Archive for October 2010
In my last blog, I used the pictures and video of my time in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to express the richness and desperation of the experience. Today I would like to introduce you to a village I am going to be talking a lot about in the future and that is Phaeton, Haiti. We were introduced to Phaeton by our guide and friend Elmond Jean.
In future posts, I will start to describe in detail; just suffice it to say that this is a town in need. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the 50 children that need our help. These children have nothing or close to nothing. They have no resources to attend school (all schools are private in Haiti which means the government does not fund them) so no money, no school. The problem goes much deeper. We found out these children eat 2-3 meals per week, IF THEY ARE LUCKY. When I say lucky it means if Elmond is able to tell their story to people he guides and they donate money for food.
The kicker is that of these 50 kids, 15 of them are flat out orphans: no mom, no dad, living on the streets. There is nowhere for them to go and with all the resources going to the earthquake zone, this small town is in desperation. To make a long story short, we (Dr. Janice Hughes, Dr. Martha Nessler and myself) have committed to build an orphanage/school/health center to serve this area.
We are making it up as we go along. That being said, the pictures below are of the initial structure. Not too shabby considering we have not even been home a month. We have just begun!
Someone said to me in my office, “There must be 100′s of villages like this in Haiti and thousands around the world.” I know his thinking was that how can we make a dent and that feeling of powerlessness that comes with that. Well, I met those children and they are not going to starve on my watch! I feel like this is a great time to post about the starfish.
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” ”I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!” At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference to that one!”
I just returned from my third visit to the island of Hispaniola and my first visit to Haiti. My previous trips I focused my service work in the Dominican Republic, in the area surrounding Puerta Plata. This trip took us first into Haiti to visit what will be the home of our orphanage in the town of Phaeton.
I wanted to write an account of our time in Haiti and then changed my mind. Review the video below. Look at the pictures. Both beauty and devastation all wrapped up together. These children in Phaeton are starving. Well, not on my watch. We (Drs. Janice Hughes, Martha Nessler and myself) have committed to feeding, educating and building an orphanage in this town. Don’t worry, you can help. I’ll keep you informed on how! Dr. Steph
Meet Elmond Jean. He is an amazing man that guided our group of doctors to Haiti and hooked us up with this town in need.[Translate]