few that she can actually take care of properly, up to your standards. But as I said, she has NEVER kicked a child out. They come to her, because they see hope in her. The kids’ parents bring them, the kids themselves ask to be brought there. And her only fault is not saying no to them.
    You mentioned that my mother Pastor Fernandez is in this for her own profit; please tell me where that money is? Did you check her bank account and the organization’s bank account? You should, oh and while you do that, ask them for a history on the account.  Let me know what you find. NOTHING. There is no money. She used all she had, and now there is NOTHING.
    There have been many many people who’ve come to help. And they’ve helped greatly, but most stop because they cannot afford to continue. The needs are so great that they cannot keep up with their donations. Before the money comes in, it goes out to pay the employees, who by the way, (ask any of them) spend several months without pay at times because no help came through. (they are currently going on 2 months without pay)
    They still work there why, because they have no other place to work, and they know that if money comes in they will get paid. So when you mentioned that Grace Chapel insisted on my mother getting more help, I don’t believe for a second that she would unless you gave her the money to do so, because she can BARELY pay the many she already has.
    This is Haïti we are talking about. Even I as a child, I have showered in rain water. That does two things, a child has fun in the rain, and that saves the water. But I can assure you that the children, like I used to do, did it for the fun, because like I said, the Chilean and the Argentinean embassy donate water WEEKLY to the orphanage.
    Walk around Haïti for a day, and tell me how most people dry their clothes. They either hang them, or place them on the roof for maximum sun exposure. When I was in Haïti, my clothes were dried this way too. And what person with a sane mind would wash something, anything and put it on a dirty place to dry?! Seriously.
    The girl with the enlarged head, her name is Kerline. She is awaiting help to get operated. My mother takes care of the most critical kids first. Currently, in Jackson Hospital in Miami, there are two teenagers who just benefited surgical donations through my mother’s help. They were born without their genitals, and instead they had an open wound-like replacement. (more details available upon request) They now have genitals, more surgery is underway, but they will eventually have genitals.
    By the way, my mother did not get paid anything (before you assume that they paid her for that). She is not looking to make money, she is looking to help. If she was looking to make money, she could have stayed in her previous profession. Let me tell you, her life and her biological children’s lives were much better financially back then. We never lacked anything back then.
    Kerline is next in line for help.
    That young teen with the amputated leg, his name is Bazelais. And yes, for a while he was using his crutches only and did not have a prosthetic leg, but not because my mother wouldn’t let him in order to attrack more help, but because nobody was helping. Fortunately, some friends of my mother’s from the US Embassy found a doctor who donated a leg to Bazelais, so he now has a prosthetic leg. But boy, I wish you (other people reading this blog) could meet him. He leaves such a great impression on people. Even when he didn’t have a leg, he has such joy of life within him and does EVERYTHING that 2 legged people do. Seeing him play soccer with his crutches is phenomenal. When you hang out with him, you barely remember that he is missing a leg.
    That little girl with cerebral palsy, her name is Micheldine. Her mother left her there because she cannot take care of her. Michelle, her mother, went and got married and moved on with her life. Again my mother is struggling to feed the children daily, so excuse her if she hasn’t had a chance to search for a physical therapist for her. By the way, if anyone would like to help in that sense please feel free to contact me. And remember, the most critical cases get taken care of first.
    Jonathan, the blind teenager, was also brought by his mother because she couldn’t take care of him, and felt that he had a better chance of being helped by my mother’s side. He stays in that room because it is safer for him to stay there, but he is well taken care of. Oh and when the batteries die on the piano, a good Samaritan will donate new ones.  It is as simple as that. Or maybe, you can make sure to bring some for him every time they run out. 
