Haiti Blog Update #5…finally
It has been very difficult for me to finish our report and re-visit our experiences in Haiti from January and February, to put together words and photographs showing what we did and what it was like. When people ask us how our trip was, the answer is elusive or short…it was bad, but we do what we can. I keep saying that Haiti was bad on a good day, but if you’ve never been to Haiti then it’s hard to understand. The devastation after the January 12th earthquake that measured 7.0 at 4:53 pm was so widespread and the needs so great that at first I was saying it was unbelievable…but it was reality and it affected millions of people. And it’s very important that we tell you what we did and how we used your generous contributions.
During our weeks in Haiti right after the earthquake, we accomplished many things overlapping and collaborating with other organizations and local communities, working with children and families, and doing whatever we could with the resources available. Zanmi Lakay received an amazing amount of help mostly in the form of useful funds that we gave out to assist so many people with immediate needs of food and supplies, for rebuilding, to restart business, for artisans to continue their work, to buy and order art in Jacmel and Croix de Bouquet, to sponsor Jacmel’s Silent Artist Procession, and to fund field trips, fetes, and activities for children.
We brought in 50 wind-up solar flashlight radios that you can plug a cell phone into thanks to Eton in Palo Alto. These were a huge hit especially with people in the camps, but everyone (doctors, artists, kids, journalists, co-workers) loved them and we could have used more. We delivered over 150 pounds of medical supplies to makeshift clinics, Hospitals in Cité Soleil and Jacmel, and to families. Dr. Max, who grew up with Guy, works at a hospital, clinic, and was out helping people on his own after the earthquake and we brought him a laptop, huge First-Aid suitcase, and supplies. For the children and families living at Lafanmi Selavi and the teens we sponsor living on and off the streets we gave out 50 Care Bags, some of the flashlights, clothing, daily needs, candles, medical supplies, and bought hundreds of pounds of food.
The facilitation of the food drops from G.O. Ministries via the volunteer pilots through the then run Canadian military secured Jacmel Airport was an amazing experience and feat and was the saving grace for ACFFC and their community. One day we received three calls for planeloads of food, and the airport staff was shocked when they found out we were storing and distributing it ourselves. That’s just how we roll! This connection was also how our 60 tents came into Haiti.
Seeing children busy and happy and creating was the most beautiful thing, and to see that they were able to experience moments of pure joy. They were very brave as photographers going out into their communities to work through their feelings and tell stories with a camera. It was great to see them receive attention when their friends and families viewed their photos in the slideshows. Some beautiful art was painted in the murals at ACFFC, and the children have continued to paint the inner and outer walls all while making hundreds of pieces of paper maché art. The young men of Trézo wrote songs about the earthquake, and have been in two music videos (both already on the blog).
All of this and more and much of it can be better understood visually through the photographs. Please take a look at the galleries below and feel free to contact us and share our news and give us feedback. Contributions are still needed, and we are committed to establishing a Community/Resource Center as a safe place to continue helping children.