Mission Statement

Stone By Stone- building a road following God's chosen path.  Together with our brothers and sisters of Haiti, we strive to serve the cooperative of HASWEP through Listening, Educating, Supporting, Praying, Working, Advancing.

LESPWA means HOPE in Creole. 
We are full of hope for Haiti.





Desab, Haiti

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The Roof, The Rain, The Repairs

When Julie and I went to Haiti last May, we got to experience their rainy season.  I love rain.  I love thunder storms.  I love some good lightening.  Our week in Haiti during the rainy season was amazing.  It rained almost every night…hard.  So hard you didn’t really even hear individual drops on the clinic roof.  It sounded more like someone was pouring an enormous bucket of water on Desab and the clinic was in the middle of it.  At home, I sleep right through almost all storms.  Not these ones.  It was great!

We quickly learned, though, that rain incapacitated the clinic.  There were some major shortcomings in the room over one of the exam rooms and water just flowed in while it rained, rendering that room completely unusable. 

And the roof over the intake area had enough holes in it that the intake floor turned into a wading pool when it rained.  As soon as it was done raining, Jeanty (trusty and hardworking health care agent) would get right to work with a broom and sweep all of the water from the intake area out the side door, or from the exam room out the back door.  Whoever else was present would pitch in with a mop and bucket.  And the floor would be dry again in no time.  Then it would rain again. It was glaringly obvious this was a major issue. 

I am very happy to report that, last month, we were able to pay to have the clinic roof repaired!  I was chatting online with Fenel, our clinic administrator, the other night.  I asked him if the roof repairs have helped, since it is once again the rainy season.  His response was, “Oh my God, a lot.” 

We are so happy to see this major improvement for the clinic.  It is our hope that this helps to show the people that we are in this for the long haul and that we want to see and be a part of continued progress for Fanmi Lasante and the community.  It is also our desire that you will want to be a part of this progress with us.  There are many different ways that this can happen.  If this is something that you are interested in, please contact us.  We would love to hear from you!

Nicole Pitzer


The Beginning

All things in their own time.

Be patient, allow, protect, and enable without controlling.

Love unconditionally.


In 1987, at age 17, I made my first trip to Haiti, my first trip to Desab. At the time, I had no idea the impact those 3 weeks would have on the rest of my life. All I knew was that I had to go. A feeling overwhelmed me, vibrating out of all my cells. I recognize that feeling now as the Universe directing me down my path. I know now what it means when God talks to you and sends you on your way. That was the first time I remember listening to those cues. I was to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, not an OB/GYN, and create Art in my spare time, not as work. I would return to this place, and help all of the little girls who danced around me, and played with my hair be good, healthy Mothers and Women. But in the miraculous ways of this amazing world, the true meaning and purpose of those trips to Desab long ago took over 20 years to materialize and bring me and the Women of the HASWEP Cooperative full circle. I did not know at the time that I also had to become a Mother myself. And I needed to really understand what it means to be a Woman in this world, and the role poverty plays in Women’s Rights/Equality. The girls of the cooperative apparently also needed time to become educated, strong, smart, and independent Women.

On January 12, 2010, the massive earthquake struck Haiti. This quake sent shock waves through all of us around the world and opened up a collective consciousness of empathy, reminding us all of our great capacity to love one another without a thought of who that person is. Like so many others, whether they had been to Haiti before or not, I wanted to help. I knew I had to help. I knew that I could, and that I would return to Desab. But I still had no idea what I would do, other than help Women and Children. I began a slogan in my head, “Slings for Haiti”. This notion that I had to help keep Mother and Child Units together, when so many families were being torn apart. I collected items of daily living needed by Mother/Baby couplets and contacted Sister Eunice Tassone of The Haiti Plunge (the organization I went with 3 times before) and Carrie Murphy NP, MSN, the head of the newly formed medical team. Carrie and I started our Haiti Journey together all those years ago. And it was thrilling to return with her, both of us now Advanced Practice Nurses.

But, I almost did not make it. Upon meeting the team at JFK for our direct flight into Port-Au-Prince, there was no ticket for me at the counter. My seat somehow, forgotten? Eunice and I scrambled to the American Airlines ticket counter, hoping and praying there was a seat left, NOT in first class. Actually, there was only one seat left, and, well, it happened to be the one next to Eunice. So, when life leaves you out of something, you stop and think about whether you are meant to be left out, or if it is simply another redirection. Putting my fears of warned calamity aside, I chose to believe that Eunice and I were meant to sit next to each other for this three hour flight. Last seat on the plane…

My belief turned out to be truth, and The Woman’s Group began there in row 23 at 30,000 ft. As the dark blue depths of the Atlantic Ocean changed to the clear, aqua waters of the Caribbean, I told Eunice of all my plans to start a Women’s Health Care Project, Educate the Traditional Birth Attendants, and create a positive paradigm shift in the perception and utilization of health care within the cooperative. Eunice reminded me that the current structure would not suffice in such change. And I reminded Eunice that Women create the change in this world, and I believe in the Women of the Co-op. Eunice responded, “Then call the Women together Anna, and give them a voice.  After 20 plus years of our schools educating children and young adults, they are educated Women now.”