    You can see a recurring theme at the orphanage. The children’s mothers bring them, a mother almost always knows best. And these mothers feel that the environment at FRDHaiti is the best for their children. Many people think so, otherwise, why are there more children every time you come?! Despite the many lacks of the orphanage (storage, employee, etc.), FRDHAITI is a big help to the community. By the way, my mother doesn’t go out looking for kids to attract help, they are constantly brought to her.
    The kids are fine. They can use better clothes, bigger housing, more help (maids) to care for them, but I guarantee you that they are in better circumstances than they would have been had they stayed where they came to the orphanage from.
    They are not starving, they are cared for, and they are loved. My mother refuses to deal with some clinics because they always want something in return. They either want a child, or they want to take over and say that they’ve been doing this for 13 years. And when they take over, they don’t necessarily have the kids’ best interest at heart. As many of you know, there is money to be made in this, but I assure you NO MONEY IS BEING MADE BY PASTOR FERNANDEZ or anyone else in her family through the orphanage or Fondation Rose-Mina de Diègue. Ask to see the accounts if you need proof. Ask anyone who truly knows about this organization, not people who came for a week or so.
    We, all 5 of Pastor Fernandez’ biological children, have tried MANY MANY times to convince her to stop. We tried sayings like “charity starts at home”, if “you don’t have anything, you can’t give anything.” She doesn’t listen to any of us, and even stops talking to us for days at a time, because she is so committed to this. And it pains me to see that someone would say such mean things about my mother. You don’t know what she goes through to do this. And her tears were not fake. They came from the bottom of her heart where she holds all her struggles, sacrifices, and all her pains. We have even tried to help and like most other volunteers, we’ve stopped, because we cannot handle all the costs, all the expenses that she has to face.
    I would love to meet you and tell you this story from my point of view, because I don’t think you really know what really is going on.
    Jonas has helped the organization on many occasions; he’s brought people to visit and those people in some ways have helped. But recently, he tried to get a little boy Joel, adopted. My mother refused because she doesn’t know the people. No one would let their children, or children in their care go with strangers. They got into an argument because of that and my mother kicked Jonas and the people with them (not sure if that was you or someone else) out of the house. All that was in the best interest of the child (any more details please ask me)
    A child did fall in the cistern couple of years ago. That was the child of one of the newer maids at the time. No child from the orphanage ever fell into the cistern EVER. When that kid fell in, an older one, who knows how to swim, went down there and brought him out. You forgot to mention that they were both fine and living today. This is what my mother teaches her kids: to share, to love, and to help those in need. No small child in the orphanage is ever around that open kitchen.
    The child that died, was an infant, a one week old infant, that one of the maids told my mother about. That child was with her mother, who upon request gave her up. Once my mother heard of the child she asked the maid to go get her, and her mother gladly gave her up. The mother was involved in voodoo, and the conditions in which they were living her not suitable for a baby this small, who she barely took care of by the way. She never made it to the orphanage. She was brought straight to the hospital, but she didn’t make it.
    My mother has had long time close friends beg her to stop what she is doing because they see that she has lost everything she earned from the sweat of her brow in trying to help these kids, but she refuses. She is literally giving herself to this cause. My mother came from nothing, and made a career for herself, then she gave all the up to help these kids. Ask me more about that, and I’ll tell you.
    Besides writing this letter aimed at her demise, what have you done to help these children? Have you improved their conditions? Have you brought them food, batteries, proteins, better bathroom conditions?
    Let us know, what exactly have you done positively for them lately?
    If you or anyone else has more questions, please feel free to call me. I do work, so nights and weekends are better for me. 754-244-8803 my email address is radouarde@hotmail.com again my name is Raïna Edouard

