IMG_0275It is hard to imagine the devastation happening this very moment in Haiti.  I visited in 2009 and it was my first experience with true poverty.  I knew that Haiti was the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, but only after seeing the country with my own eyes did I understand what that really means.  Electricity and running water are luxuries.  Shelters are constructed with whatever materials can be found, leaving their fragile structures vulnerable to storms and hurricanes, not to mention earthquakes.  Children who enter orphanages feel blessed to receive 2 meals per day.  There is no established medical or emergency response system because there are no resources.  Even in good times, rolling blackouts made hospital surgeries impossible, unless the patient or family could pay for the generator to supply electric power to the lights and instruments.  Now there will likely be no electricity to hospitals or clinics.

I had the privilege of working with a Haitian doctor during my trip.  I asked her what she thought of Americans.  Her response- "Americans give."  It is true- the number one source of income for the country of Haiti is American aid.  Most comes through private donations.  Now more than ever, Haiti needs our help.  Please donate to a relief organization that is rushing to help the people who are victims of this disaster.  Here are a few ways to help:

  • Text “HAITI” to “90999″ and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross.  The charge will go on your phone bill.
  • Donate to any relief organization- most are mobilizing their efforts toward Haiti right now.  A few suggestions:
    • ESMI- the organization I worked with when I visited- they are small but care for more than 2000 of Haiti's orphans-
    • Samaritan's Purse does an excellent job with relief efforts-
    • MAP International is an outstanding medical relief organization-

I learned in Haiti that even gifts that seem small to us go a long way.  American dollars have great power- please use what you have to make a difference.

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