Haiti Needs Help

You know all about the huge disaster in Haiti, so I won’t go into details on the tremendous need.  If you are looking for a great place to help. The Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are efficient and excellent in their work.

Another little known group that is right now on the ground in Haiti and have been there for years working is, Faith in Action International FaithInActionInt.org

I met Tom Braak the founder of this small group about 10 years ago while I was in Haiti. He has lived there for many years and his main focus is helping residents with agricultural issues.  He assists them is starting their own greenhouses for starting fruit trees as well as regular trees.  They also get crops started this way.  Years ago the hills were de-foreseted by leaders who were – well, lets say not aware of the consequences.  The result was that when the next huge seasonal rains fell, the topsoil washed away.  Wells went dry and a few years ago Tom and the team figured out that by planting trees just uphill from the place where wells used to be the roots of the trees would help break up the ground in some way and the result was that in a couple years the wells came back.

You can learn more at the website. They say that “Our present focus is on helping families living in the mountains surrounding Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. By working with local farmers, Faith in Action International helps the people organize themselves to identify, prioritize, and solve local problems. We also provide solutions others have successfully used elsewhere, encouraging the people to test the ideas to see if they might be adapted to work locally.”

In all cases, it is the intent of Faith in Action to ensure that solutions to the problems are sustainable.

They do amazing work. So if you can spare a bit to help, please consider Tom and the people living in Haiti.

I spent 10 days there and saw Tom at work. He was incredible in his kindness and very creative in problem solving. His goal was to not do it for the people but to encourage them to work as teams and discover solutions for themselves. They would test the ideas and then go with the best solutions.  Once he left a village the people were able to solve future problems using their own skills and the gifts of the people in the community.

The old saying is don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish. Tom’s work goes beyond “giving someone a fish” and is also beyond teaching someone how to fish, it is giving them the skills to teach themselves how to fish or solve future problems and challenges as a team.

My other memories of Haiti include doing magic shows at the children’s hospital and at the Mother Teresa Orphanage.  My wife spent time with the kids there too. The Sisters are so busy that they don’t have much time to just hold the little babies.  Several babies were struggling with AIDS and they enjoyed the volunteers who came in and held them for a while in the rocking chairs.  My wife spent most of here time in the rocking chair, but she also helped the very busy sisters with diaper changing and other duties.  I found a place to be of service in a small way by playing ball with the older kids in the yard.   We also did quite a few magic shows for the children and families at other places.

Haiti has the highest rate of poverty in the western hemisphere. The people are very sweet and kind. It is a land with much potential and yet it struggles greatly. This is a very difficult time for people who are surrounded by difficulty. Please help in any way. If you can take some time, look into the great work in Haiti that Tom and the communities are doing.

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