    • wdperkins says:

      Raina, thank you for your comments; it is nice to hear from a family member and your offer to continue the dialog offline is welcome. It is understandable that you are defending your mother, and I acknowledge that I need to consider the general conditions in Haiti under which Rose-Mina operates.
      I hope you read all of my blog posts on this issue, and look at all the video and photographic evidence as it seems you have not. Note that we brought multiple medical professionals who provided much of the basis for our health claims. Lethargic babies whose diapers are dry at the end of a long hot day do not lie! Bloated stomachs and untreated ailments were the norm, all while your “Dr.” Pierre Louis sat there in the shade. I think you will acknowledge that none of us have anything to gain from this, just a desire to help these kids.
      Your mother may have had noble thoughts and goals when she started the orphanage, but now operates with a high level of ineptitude. She and the “doctor” likely have been hardened and overwhelmed by the conditions and hard tasks they encountered, but they are clearly not up to the task at this point.
      At first we gave your mother the benefit of the doubt, and tried to work with her to solve the many, many problems. She has been given ample funds and assistance over the years by Grace Chapel and Dr. Jacob Bernard but despite promises, nothing ever got better. (Dr. Bernard as you may know runs an excellent missionary retreat in Haiti as well as two effective orphanages: http://hfchaiti.org/index.html. )
      After spending 9 days working at Rose-Mina with little or no help from your mother or her husband, we focused on trying to get at least some of the kids out of there. I got to know Ernst the best, as he was the only one from your family to help us at all. Your mother was rarely there, and when she was, generally sat and chatted with “Dr.” Pierre Louis. I was told she was not a real doctor, and the reason I question her qualifications is that when our medical staff would bring serious issues to her, she would just smile and say the kids are fine.
      Consider the words of Dr. Jesse Gray, a medical volunteer who visited Rose-Mina recently and commented on my blog: “Holy cow. We just spent a day doing a medical clinic in Rose Mina. Heartbreaking! We had the same experiences. Jonathan is still sitting in the room by the rooftop, terrified to walk outside. His legs are atrophied from lack of use.”
      Baselais is an amazing kid; he should be trained to use his prosthetic leg and given every opportunity to thrive. Anthony should be running a large company some day, but without development they will end up like so many other orphans. If Haiti’s laws were not so dysfunctional, I would consider bringing these two to the United States.
      This is all so unnecessary, as there are ample funds available from countless charities seeking honest, effective operators. Many millions of dollars are available to help, but the biggest problem that charities have is to assure themselves that money is used wisely. Just ask the Clinton-Bush people: millions upon millions of dollars are available. Clearly at Rose-Mina, whatever your mother’s intentions might be, there is a lot of money wasted and children are suffering.
      In regards to Jo-El, Grace Chapel and Dr. Bernard tried for several days to get Jo-El and five of the girls into a clean, professionally-run orphanage but were rebuffed by your mother. We were told that your mother would not give up the younger kids as they bring in more money from Westerners. She was more than willing to give up the older kids, purportedly because they do not bring in the money from those abroad and cost more to take care of.
      Please read all of my posts, and understand my perspective. Perhaps with your help we can work together to make things better for all involved. Your mother should reduce the amount of children she has there to at least half the number, finding homes for the ones she can when the opportunity arises. There are more established orphanages that will take many of the kids. If she prioritizes the children I am sure Dr. Bernard and Grace Chapel, in addition to myself will help her. Otherwise, I expect that the authorities will eventually do something and remove the kids from there. With help readily available, no children should live like that.

  4. Yani says:

    Well said Raina.
    I’m personally a witness of Raina’s testimony and I personally think that no importance should be taken to this kind of blasphemy. I hope Perkins can find peace with God after all this. May God bless you.

    • wdperkins says:

      The main definition of “blasphemy” is “impious utterance or action concerning god or sacred things.” I had no idea you held Mrs. Fernandez in SUCH high esteem and regard my blog posts as unholy criticism of a deity. Still, if you think she is a god, there is no excuse for the conditions she has those children in when there is ample aid available. If she continues to allow these children to live in deplorable conditions, regardless of her intentions, it is just a matter of time before she is shut down and charges are brought against her.
      If you and Raina really want to help, come up with ideas how the situation can be improved. (She should at the very least immediately take steps to reduce the number of children by 50% and send them to other orphanages). Otherwise, you are only making the situation worse by impugning me and others who are simply trying to help.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Dear wdperkins,
    I am a senior nursing student at Boston College and agree that the conditions that the children at Rosa Mina live in are heart breaking. My group and I visited Rosa Mina about a week and a half ago and provided the children with toys and snacks. We wanted to open a free clinic there however we were told by the owners that we weren’t allowed to. I found myself nodding my head as I read a lot of what you wrote. It’s difficult not knowing the truth and not knowing who to believe about why Rosa Mina is in the current state that it is. However I do not appreciate this comment ” The entire country of Haiti is a disaster.” As a Haitian American I find that statement very offensive. I am sure you did not mean to be offensive and that you are just frustrated with the current state of Haiti as I am too. However not all of Haiti is in shambles and there is beauty in my country. Despite that comment, I do appreciate all the work that you and the other missionaries have done in Haiti.
    Thank you,

