This is my first journal message, from Haiti, though we don't leave home till tomorrow.
My heart left early.
Even though this week was filled with last minute changes and fixes, getting meds, taking malaria preventative, and hoping pledges come in to pay my visa, part of these plans made it necessary for me to make calls to Haiti, and to some friends from Haiti who are leaders in the people's struggle there. What a great experience.
One of our donated laptops will go to a Haitian human rights activist, René Civil, who was held as a political prisoner, until an international call was made for his release. We forget sometimes how valuable a short note, or email can be in a small country like Haiti. Your efforts helped free him from a prison that I visited on an earlier Children's Hope trip. Conditions are hard to describe. Young boys were housed in cells so small they have to sleep on the bare floor in shifts. A single bucket emptied once daily serves to cart out waste, food comes in from family members as they can afford it. Beriberi is rampant now in the prisons. When I spoke to the prisoners, about half had not had a trial, nor seen a judge. One young boy shared his fear that his family did not even know where he was. What did they ask of me? Solidarity. Solidarity and a piece of paper, so they could send notes to parents and family.
Solidarity is underrated, and much easier than it may seem. But with your help, miracles are happening. Helped by international pressure, Father Jean Juste was also released from prison, charges dropped, and will be at St. Claires Church to receive the 27 boxes (worth more than $20,000) that were donated to Children's Hope, shipped free of charge. Children's Hope will be there to ensure the distribution. We will visit mid-wives and clinics, schools and union halls...finding ways to deliver solidarity in ways that they people decide they can use.
Last year, I was in Haiti longer than expected because a tropical hurricane held me up at the airport. This year, we don't expect a hurricane, but have felt an out-pouring of care and concern from all of you. Thank you for caring about Haiti, a devastated country that used to be the wealthiest colony in the world. The spirit of the Haitian people is not weak, it is strong...her children are her future, and you - part of her hope.
If you made a pledge, please send a check to the address below, if you have not pledged, you still can, by replying to this email. Any dollar amount helps. We may have a chance to write to you from Haiti with updates. It is hard sometimes to find electricity, but we will try.
Always in Solidarity and gratitude,
P.S. Please take a minute to see last trip's photos at our Children's Hope website (http://2childrenshope.org/)