Eunice drifted off to sleep, and my mind spun with ideas of how I could accomplish this. How would I get permission from the all male HASWEP Council to approve such a group made of Women, let alone explain why I want to bring them together?

When I looked down at the translucent waters below me, I searched for sharks swimming around. Of course I see none, but they are there, right? “Stop looking for the sharks Anna”, I hear in my head. “ Just get the Women together to sew, that is the work of Women, right? The point, is to get them together”

I love that voice!

We spiraled down into Port au Prince, and as silence followed by tears and whaling erupted in the cabin, the pancaked concrete buildings below us appeared out of the haze. I instantly felt a binding love to every one around me, and below me. Especially with the people still in the flattened buildings.


Please join me as I blog about this amazing journey of the HASWEP Cooperative Women’s Group, and the birth of Stone by Stone. This is a real life story of inspiration and positive change. The perfect storm of Women coming together at the exact right time in their history.


Anna Pierpan CNM MSN



Failure is NOT an Option

It has been 7 weeks since we got home from our trip to Haiti.  About 6 weeks ago I wrote a blog post in my head.  It is finally making its way to my computer.  Life is crazy.  But we had a fantastic trip!  It was just myself, my husband Adam, and Paul.  It was small, but it was a success.  The three of us planned and executed a trip to a fifth world country on our own.  No one got injured.  We didn’t run out of food or money.  I only saw one tarantula, one scorpion, and one rat.  (Also a mark of a successful trip.)
The main objective of this trip was to meet with the HASWEP leaders, with the clinic staff and with the women’s group.  Our meeting with the HASWEP leaders was very informative.  HASWEP is a group that is legally recognized by the Haitian government.  It is comprised of young men and some women from each of the 9 villages in the co-op.  They meet monthly and twice a year have general business meetings.  They shared with us their frustrations about other American groups who have been involved in the community and in the clinic.  It was evident that these men have a deep love for their community.  They told us that they are young and have the time and want to work for the future.  They do not want to see their community move backwards.  They told us that they do not have financial resources, but they will give their time and will support our work in the clinic.  As this meeting came to a close and we all headed to lunch together, I found myself feeling empowered by their vision and their strength.  It was kind of odd because I thought it would be the other way around.  
Our meeting with the clinic staff was eye opening.  I went into this meeting with an agenda of items I wanted to discuss.  The staff was about 10 steps ahead of me.  Or someone read my notebook that morning.  But I kind of doubt that.  The staff shared their concerns with us, which included American groups depleting clinic supplies, and ensuring continuing education for the staff.  The clinic employs two healthcare agents.  One of them, Madame Mompointe, is the kind of woman that you simultaneously want to be your grandma and don’t want to mess with.  Her concern weighed the heaviest on us.  She shared her frustration that other American groups have come into the clinic and said what we are saying, and then they left.  How do they know we are going to do what we say we are going to do?  Which leads me to the title of this blog post…
Failure Is Not An Option!
There are several things that I brought home with me after this trip to Haiti (besides the horrible case of swimmer’s ear from swimming in the ocean).  
Poverty does not equal stupidity.  To listen to the community leaders and clinic staff speak and hear them articulate their goals and dreams for their community, their plans for the future of their region and of the clinic – it was amazing.  
The staff and leaders have a plan for the clinic.  They know their local resources, they know the plan to become a legally recognized medical clinic, they have huge goals for the clinic.  They just need us to support them.  We don’t need to run the clinic.  They can do that.  We don’t even really need to go and see patients in the clinic.  They can do that too.  Now we know what they need from us and we understand what our relationship needs to be.  
I feel honored to be a part of this project and this organization.  I feel honored to know the men and women in Haiti who work in the clinic.  
People frequently ask us how they can get involved and what we need.  Up to this point, we have usually responded with items that the clinic needs (vitamins, etc). But we are ready to get very practical.  We need regular financial supporters.  At our last board meeting, we made the decision that we are ready to start paying the clinic staff for one day a week on a regular basis.  This is a huge commitment.  And failure is not an option!  A donation of $25 a month could pay the salary of one of our healthcare agents.  We need people who are willing to make one-time donations as well.  A one-time donation could help with the fees involved in becoming a 501( c )3, or in building the septic system for the clinic bathroom.  (This should be of particular interest to anyone who wants to come on a trip with us in the future.  A septic tank means toilets!)  While our non-profit status is pending, the Vermont Haiti Project is our fiscal sponsor and you can make a tax-deductible donation to Stone by Stone through them with confidence that your money will be supporting our mission.  
Please check out the clinic staff pictures and bios.  They should be up soon, along with other website renovations.  Look through all of our pictures.  See if you can catch a glimpse of our vision.  If you have any questions, please contact us.  We would LOVE to talk to you about this!  And please consider an end of the year tax-deductible donation to Stone by Stone, or becoming a regular financial supporter in the New Year.  We are so grateful for all of the support we have received since we first started on this adventure!   And we are looking forward to continuing on this adventure.  We hope you will be a part of it with us. 