    • wdperkins says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments Jennifer and certainly appreciate your service in Haiti! (My wife went to BC also.)
      First of all I appologize for the comment about the condition of Haiti, but understand as a civil engineer I was referring to its physical condition being a disaster. As I think I mentioned, I believe that many of Haiti’s problems are civil engineering related: water, draingage, sewer, roads, traffic, transportation, planning, construction, utilities, etc. which lead to the poverty, poor health, gridlock, air and water pollution, disease, garbage, rodents, broken buildings, unsanitary food conditions, etc. Since that is my background I originally was motivated to spend a signficicant amount of time there each year and to help some of the orphans in Rose-Mina.
      While I believe I could make a real difference in a very short time in Port-Au-Prince, with the politics in both countries it is impossible to get much done and I unfortunately gave up. Our government’s focus is on hiring minority contractors to do small jobs there and gain the resultant public relations; the Clinton-Bush people say they cannot get qualified people to manage projects in Haiti given the political obstacles so the last time I checked not much had been done.
      Last year I offered financial help to Mrs. Fernandez’ daughters in an effort to re-organize Rose-Mina and help the kids I met there. I thought we were making progress for awhile. My only major requirement was that they downsize the facility by 50% but Mrs. F refused, only to accuse me of wanting to take over the orphanage for my own profit! I would offer to take some of the kids I met to the United States for schooling, but it seems impossible given the response I got from Mrs. F.
      A group from Grace Chapel in Lexington went back there this year and saw some progress so that was hopeful. But still it seems that there are a lot of children in misery unnecessarily.
      Please keep in touch and keep the dialog open.

  6. Eva says:

    Dear Mr. Perkins,
    the dialogue that starts with a public blog full of accusations that are not substantiated is really not a good start. You want it your way and are not willing to help their way, it seems. I know the place pretty well, i do not belong to any religion and do not pretend to be philanthropic. What i see is a woman that went over her limits, believing in her mission. To believe we are somebody else,s saviors can be dangerous, and even harmful sometimes. Maybe you can help Rolande with that, rather than with your accusations and certainty that you are a better missionary. The situation is more complex and it is true that the circumstances are quite deplorable. But the kids kept being dropped on the door. And they are better off. A few thousands of dolars are nothing compared to the cost of food, nurses, teachers and all that. Saying that money is spent in waste needs proof, it is very popular to say so and make an issue on the blog. It is more difficult to really go deep into the reasons and also papers and records, especially if noone wants to give the money to build the capacity of an organization and everyone would only like to help the poor children, or even adopt them. Explore the reasons why. Everything Raina said was right and rather than judgement, the orphanage needs a proper manager and management training (here i totally agree with you, and Rolande has to agree with that as well) , and someone has to be paid for that. Professionals need to do the job, not only good willing people. Why would kids go for schooling to the US?, they have their own country and we have to attempt to create better conditions there.
    It seems to me that this thing has gone to far, so a waste of energy to argue, and maybe if you really are concerned, contact the daughter, as she offered, and maybe you can find solution or a common language. I am also available, if you wish. eva.marn@gmail.com
    all best, eva

    • wdperkins says:

      Thank you Eva for taking the time to write a thoughtful reply to my blog post. While it appears obvious that you are a family friend, you do not say if you are Haitian or non-Haitian, American, etc. or if you have been to the facility. Either way I would like to respond to some of your comments.
      You say “the dialogue that starts with a public blog full of accusations that are not substantiated is really not a good start. You want it your way and are not willing to help their way, it seems.” I don’t see how you can deny the video evidence of my experiences and my unsolicited first hand confirmation from people I have never met? You yourself add in part “it is true that the circumstances are quite deplorable.”
      In questioning my motives, you state “if you really are concerned, contact the daughter…” I may not have stated this in detail, but I sent many emails including Action Plans and offers of financial support to her daughter, and it seemed like we were making progress. However in the end Mrs. F refused to downsize the facility by 50% as I insisted to gain my help, and she would not let many of the kids go to other, more established orphanages so her daughter gave up the dialogue as did I. It really pained me to drop it due to my concern for the kids and the feeling that it was so unnecessary, but when you go on mission trips in different third world countries you see how many desperate people there are in need of help. Haiti is not the only place suffering, and I can only do what God calls me to do.
      Finally, you state “Professionals need to do the job, not only good willing people.” If what you mean by “professionals” is government officials, I could not disagree more. Many mission team members are well trained professionals in engineering, construction and medical fields, and some just provide love and good honest hard work. When you drive through Haiti you can see the government officials and representatives of the UN driving in their new vehicles looking totally out of place. It is the missionary and medical teams in the mud and filth working alongside educated Haitians that are doing the vast majority of the good work.

