Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hope for Haiti

This morning I was watching the news and, of course, they had more footage of the devastation in Haiti. I told Secret Agent Man that I wish I knew where to send money that would provide resources and/or supplies for Haiti, that would actually get the money and/or supplies where they are needed, and not just line someone's pockets or buy supplies that would sit and rot in a warehouse somewhere, like what happened in Africa some years back.

At work, taking phone calls from stupid, petty people about stupid petty problems (" neighbor threw a beer bottle in my backyard..." Really? Get over it.) I glanced at the TV and saw more footage with "journalists" wandering around talking to people...and a few, it almost seems, are excited by the "big story" they are covering. Most however look sick and helpless and I can imagine frustrated because, I'm sure, most of them want to do more than "report". I'm sure, if they are decent human beings, they want to actually help people and are unable to because there are few if no options.

Again, I stated to a co-worker, I wished that I knew who to send money to in order to help, somehow, even it it's to provide clean water, or towels, or bandages, or
Tonight, more news.

Then I decided I needed a break (from news, from work, from all the little negative bits of life) and I logged on and was reading through some of the blogs that usually make me laugh. Some of them did, as expected. And then.

And then I went here: Words of Wisdom from a Smart Mouth Broad.
And she had posted about the son of a friend of theirs who is a Program Director for Hope for Haiti. He sent out an email. He wrote:

The first 24 hours in Cayes after the quake were unbearably calm. A
cloud of fear, sadness, and loss hung over the city like dust hung
over Port-au-Prince. Thanks to local radio and TV, people knew of the
damage. They knew the worst, and they all just waited -- anxious, but
calm -- holding out hope that their loved ones in PAP were alright.
During the second 24 hours -- 48 hours after the quake -- the city
began to pick up notably. Streets, stores, house fronts, and gas
stations were panicky and hectic. It seemed downright chaotic compared
to Tuesday’s heartbreaking calm. Compared to the capital, the disorder
in Cayes is nothing. But there are fears that this might change in the
next few days.

Gas is running out. Food stores are closing. Banks have yet to reopen.
And starting today, bus loads of survivors seeking refuge from the
chaos in PAP are pouring into Cayes. People with sacks and baskets
of belongings leave the bus yard, walking slowly from oblivion into

As of today, there are 109 people who were wounded in Port-au-Prince
seeking care at Cayes' General Hospital. That means they traveled over
4 hours by bus, bloody and traumatized, to a place where health care is already
hard to come by. Because the hospital is sorely understaffed to begin
with and because many doctors went to PAP to help, there was one lone,
retired hero of a medic doing amputations on gangrenous limbs
yesterday. All day long.

The organization I work for, Hope for Haiti, has a large reserve of
dried food and hygiene kits in Cayes that can be used in the
refugee-style camp that is being constructed this afternoon for the
wounded. The UN's goal is to prepare a tented area and temporary
housing in local schools and public buildings to accommodate about
1,500 people. The injured along with their family, friends, and
caretakers will go to tents on the town soccer field, while others who
are unharmed physically but have nowhere to turn will go elsewhere. We
are working on setting up a canteen to prepare meals for them, and
seeking medical supplies and personnel to help out. Transportation is
a problem, as the domestic airport system is not fully operational.
My goal over the next few days is to do what I can to help coordinate
this effort...

On a more human level, people here may be safe, but they are still
devastated. Almost everyone knows someone who's died. And the spirit
of positivity that so many Haitians exude and which I have grown to
respect and love is severely dampened.
"Ayiti krase" -- Haiti is crushed.
"Kè mwen sere" -- My heart is squeezed tight.
"Anpil moun mouri" -- So many people dead.
There are just a few of the phrases captured in my memory and burned
into my heart from friends in the area...

My organization has mobilized an enormous, impressive response in
Port-au-Prince. We have an emergency clinic set up in a hotel in
Petionville, and as of last night had about 150 people being treated
in the parking lot. Today, 2 planes filled with doctors, nurses, and
medications were supposed to arrive in PAP and rendez-vous with the
make-shift trauma center. I still don't have word as to how that went.
Funds are still coming in, as are medications and supplies. Donations
are still critically important, as this disaster is going to require
an incredibly intense recovery that will persist long after the
current media buzz dies down.

So tell people to mobilize. Tell them to spread the word. Tell them to
give whatever they can of themselves if the face of such cataclysmic,
arbitrary, and ultimately unpreventable injustice. Tell them to say a
prayer. And then to pass it on. Awareness and advocacy are forceful
tools. And moving mountains is the feat ahead.

Thank you to everyone concerned, airing this story, reading, or
listening. The Haitian people need and deserve every ounce of empathy
and support you can muster.

In gratitude and solidarity,

He also states that 97% of the donations go to programs in Haiti. 97%! That's amazing.
I think this is fantastic
So go read the full posting - here. And then go here - Hope for Haiti.
Give a little.
It won't hurt.
I promise.


  1. caught that on SMBs page...i have a friend who works at an orphanage in haiti...hearing her stories breaks my heart.

  2. Very sad situation. I think that we all need to remember that it could and probably will happen again, and we never know where. So for us to look at it as a far away problem, we need to remember that it could happen here tomorrow.

  3. Bless you for taking the time to draw more attention to the Haitians needs at this time.
    I felt the same as you about getting the needs of the people met with dollars that I could send. So we poked around a lot and went with a Baptist group that already has feet on the ground there and also a Church of Christ Disaster Team. Additionally is a larger organization, IDES (International Disaster Emergency Service) which has been reviewed by Charity Navigator and rated 4 star---meaning effective. I exchanged emails with all three of those organizations and felt confident with them-----and educated more too in that IDES has more than enough $$$$ at the moment for supplies and have supplies boxed and ready to go but were awaiting for the logistics of transportation to clear up. They did great work during the Southeast Asia Tsunami recovery a few years back and are experienced.
    But, I name only three of many other qualified charities that are ready to help. Do beware of those low efficiency groups that us up most of the dollars on administration----and those even worse who are shady. You are a nice lady I think. Well, No, I know that you are!!


Grab a cup of coffee and sit down.
Stay a while.
Share a thought or two...