Behind the Scenes

Every succesful ministry out there would not be that way if not for the many "behind the scenes" players.  We wanted to introduce you to a few of those players who have been spending a tremendous amount of time making things for us to bring on our upcoming trip.

First meet Miss Benny & her daughter Kristen. 

They have been knitting these gorgeous blankets and caps over the last few months.  When Kristen first started the project she reached out to friends for donations of yarn.  All this beautiful yarn was donated by one friend.  What a blessing!  Although it still blows my mind, mothers in Haiti love to wrap up their newborns in blankets and caps.  Many times I have seen the babies with make shift caps on their little heads made out of a cheese cloth like material.  I can not wait to see these beautiful little knit caps that were made by two people who love their Lord and have a true heart for our mission.  THANK YOU to you both.  I know the moms in the villages will be thrilled to receive this gift.  Even better, Miss Benny, prayer warrior that she is, I am sure prayed over each little head that will wear one of these caps.  Love you both!

Also using her talents Barb Appleton, mom and mom in-law to Paul & Julie, has been spending hours in her sewing room making 75 plus sun dresses for the girls in the villages.  It started out as a way to use up some scrap fabric but quickly morphed into a labor of love.  Having used up her scraps we put the word out for fabric and the Miheli family and friends (Nicole's mom!) came in strong sending Barb a box full of fabric.  Each one she made seemed to be cuter than the last.  These dresses are not only beautiful but really practical for the climate and terrain of the villages.  It is not often that the girls get brand new clothes let alone beautifully hand-made brand new dresses.  Again, so excited to see the photos!!!  Thanks mom!


These are just a few of the people who support us.  On a regular basis, Elaine from church hands me a bag of needed items to take down.  Her sister showed up just this morning with a bag of onsies.  Several friends recently purchased Lia Sophia jewelry knowing the proceeds were going to Stone By Stone.  Luther Memorial Church gifted us 30 bags filled with school supplies for the children and regularly we are blessed by anonymous donations throught this site. 

THANK YOU to any and all of you who continue to stand behind this mission that is so important to all of us who serve.  Looking forward to seeing all that Gid has in store in the future. 


Haiti Redefines...

I recently came home from my second trip to Haiti.  I really love it there.  While two trips by no means make me an expert, I have been learning a lot about Haiti, about the region in which we are staying and working, about the people.  I’ve even been learning Haitian Creole.  One of the things I am learning is that Haiti redefines many things for me. 

Haiti redefines hot.  For me there are now two temperatures – hot and Haiti hot.  Haiti hot makes you sweat like you just did Zumba, and really all you did was walk up the hill to the outhouse.  Haiti hot made me love grape Propel water. 

Haiti redefines my silly fears.  At home, I have a ridiculous and inexplicable fear of mice.  However, I know they live in, or at least frequently visit, the clinic.  As do rats.  And lizards.  It is not a critter-proof fortress.  So when I saw a mouse in one of the rooms in the clinic I made myself stare at it in hopes of getting over this dumb fear.  And it was actually pretty cute.  Our last night in Haiti, a bat flew into the clinic.  I laid my head down on the table and pretended I didn’t see it.  Don’t get me started on bats.  I also saw a rat.  Somehow I still slept that night.  God is good. 

Haiti redefines my bucket list.  What I actually find myself doing is adding things to my bucket list, then crossing them off.  I constantly do things that I never thought I wanted to do or are outside of my comfort zone and I think, “This would make a good addition to my bucket list.”  This trip that included peeing outside of the clinic at 9:00pm when I wasn’t sure if the noise in the bushes had been a goat or a person.  Also add peeing outside at night and strategically avoiding tarantulas.  The biggest bucket list addition this trip was riding in the open bed of a pick-up truck out of the village of Brely.  Imagine a road so incredibly rocky and hilly that you thought multiple times you would be tossed right out of the back of the truck.  Holding onto the truck in an effort to stay seated on the wheel well was an entire upper body workout.  I had bruises to prove it.  But I got to check it off my bucket list!

Haiti redefines joy.  This trip I found immense joy in showering in my bathing suit, along with numerous giggling children, under a rain gutter in a pouring rain.  Watching those kids strip down to their underwear, squeeze about ½ cup of Herbal Essence shampoo into their hands and lather up with so much soap they looked white, all the while laughing and dancing under the pouring water…it was a kind of fun I had never thought of having.  And I honestly don’t think my hair has ever felt that clean. 

Haiti redefines me.  It redefines what I think about, what I talk about.  It redefines how I see myself.  It redefines my relationship with God.  I feel so blessed to be a part of what He is doing in Haiti and am honored to be a part of the mission of Stone by Stone.  And thankful to everyone for their support as we head down this new road.  Mesi zanmi!  (Thank you friends!)