      • Eva says:

        Dear sir,
        i am not really a longterm friend, but i worked in Haiti, setting up a school in Carrefour, with Slovenian money, which is where i come from. I got to know the family and, being among the more suspicious people because i have seen to many projects going wrong, and being a lawyer and development worker, you can be sure i checked the motives and finances of the place. When i say professionals, Christ, no, no government officials, i am saying that to run such a place, one must be trained in project management and in development/humanitarian principles. This is professional work, and i have seen to many people having their own agendas or simply good will, which is often not enough to manage such a place well. I have been to the place often and have seen exactly what is on your movie: i see it with different eyes. But, i dont want to polute the web with our conversation, this is why i put my mail, please use it, should you want to talk more… all best, eva

  7. Davide says:

    Hello everyone. I won’t get Into this debate. I’ll be going to Haiti for 10 days next month and I will bring with me medical supplies and other Items to donate . Rose-Mina was going to be my first choice then I ran Into this blog and …… I’m confused here If not this orphanage can anyone point me to the right direction ? All I care about Is the children and helping them. Please guide me to Orphanages that only care about the wellness of the kids and that really are In need.
    Thank You

    • wdperkins says:

      Davide, I wish you well in Haiti and I am sure you will find your way to needy people with God’s help. Thank you for your willingness to serve. The kids at Rose-Mina are wonderful and very needy. If you visit there I would welcome your report when you return. As Haiti can be a very dangerous place for visitors, hopefully you are going with an organized group. In addition to security, there are serious food, water and sanitation concerns. One person who is very well thought of and has founded multiple orphanages is Dr. Jacob Bernard. http://hfchaiti.org/abouthfc.html I am sure someone there can give you all the information you require. He also runs an excellent missionary quarters called Bethel House http://www.bethelguesthouse.org/
      Bill Perkins

      • Davide Scarsini says:

        Hello Bill,
        Our Haiti trip went really well. I went with my wife , her Mother and our little boy. My wife’s originally from Port Au Prince and knew exactly what to do and where to go to keep us safe and frankly I must say not for a second I felt that we were In danger In anyway although we went to some pretty scary looking neighborhoods.( Maybe because I’ve got that Italian look of someone you don’t really want to mess with or the fact I was pretty much taller ,bigger than anyone and have tattoos 🙂 who knows ) I must say I expected to see much worse than I did , maybe because I’ve seen worse conditions In my trips to Africa. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the large amount of construction going on In and all around Port Au prince and the large presence of UN who by the way Haitians can’t stand as they’re still trying to figure out what exactly It Is that they’re doing there other than live In very fancy villas and going to very expensive Restaurants ( 35 US $ for a Med pizza In Petonville!! really ? ) anyway that’s just the word around about the UN from the everyday simple people In Haiti ( Not the pizza ….I experienced that for real ! ). Now let’s get to the real reason why I went there : The Children. Our first visit was at the Rosamina’s. You were absolutely right the children were wonderful from the moment we walked In. We brought suitcases of toys, medicine, toiletry , diapers , batteries, flashlites, and all they really wanted was for me to pick them up and carry them around. It was amazing and a feeling that as you know you cannot buy. I let them play with my straight hair and hair on my chest 🙂 guess they don’t see that very much there and my tattoos were also a big hit with them. We went there various time bringing supplies and food. My wife and her mom are both RN’S here In the states so while I was entertaining they were checking the kids. Some as you mentioned had parasites problems and others had some Infections. We had Madame Rowland call a DR to come over to prescribe the medicines we couldn’t buy over the counter. Then the hard part came…… a whole day trying to find all the prescriptions. We must have gone to 30 Pharmacies and after all that time and several 100’s of US $ we were still missing some. It was very, very frustrating but we had the main ones we needed especially for the bad Infections.
        It was HOT temps were well above 110/115 with that sun beating down In that courtyard but the children were playing and looked happy. About the Orphanage: I won’t be Judge or Jury , all I know Is what I saw with my own eyes. Yes conditions are not the best but I kept In mind we were In a third world country who’s still recovering from the worst disaster In their history. I thought about Rosemina’s when we took a trip North outside Port Au Prince and I saw 3-4 year old children playing unattended on streets or puddles of water ( That looked like sewer ) and asked myself If that was better than being at Rosemina’s …answer was no. I don’t know If there are secondary reasons with Rowland’s Orphanage but I know that at least those kids won’t get kidnapped or used for organs trafficking or even slavery (Yes that still goes on In Haiti) . I have 3 children and I know what they cost me and how hard It Is to raise them to be good human beings , I can’t even Imagine looking after 77 of them. As I said I won’t judge anyone but no matter what the reasons there Is “some good” being done there. We also went to Madre Teresa Hospital for children and boy what a difference. They have the funds there to run an amazing facility. You could’ve had dinner on the floor It was so clean. Amazing place and defenetly lots of good being done by the Nuns there. Still heartbreaking seeing so many malnourished and sick children.
        I really left my heart In Haiti and will go back In a few months again. My wife and I have actually been contemplating the Idea of doing something with the house her Dad left her when he passed away. Stands on an acre and a half and It’s huge. 8 bedrooms 4 living rooms 5 bathrooms 2 kitchens and maid quarters. It’s been empty for 10 years and only the maids stayed to live and watch over It. The only thing that fell with earthquake was the wall surrounding It. I was even thinking of turning It into an orphanage or an help center but there’s lots of work to be done and just trying to create a non-profit organization seems so hard from here and the funds to raise will take some time but eventually that’s what we want to do and of course I wouldn’t do it for profit 🙂 I would want to get paid exactly 0 $ x year not like some other Big Charities 🙂 Wish I could attach pictures of my trip but won’t let me.
        All The Best

