Monday, May 19, 2008

Our first contribution!

I am happy to report we have our first check! Friend Trudy in Tampa was so passionate about my Haiti trip (she gave me one of those anti-bacterial light toothbrush cases to take with me) that she couldn't wait to be a part of the first well! Thank you Trudy!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A well for our friends in Haiti

(Photos explained in the text below)

Blessings and greetings to my friends who have waited so patiently for the well project to begin. Finally, here I am!

A little background is probably in order - so I'll bring everyone up to date. Last December 26th at 6 a.m., friend SJ and I accompanied two members of my church (Tom and Chris from White Memorial Presbyterian Church) and traveled to Port-Au-Prince (P-A-P) in Haiti for a week. We did some substantial construction on a new home in the Blanchard community (crew photo above), became acquainted with the residents of Hospice St. Joseph (the hospice/guest house where we stayed), visited Wings of Hope and Trinity House (two homes run by St. Joseph's School for Boys - not affiliated with Hospice St. Joseph), attended church services at Blanchard, Cite Soleil, and Sainte Trinite Episcopal, traveled over the deforested land that is much of Haiti (to Fondwa and Jacmel), and met many wonderful people including Leon and Jacky Dorleans, who have devoted their lives to Christ and the people of Haiti. That's their photo next to the crew. Leon serves as Head of Staff for the churches at Cite Soleil, Blanchard, Ibo Beach and Repatriote. Jacky runs the terrific schools at those churches, making a difference for hundreds of children. Haiti does not provide free public education for its children. Most of the 8 million people are illiterate but I can tell you they cherish knowledge. Seeing those schools – so immaculate and every book honored - was a joy! It was a life-changing experience for me.
One of my initial concerns as we began work on the house in Port-au-Prince was the absence of potable water. The water we used as we worked in the Blanchard community came from a “well” on the property – a hole about 2 feet deep, into which water seeped slowly, chalk-colored and full of debris – and I was reluctant to let my hands touch that “water.” Later during our stay I talked with Pastor Leon regarding decent water for that community and was appalled to learn that clean and safe water was not readily available for those families anywhere.

As we discussed the ramifications of the lack of clean and safe drinking water in Haiti, we also talked about the cost of drilling wells. We pondered the difference clean water makes in the life and health of a people. Realizing that many children born in Haiti do not live through childhood, learning that the average life expectancy is 52 years and that most Haitians survive on about a dollar a day, led me to tell Leon that I wanted to be personally responsible for finding a way to build a well for that community. He agreed that it would be a wonderful effort, so here I am.

Not surprisingly, as I have shared this vision with friends, they have wanted to help. The cost of a sustainable well for this community (which I believe is close to 100 families) is about $5,000. Not much money for us collectively but when you know that most Haitians survive on @ $1 a day, you can quickly figure that $5,000 would be a lifetime of earnings for them.

Since my return I have also talked with staff, members and committees at White Memorial about my 'vision.' I am happy to announce that our contributions for the well for Haiti can be written and directed through White Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Here is how you can help - first please learn more about Haiti. Imagine: A third world country, struggling to provide food and water for its 8 million people, is a mere 90 minutes from Miami. We need to care more about our neighbors.

Next considering sending a check for the well. Any amount you can give helps with the well. The estimate is that the best type of well for the Blanchard Community will cost $5,000. Checks should be written to White Memorial Presbyterian Church and clearly indicated that they are to be directed to the "Haiti well." You may send them to White Memorial c/o D. Morgan, Director of Missions, 1704 Oberlin Road, Raleigh, NC 27608. If you prefer you may send them to me, but the check must be written to White Memorial in order that your contribution be tax-deductible.
Finally you can help by forwarding this blogspot link to others you think may be interested. I plan to keep this blog even "post-well construction." Wouldn't it be wonderful to contribute to the effort to bring even more clean water to the people of Haiti?! It is my intention to return to Haiti soon and remain involved with their many needs. Also a group of youth from our church will be traveling to Haiti next month for a mission trip and it would be great if they would post some of their experiences. They will be staying at the St. Joseph's Home for Boys.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to keeping everyone posted as to our progress. God bless you! Carol