Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Haiti?

At least once a week someone asks me why I love Haiti. Here is my answer.  

When we are born we don’t get to pick what country we will claim as our own.  I claim the United States as mine but many of the people I love live in Haiti and they didn’t get to choose where they were born either.  Yet, I am the lucky one and they are the unfortunate one.

The question why Haiti always makes me wonder why the United States.  But for 1866 miles and a different skin tone I would be claiming Haiti as mine.  I would have been born of Taino or Arawak Indian decent, my ancestors would have come from Africa.  My country would have been controlled for nearly 200 years by the Spaniards then 100 years by France. At one time my country was the wealthiest colony of France and its unparalleled beauty and forested landscape gave my country the name
“Pearl of the Antilles” 

My people would have lead the first and only successful slave rebellion and we would have gained our independence.  The years to follow would have been filled with political turmoil, economic instability, depletion of the natural resources and deforestation.  My country would have been paying France for 100 years for the loss of “their” resources because we fought and won our independence.  Countries like the United States would pay their farmers $1 million to grow rice and dump the surplus in Haiti causing my family not to be able to sell the rice we grew.

My people would be working for $5 a day constructing Levis so the Americans and others around the world could buy them for $50.  I would be one of 9 million people and if I didn’t die in the hurricanes or earthquake or from cholera I’d be malnourished, illiterate and live on less than $2 a day.  Everyday, I would be searching for water with a bucket and some days I wouldn’t find it.  I’d have several brothers and sisters, who died from starvation, diarrhea, HIV, hepatitis or malaria. 

I could have the potential to become a great leader, be the top of my class, be accepted into the University and not have the $1500 a year it takes to attend school. 

I really can’t answer why Haiti but then again I can’t answer why the United States either. 

What I can do is seek people who are willing to help my students pay for their education. Through the "Pay it Forward" private student loans my students will be able to attend the University and learn a skill that will put them to work, put food on the table and help Haiti return to the prosperous nation it once was.  

If you are able and willing we can make this happen and someday someone will ask you,
"Why Haiti?"

Contact me for more information or click on the Donate button to add to the "Pay it Forward" private student loan.  If you are seeking a contract with your student, there are 37 students waiting for the day they can return your money.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Second trip to Pignon for Bio-Medical Tech School

Do you remember what it was like when you packed up and left for college?  This is Jivenson.  He is getting ready for a very long trip to Pignon where he will attend the second session of Rotary Bio-Medical Technician school. 
Mackenzy is ready to set out on their adventure for the day. 
Jhonny (with phone in hand ready to take a picture) and Elie are going to arrive in Pignon via a different mode of transportation than Mackenzy and Jivenson.  This airplane ride will be the first time either one of them are in a plane.  Thanks to the JP/HRO organization they've offered to give Jhonny and Elie a lift at a greatly reduced price. Thank you JP/HRO you are the best! 

Along the way to Pignon, which is about 60 miles from where the students live they get to see some newer construction going on.  In the United States, 60 miles equals about an hour on the open interstate.  In Haiti 60 miles equals five to seven hours in a bus. 

As you can see, there are many bus riders.  The total cost one way for a five hour trip is about $7.50 (American).  Not much you might be saying, except most Haitians including these students live on less than $2.00 a day.  Therefore, $7.50 might as well be a million dollars to them.  However, thanks in part to a their supporters they are now able to travel to the school. 

Once Jivenson, Mackenzy, Jhonny and Elie arrive at the school/hospital they are shown to their room.  It's a pretty nice room as they all have a bed and a spot for their own things. Each packs all of their belongings in a backpack and the scramble for who gets what bed is on!

One of the nice accommodations at the school is that there is electricity in their room.  It makes it much easier to study at night when there is a light! 

Not to be out done by the light, the kitchen is the next favorite stopping spot. As we all know having a full tummy helps one to learn. 

The learning for this trip begins!

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Pay it Forward" is launched!

The "Pay it Forward" plan has begun. My students have received money to pay travel expense to go to the Bio-Medical class. When they finally get a paying job they will "Pay it Forward" to the next students. I believe it's the first student loans in Haiti, sponsored by a few generous people. If you would like to be a part of the VERY FIRST "Pay it Forward" plan, please let me know. We could really use your help. Going to school in Haiti is a challenge all its own. Paying for it is an impossible task without people like you who are willing to give them a hand up. They are committed, will you commit to add to the "Pay it Forward" plan?