On December 5th, I ran in my first 50k trail race: The McDowell Mountain Frenzy in Arizona. My motivation for those 31 miles? Those that are in need in Haiti. Each mile I ran I raised money needed by children for Saturday School, medical help, training matrons and providing birth kits.
I feel cynical in my emotional unrest. I do not know what it’s like to truly suffer. My idea of suffering is a mockery to those I love so very much in Haiti. They know suffering. I Woke this morning to desperate iMessage’s from a dear young man, the son to our Saturday school director..
“I don’t know how to tell you but we have a lot of problem. My uncle that I taught you my father accompanied to the hospital is dead. It’s too hard for use (I think he meant us). He was fist born of his family and after coming back to the Dominican republic he was eflated in all part of his body, but he dies yesterday in the afternoon. Right now we don’t have nothing, you know all the country is in real trouble. Please help, my father really needs you to help him too. One the other hand, don’t know how we do (I believe he is saying with out my help there is no one else).”
What do I do with this information? If I send money in, it’s not safe for my director to go and get it. I just learned that the transfer places are out of money and the banks are closed due to looting and rioting.
Again, I have the luxury to allow this to bother me. Every Friday I have the privilege of caring for my, soon to be 13-year-old grandson. My grandson has type one diabetes. This past Friday he was out of insulin and we needed to make a quick trip to his home to get some so he could refill his pump (insulin requiring refrigeration, requiring electricity- a privilege). How fortunate that he was born in the US, having to deal with this horrible disease. I contrast the life he would have lived had he been born in Haiti. Chances are he would not be alive today. All the news of late formats my thoughts that everything we take for granted here is filtered through my mental grid of the vast inequality of life.
It is a privilege to give. It is a privilege to hurt and physically ache when you know your life is so damn easy in comparison.
Aid in Haiti (Aid in Action) is not a full-time boot on the ground non-profit. I do not live in Haiti full time. I so admire those that do! I am here trying to raise awareness about and money to help those there. I have full time people working in Haiti, I would like nothing more right now than to be there, but I would only be a drain on the already limited resources. So here I set with my emotional struggle requesting of you to help, help me help them.
President Aid in Action
I am always tempted to start out with a bunch of statistics. Numbers speak, and they represent numbers of…
Families without latrines.
Children not in school.
Individuals with no health care.
Individuals, including children, that have only one meal a day.
Chances are you know the numbers or have a good idea. I want to share numbers because they shock, they lend to comparison, comparing what life is like here and what life is like there. If I do that, I might touch a sensitive place in you, a compassionate place, and you too will care. You might give a donation so that those numbers, those statistics can change and others can live closer to the comforts you and I enjoy: employment, a working bathroom, our children in school learning, healthcare, more than one meal a day. If these numbers change we all might feel the world looks a little more just.
In January with the help of 15 young men, myself and one of my friends traversed the community of City of Repatriates taking a random community survey. Gathering numbers to help us better serve and meet concrete needs. We learned from the community Voodoo Priest (he is the local number keeper), that according to the last census there are over 28,000 people living in approximately 296 acres. Some of the numbers from our survey show that only 20% have a latrine. Gather your own mental idea where the rest of the community ‘goes’. The average number of people living in these one room homes are 6 and most have no accessible health care.
As we traversed and gathered numbers for this community survey we had wonderful engaging conversations. We were welcomed at every home and chairs appeared from nowhere for us to sit on. We were told many times that Aid in Action is the only non-profit still working in the area. NGO’s (Non Government Organizations) come and go, we want to be the one that stays. We learned they need just about everything… potable water, trade schools, jobs, medical care, latrines, etc.
Our dream has always been to establish a birth/maternity center in the City of Repatriates. This center would provide some of the health care needed, some employment and a place to discuss how to change the water and latrine issues. We have had our eye on a piece of property and we have the cost for potentially building. However, during our last trip in January we learned of a small hospital in a neighboring community that is virtually empty. Not because there is no need, but because there is no staff, and no way of paying the staff. Rooms empty! We spoke with the hospital administrator, took a tour and learned as much as we could. We have continued to be in contact with those in charge. This is HUGE!!!!! What a savings, not having to build or buy land. We will continue to pursue this dream with time, working in the community and through donations.
But today…Local friends, spent a couple hours putting together 200 clean birth kits that I can take to the midwives in Haiti. These are a bit heavy and fill two suitcases.
A Northern Colorado elementary school did a fundraiser and the children collected over $400 to buy shoes. This was raised so more children can have what these students have here in Colorado, a school to go to everyday. In Haiti shoes equal education because the belief is that a child must wear shoes to attend school -
"During the spring of 2016 the children of Twombly Elementary School in Fort Lupton raised $420 to help buy shoes for children in Haiti. Many of the students of Twombly know about need. The school is comprised of 80% free and reduced lunch and 50% English Language Learners. They raised the money by putting their change and dollar bills into jars in the front office. As you can imagine, quarters and dollars are dear to any child. So, it is touching that they donated them to children in such dire need.
Their donation doesn't just enable Haitian children to walk the broken streets of The City of Repatriates without having to navigate broken concrete and glass barefoot: It also enables them to go to school. Traditional beliefs in Haiti dictate that children must have shoes to attend school. However, many children cannot afford shoes and therefore do not go to school.
Shoes equal feet without cuts and sores in Haiti.
Shoes equal education in Haiti.
Thank you to the students of Twombly!" -
There are some practical ways you can help us help Haiti today and begin to change the numbers:
*Sponsor a suitcase: Each additional suitcase will cost $100 to check on the airplane. I will have three.
*Sponsor the cost of teaching materials for the midwives in Haiti: $380.00 will buy pinars, thermometers, slings and scales for weight.
*Sponsor the school: $400 will buy paint for and supplies to repair the school.
*Sponsor children’s Activities: $100 will go a long way to help.
*Sponsor our work in Haiti with monthly pledges.
*Come with us to Haiti and be part of a work team. Please help us to change the numbers in Haiti, because each number represents an individual that wants a life with basic dignity.