Haitian students thankful for week in Rising Sun


Rain and temperatures may have spoiled the 2015 Thanksgiving for Yvory Menard and Trevor Telfort.


The two freshmen from Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Ky. spent the holiday break at the home of Eldon and Charlene Fancher in Rising Sun.

The two graduates of Sonlight Academy in Port-de-Paix, Haiti arrived on Saturday, November 21st and left Sunday, November 29th.

In between they had a week of a variety of events. They attended services at the Rising Sun Church of Christ which sponsors dozens of students in Haiti. They took part in the church’s annual thanksgiving dinner.

The challenge was not for them but for Charlene, who had to try to meet the Haitian cuisine needs. Fortunately she’s been to Haiti several times and hosted another Haitian several years ago.

The two didn’t want the traditional turkey and dressing, so there was plenty of spicy spaghetti for them. Regardless of what they did during the week, they always said thank you.

It was a break from the typical dorm food offered at college. They enjoyed a couple of trips to Subway as they were able to put their own sandwich together topped off by hot sauce and barbecue sauce.

The Sonlight Academy graduates have learned to appreciate what they are given. So they were more than happy to help those in need locally. They joined members from area churches in making 100 food bags distributed at the Christian Free Store on Monday. They enjoyed breaking down boxes and assisting residents with taking their turkeys to their cars.

Bobbie Hastings took them to visit Laurie Stegemiller’s third grade class at the Ohio County Elementary Middle School. Students had plenty of questions and the boys taught them some Creole (native language of Haiti). Stegemiller visited Haiti in 2011 when the girl she sponsored graduated. Nephtarie Loriston is now serving in the U.S. Army reserves. Hastings has made several trips and sponsored graduates also.

The two were members of the Port-de-Paix city basketball championship team. So getting to watch Rising Sun boys open the season with wins over South Dearborn and South Ripley were an added treat.

Yvory ( pronounced E-vor-E), a burly front line player, really got into the action. He joined in Rising Sun cheers and made his share of traveling calls (agreeing with the officials). The unusual part was he was objective in his time as a spectator… cheering for good plays by both teams.

On Thanksgiving Day they had a chance to shoot some hoops outdoors at the home Scott and Karen Lovern. Trevor was able to meet Linus Fancher, his sponsor through school and Charlene’s son.

Overall the boys enjoyed greeting everyone with a handshake and hug.

Trevor would have liked to try some snow skiing but had to settle for a trip to see Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg. Unfortunately, he could only see patches of the homemade snow because of the unseasonably warm and rainy weather.

The two and a half hour trip back to KCU was smoother than the Haitian roads which could have taken six or more hours for the same distance, depending on the amount of rain.

The hardest adjustment will come when temperatures drop and the snow falls. Hopefully that will wait until after Yvory heads to Florida to visit relatives on Christmas break.

– Tim Hillman