Friday, November 5, 2010

Helping Haiti...

This past weekend, I worked at Laity Lodge for a Business Leader’s Retreat. 

There were 4 Haitians at the retreat – a female travel agent, a man who imports rice and other food items, a man who has a pharmaceutical manufacturing business, an entrepreneur who has a car business and is the President of the Haitian board of FOOD FOR THE POOR, Inc.  Besides informal conversations, there was a time when the men shared with retreatants what is happening in their country now and what had happened to them at the time of the earthquake.  Each of their immediate families and homes survived but all of them had many other family members and friends who were seriously affected through both loss of life and loss of homes and livelihood. 

One of the best stories is that the man who owns the rice importing business has a large warehouse and it was full of food when the earthquake struck.  He feared that the warehouse would be overtaken by looters so decided to empty the warehouse as quickly as possible.  His friend with FOOD FOR THE POOR was able to buy all of the stock and pay him market value.  It was a win/win – food provided and business saved. 

I learned that FOOD FOR THE POOR is the only NGO (Non Governmental Organization) which has a Haitian board which is involved in decisions being made in Haiti for what is needed now that the country is in the rebuilding/reconstruction phase of work following the earthquake.  All other NGO’s have boards in their home countries and decisions are made by outsiders about what is needed and what should be provided to Haiti.  The men at LL reported that this creates quite a problem.  Examples are of large shiploads of cars being sent to the country – cars for a country whose roads are nearly all destroyed.  Boatloads of pharmaceuticals take away the business which Haitians need, want and can provide. 

But the fact that there is a Haitian board for FOOD FOR THE POOR, this NGO is able to respond in ways that really help and meet needs identified by Haitians.  Because of the cholera problem, clean water is their greatest need.  They have found a company in North Carolina which manufactures a small version of a water purification system which can be used in villages where clean water is so badly needed.  Each system uses river water of which there is plenty in Haiti.  They already have a number of these units installed in Haiti.  In every place where people were getting water from one of these units, there have been no cholera cases so far.  But the country needs many more of these to cover all needs.  And Hurricane Tomas is sure to be making this need even greater than it was a week ago when I was hearing these reports from Haitians at Laity Lodge.  These Haitians did not come to Laity Lodge to ask for help. The following information was provided by Jack Willome, a friend of theirs and of Laity Lodge.
If this is a need to which you would like to respond, you can do so either way as follows:
Mail to: Food For The Poor, Inc.
           Attn:  Robin Mahfood – Haiti Water Missions 
           6401 Lyons Road
           Coconut Creek, FL 33073
Website: Food For The Poor, Inc
               Select: Donate Now
               Put in Comment Field:  Haiti Water Missions

I cannot think of a bigger need in the world right now than Haiti.  Their needs are so great but the Haitians at Laity Lodge were optimistic.  They feel it’s a wake-up call for their country and an opportunity for them to get things rebuilt with greater integrity than has been the situation in the past.  I feel it’s safe to trust those who shared about the work being done there through FOOD FOR THE POOR

The Haitians at LL have all experienced much hardship in Haiti but have chosen to stay there to try to make a difference in their country.  Their stories of kidnappings are gut wrenching.  The wife of the man who is the FFTP board president was kidnapped and held for 8-10 days a few years ago.  She was released unharmed physically when a ransom was paid. 

Prayer is vital but our gifts will also make a difference.  I'm just making this avenue for donations known if there is an interest in responding for the sake of Haitians suffering the ravages of the weather.

1 comment:

Food For The Poor said...


Thank you so much for promoting Food For The Poor and our work in Haiti on your blog. As the recent cholera outbreak and the scare from Tropical Storm Tomas show, Haiti is still in desperate need of support, so we really appreciate you helping us get the word out.
Have a great day!
FFP Web specialist