Paul and I will soon be heading off for another trip to Haiti. As our massive worn-out duffle bags stare hungrily at me from the hall I am jolted from my resolve to make every minute “productive” – finish off twelve lesson plans, pick up malaria meds, do laundry, buy a dozen pair of leather school shoes and download my camera with one hand and, while standing on one foot, stuff every inch of those hungry duffles with only the most valuable supplies bound for Haiti in a few days.
I am jolted from this balancing act by the realization that it was three years ago this week that the earthquake hit Haiti (and indirectly all of us who love Haiti) right between the eyes. So, I’m taking a moment to remember those nearly 300,000 dead and more dying every day, even today, from the cholera brought in by UN troops (seven thousand – last count).
I saw pictures today on the news.
Haiti looks like it did when we were there six months ago. In fact, it looks like it did two dozen trips and nine years ago when I first started doing human rights work in Haiti. Large NGOs have largely failed. They didn’t know where to find the experts on Haiti (you know – Haitians). They bypassed local, grassroots Haitian lead organizations who really were the experts (not to mention the Haitian government). They mostly managed to make a bigger mess. For example, Jonathan Katz wrote (2012), “The U.S. military reported distributing 2.6 million bottles of water, including at least 120,000 gallons of Deluxe Fiji water from “the remote valley of Viti Levu,” bottled eight thousand miles away. You can still find the containers in the great plastic dams of debris in the capital blocking canals when it rains.”
We don’t bring plastic bottles to Haiti. We (Children’s Hope) don’t support large NGOs or solicit from them. We go where those big folks won’t. We go to Shada and Cite Soleil, to the poorest of the poor who live in places that the big NGOs think are too dangerous to serve – or to listen to. We go… we went before the quake. We will continue to go, even when life and lesson plans try to get in the way. If you are able, please help us make this trip count. Send a bit to help us buy medical supplies for the best little free clinic we've ever seen (The Lamp), to buy food and school shoes for our favorite orphanage (MABE, pictured at the top), to help us rebuild the basketball court in Cite Soleil, and for so many other worthy (but as yet, unfunded) projects we have in mind. No contribution is too small, nor (of course) too large. Send whatever you can, and/or forward this appeal to a friend who might. You can donate online (just click on the donate button on the top left of this page) or or send a check to us here:
3025A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682
Leisa & Paul
P.S. This summer we will be taking a group of students to Haiti. You may want to consider joining our team in July. We'd love to have you come with us and see first-hand what your support means to our sisters and brothers in Haiti.