Love and Haiti
Thursday January 14th 2010, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Longtime readers will remember that my older son was called by the Mormon Church to be a missionary in Haiti. He was already fluent in French, so picking up Haitian Creole came easily; it was a simplified and altered slaves’ French.

The country went up in chaos while he was in the language training center before shipping out, and all Americans were asked to evacuate. The Church sent him to southern Florida instead.

When all those hurricanes swept through there, one right after another that really bad year, the Church told the missionaries, the Red Cross needs you more than we do right now–go volunteer at the shelters.

Which is how, when he and his missionary companion walked in and asked what they could do to help, he was pulled aside and asked to go talk to that Haitian woman sitting quietly alone over there.  Standard procedure was to ask each person their situation and needs as they came in, but she didn’t speak English; she looked okay to them. But please just go make sure for us.

When she found someone who spoke her language!  I have a mechanical heart valve, I don’t have my meds, I’ve missed my doctor’s appointment, I have a son brain-damaged by sickle cell anemia and I can’t control him in this strange environment…!

He was writing things down in English as she spoke while quickly letting it be known she needed help, stat.  He described it to me as, she had, by the time he found her there, simply given up. “She was in a world of hurt, Mom.”

He got taken aside later and was told he’d saved her life.  He emailed home, saying, Mom, if I never do anything else here, I now know why I needed to have this calling and learn this language and come here at this time.

…I talked to him yesterday.

People whom he knows and cares deeply about have not been able to make any contact yet with people they love back home.  It is very hard.

A word about Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres:  I made a donation a few years ago. (#2 there shows where to donate directly; I’m giving this first link for any knitters who want to be included in the Knitters Without Borders totals, just to show what knitters are made of.  Thank you Stephanie!, who raised over $600,000 for them even before this week’s earthquake in Haiti.)

But I didn’t like MSF’s spending the least money asking for more.  I found a way around that: I set up an automatic monthly payment. They know I have decided to give. They know how much.  It is not restricted to any one purpose, but rather, they are free to put it to use wherever the need is greatest.  As the wife of a Red Cross emergency services volunteer, I know how much that frees them to simply go do their work.

With that, they send the occasional email to let me know what they’re doing in the world and how important it is.

Like I could forget.

We can’t all be there in Haiti in person to help, but we can send the message that we would never let them be alone in their hurt if we can possibly help it.  It is a small world, and they and we are in it together.

I added to that amount yesterday.  Won’t you all join me.

23 Comments so far
Leave a comment


Comment by afton 01.15.10 @ 4:39 am

There is a huge Haitian community in Montreal and lots of activities are being organized to help them and their loved ones. Hubby and I have clothes we haven’t worn in a long time. They are in very good shape, just got forgotten (or waist lines changed).

I need to find where we can go donate them. Thank you for yet another inspiring post!

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 01.15.10 @ 6:51 am

I will be donating today. Those poor people need all the help they can get.

Comment by Joansie 01.15.10 @ 6:54 am

Blessed be.

Comment by twinsetellen 01.15.10 @ 7:05 am

What a moving plea, read while Ann(e) Curry (Today Show) broadcasts live from there. It gives me hope to see our country rally ’round, the whole world rally ’round…

And a special shout-out to my friends and “brothers and sisters” in the Fairfax Co. Fire/Rescue search team, who are already in place, working in Haiti.

Comment by Channon 01.15.10 @ 7:07 am

My first thought when I learned of the earthquake was your son and his (previous) mission.

Believe me, Louisiana understands mega-disaster!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 01.15.10 @ 7:16 am

already done.

Comment by Sandra 01.15.10 @ 7:41 am

My work is matching dollar for dollar any donations made, so I am making a donation here. But thank you for putting the call out. I hope you realize how many people you touch everyday. Thank you.

Comment by Dariece 01.15.10 @ 8:17 am

I donated the day before yesterday. When I was in college my downstairs neighbor was a physician who would travel the world doing humanitarian aid. I think about him and all the people like him who are rushing to help and I’m glad I can donate, if only to feel like I’ve done something to help those suffering.

Comment by Michelle 01.15.10 @ 8:27 am

I thought about donating to MSF, but my company (Booz Allen Hamilton, which has a strong philanthropy philosophy) is matching–with no upper limit!–employee contributions to the American Red Cross’s International Disaster Fund, so I donated to that fund. I may still send MSF a contribution, too. Project Heifer also has an initiative for Haiti. I’ve donated to MSF and PH before…it’s hard to stop once you’ve started, isn’t it? 🙂

Comment by Melissa 01.15.10 @ 9:08 am

The situation in Haiti must be devastating! My co-worker lost her son, daughter-in-law’s parents and some other relative in the big tsunami and I know how quickly a place can turn into a war zone. I hope that we all by prayers and actual help can help the Haitian people!

Comment by Monica 01.15.10 @ 9:16 am

Already did. I wish I could do more…

Comment by Jocelyn 01.15.10 @ 9:51 am

Yes, I did (oh, one more thing in common — Knitters Without Borders!)

Comment by Bev 01.15.10 @ 10:25 am

Let’s hear it for Tricoteuses Sans Frontieres!

Comment by suburbancorrespondent 01.15.10 @ 10:47 am

I’ll send my donation to the American Red Cross. You DO reach so many!

Okay, a bit of humor –

A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’

The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large. 

The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

Comment by Don Meyer 01.15.10 @ 11:00 am

Already done…I got home Wednesday, and found my husband handing me a receipt for our tax file…we’d both done online donations from the office!

Comment by RobinH 01.15.10 @ 1:54 pm

I think I was number 382 on Stephanie’s blog. My town had 2 missionaries land in Port au Prince an hour before the earthquake hit. They had texted that they had arrived safely. Then….nothing for 2 days. Finally they got a message out that they are OK. Knitters truly are special people. Have you seen that total? And it keeps growing.

Comment by Cathy 01.15.10 @ 2:27 pm

Tragedies like the earthquake are too huge to be completely comprehended. So we cling on to one small story at a time, and it helps us feel connected. That small change in us can lead to giving what we can afford to. No matter how small, those parts make up a whole until the charity grown from our love is as big as the disaster which prompts it.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 01.15.10 @ 5:39 pm

Doctors Without Borders is such a good foundation. I first heard about it, also, from Stephanie Pearl McPhee. It is well worth sending a few dollars. If every family in the country would/could just send $1,think how much money that would be.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 01.15.10 @ 5:52 pm

I generally give to my church’s humanitarian fund because they either give the aide directly or pick really good groups to give it to. Meanwhile, I’ve got to serge the edges of some towels that I’m cutting down so they can fit in emergency hygene kits to ship over.

Comment by LauraN 01.15.10 @ 6:31 pm

I donated earlier today to Doctors Without Borders and blogged about Stephanies call out to knitters to help.
Your son sounds like a wonderful person you must be very proud of him.Hugs Darcy

Comment by Darcy 01.15.10 @ 6:47 pm

My first reaction when I heard of the disaster, was to open up the web page for donations to MSF. This is a low cashflow time of year for a knitting teacher (had 3 weeks off teaching while people had a holiday), but I gave what I could.

It makes me feel like my small part matters, when I read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s totals climb. We are a force. “The Knitters” are bigger than any on the outside can comprehend. I am proud.

Comment by LynnH 01.16.10 @ 10:58 am

I’ve been wondering and wanting to ask about your son, knowing he is very close to Haiti. Thank you for writing this.

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 01.16.10 @ 3:57 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>