Simple Acts of Kindness for Haiti

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January 19, 2010

by Kay Hixson, Director of Marketing and Communications, Grameen Foundation

Sunday and Monday offered an opportunity to help Haiti in person. Hundreds, maybe thousands, answered the call.

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This past Sunday, I visited the Haitian Embassy in Washington, DC to deliver baby and medical supplies. People were everywhere, bringing clothes, medicine and all kinds of things. Others were writing checks to support the relief effort, or just standing in the rain wanting to be near. Yes, it was a little chaotic, but no one seemed to mind. No one was pushing or shoving. No one was grumpy or impatient. When the Embassy personnel gave a directive, the crowd followed quickly. Friendly police were everywhere trying to direct traffic, which was backed up for blocks in all directions. Instead of writing parking tickets, the police helped people carry in the supplies and did their best to answer questions. While I was there, I heard that the Embassy-sponsored drive had just received the OK to bring the planes with emergency supplies into Haiti. I left with a lighter heart and was glad to see compassion and generosity in action.

Monday morning I went to the old DC General Hospital facility to sort and pack supplies. There must have been a million items to sort. My group consisted of a 20ish young lady in a wheelchair and an elderly woman sitting on the floor because she couldn't stand very well. They quickly took charge. I would bring them the boxes of items to be sorted, I was told, and then carry the items to the staging area when they were through. This is the first time I've been officially designated a pack mule. Then I smiled. This was a perfect celebration of Dr. King's birthday.

Comments

Greetings,

Please let the Haitian people know that are prayers are with them in this critical time of need. Many of us have sent contributions already and are planning long term support.

Imani,(Faith)

Just wanted to let you know that we are praying for you, all the way from N.orth Carolina. Know that you will overcome this tradegy. Our heart goes out to your entire country! We will keep you in our prayers!!!

As we give our money to disaster relief it is important to realize that after the news cameras are gone there will still be a tremendous amount of suffering and misery to deal with. The long term effects of a severe earthquake on a poor nation is more pronounced. The country will have to be rebuilt. They will need infrastructure as well as homes, hospitals and schools. There will be hundreds of thousands who are without shelter and who are forced to live in close quarters in unsanitary conditions which will spread disease. Orphans will need to be taken care of, and there will be severe mental health problems that will linger. All of these issues will need attention and financial assistance even after the celebrities have moved on to the next great cause. The work of helping Haiti will once again be done in obscurity without press coverage. There will be no more outpourings of love and sympathy because the public’s attention will be diverted elsewhere. However, there will still be many dedicated organizations who will stay behind and do the difficult unglamorous work of fighting poverty under the most trying conditions. These are organizations we need to continue to support with donations. By providing them with a steady stream of funds we can allow them to operate at their full capacity. This will enable them to slowly improve the living conditions of the Haitian people. But it takes money…a lot of money, month after month and year after year. Dramatic improvement does not happen overnight. It requires a long-term financial commitment on our part. We must have the resolve and the passion to consistently try to improve the lives of those who are suffering.

Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers fo the brutalizaed and traumatized people of Haiti. The images of faith and strength coming out of their hour of trial are an encouragement to all mankind.

Response to emergencies and disaster are why organizations like yours and mine (Guyana Medical Relief Inc.) come together in common purpose; the Haiti challenge is a case in point. We all commend what you and allies are doing on the ground. But it also gives us a sense of satisfaction in sharing as we can - with and through organizations such as yours - in building capacity and helping to strengthen the human and material infrastructures that contribute to that sense of evolving self-sufficiency and confidence that is so critical incommunities at need.
Bless you as you do your work. Doesn't the smile from someone you assist make all the hassle you go through and the often inconvenience you encounter worth-wjile?

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