      • wdperkins says:

        Davide, it is great that you and your family went to Haiti and got to experience the place and offer help to those in need! Thank you for the great report. Nice to see that there is finally some construction going on!

        With full lives back home, it is easy to get preoccupied with other things, kids, work, other charitable work. But when I hear you speak of the place, it makes me want to go back now! (I am planning a trip next year with my son and daughter.) I can remember the overwhelming desire to help, to commit a great deal of time there; then the frustrating feeling of helplessness when I gained the knowledge of the tremendous challenges and the bureaucratic and cultural difficulties.

        If you read my posts, I acknowledged that Rose-Mina was better than living in slavery or on the street. The relationship started well, but then things did not add up as despite aid, nothing seemed to change much. My real problem with Mrs. Fernandes was that when we had much better places for many of the kids, she refused to let them go. Also, I had many reports that she was not a good steward of the money entrusted to her. I offered to help re-organize the place, with the only pre-condition that they downsize and she refused.

        Did you see Baselais, the young man with one leg? I was impressed by him and Antonio. My heart really went out to Jonathan, the blind kid…

        Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I still have good contacts there and periodically send them to check on some of the kids.

      • Davide says:

        Thanks for the response Bill yest they’re still all there and you’re right about Baselais !!
        I’m not one to give up easy and although I do have my own Issues here I will not let go of my Idea and hopefully God will see and provide. I wanted to ask you as you know more than me about this subjet : can you send me a list of Orphaneges and/or children help centers or Hospitals that really need help as much as Rosemina’s and are trusthworthy ? You can e-mail at Davide67@comcast.net so I can send you some pics of my trip too that I’m sure you would like.

    • Eva says:

      Hello, i suggest you go there and judge for yourself. But have you contacted them first to see what they really need, cause it may well be that they have capacity to absorb/manage. However, i just received some money from the Slovenian foreign ministry,.about 7000 us, to pay for the restoration of the “health” center up in Diegue and to get a couple of nurses salaried. But i will only be going there in October, we could use the medical stuff.
      best, eva

  8. LThibodeau says:

    I just returned from a medical mission trip to Haiti (again as mentioned earlier in this blog) with Boston College School of Nursing students, alum, and faculty. My heart is aching for the children at Rose Mina. I have hours of video footage from the visit. I want to help these children directly with funds and SHOES but I don’t know how, I don’t know what to trust, or what to believe. There is a teenage boy there with one leg (not sure if he’s the one who was given a prosthetic leg but he did not have one last week) – he had no shoe on his only foot. I want to send him shoes. What can I do?

    • wdperkins says:

      Thanks for your service to some very needy people!
      You must mean Baselais who is shown in the linked photo with me in 2010. I have a thought and will contact you directly.

      It would be great if you or someone else from your group wanted to share a guest post of your trip on my blog. You can upload videos and photos as well. Let me know if you have interest in this.

  9. kevin says:


    I would like to be a volunteer and work with children in Caribbean.
    Do you know any orphanages ?

    That would be wonderful.

    Thank you very much,


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