Haiti

Haitians-line-up-for-food-012I am sure everyone has heard about the horrible, horrible situation in Haiti brought along by the earthquake.
We asked our friend Fionnuala, a Paris mum who adopted two kids from Haiti 2.5 years ago, to write about Haiti and the small charities that are currently doing their best to help alongside the big, international organizations.

Here’s her story:

When I told my kids I was going to send money to Haiti, their faces fell.  “But Mama, “ my son said, “will we have enough left for us?”
Before you leap to conclusions about the little monsters I’m raising, let me add one thing.  My six and seven year olds know what life is like in Haiti, and have some awareness of how much it will take to bring standards there anywhere near normal.  Two and a half years ago, they lived in an orphanage in Port au Prince.  Before that, they slept on the streets in one of the city’s worst slums.

It’s easy to forget, even for me.  I look up at breakfast and see two petits Parisiens sloshing croissants in hot chocolate,  their former diet of rice and beans a crazy, fairytale memory.  We spend Sundays at the Louvre, urgently debating Titian versus Tintoretto, never mind that before in Haiti they had scarcely ever seen a single pot of paint in their entire life.

But they remember.  The first thing they asked when I told them about the earthquake was whether anyone in the orphanage had been hurt (luckily no, though many buildings collapsed).
That night, as I put them to bed, my son held me tight.  “Mama,” he whispered, “when I grow up, I want to stop people being poor.”
My daughter, younger by a year, overheard.  “And I,” she said with a flourish, “am going to be the boss of television and wear sparkly dresses every day.”
Maybe she still has a way to go.  Maybe we all do.

Giving to Haiti

There is so much need in Haiti, not just for emergency relief but for long term support in constructing a viable, safe and democratic society.

  • One charity I can particularly recommend is Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health (PiH).  For over twenty years they have brought modern medical care and deep compassion to Haiti.  You can learn more about their work in Tracy Kidder’s wonderful book Mountains Beyond Mountains, and on the PiH website.
  • I adopted my children from the orphanage Foyer de la Nouvelle Vie, which is supported by a US charity, Reach out Haiti.  They help find adoptive families for Haitian orphans and run a safe haven where single mothers can live with their children and be trained in a variety of trades.
  • Other orphanages I know of personally are God’s Littlest Angels, and Brebis, which is supported by another US charity, Answered Prayers .

Thank you so much Fionnuala.

4 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Esther | January 20, 2010 | Reply

Thank you so much fionnuala, I just read that a plane full of poor and parentless Haitian children is flying to Amsterdam — they speeded up the adoption process. I will def give money to your small charities, the tragedy in Haiti is just unimaginable to me…

2. Sato | January 21, 2010 | Reply

Thank you so much Fionnuala and Esther. It is horrible horrible horrible…words cannot describe fully. Particularly I have survived the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995 which killed about 6400 people including my friends. It was horrible enough in Japan, so needless to say in poor Haiti. I hope my little donation will help ease at least one child.

3. Veronica | January 21, 2010 | Reply

Among all this pain and darkness there’s always people who bring light and hope. People who believe, like Fionnuala, who adopted those beutiful kids. I very much admire you and it is because of people like you that I still believe the world will be a better place for all our children.
The situation in Haití is horrible. All we can do is help but our help will make the difference.

4. Ali | January 22, 2010 | Reply

Thank you for posting this. It is so easy to go about our days, forgetting what is going on in Haiti is real. And it’s not going away just because we don’t see it on the news anymore. I am praying for comfort, rescue, hope, and more. Especially comfort for all the mom’s who may have lost their little ones… It is horrible.
Thanks again for bringing attention to a place who’s needed help for a long time.

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