The earthquake that tore Haiti apart is something beyond our imagining. Most folks can't get their heads around the kind of numbers that are coming at us... the injured, the lost, the dead. The photos on the covers of today's Toronto Star and The Sun were somehow surreal and beyond comprehension.
With a disaster on this kind of scale, it's hard to bring it home, to come to grips with how to begin to help. Well, the short answer there is, send money. It is going to take a LOT of $$$ to get the necessary aid to these people. And while there are no shortage right now of places collecting for Haiti, we've got two we'd ask you to consider.
Our long-term guests and friends Mick and Lil Stewart have a personal connection to this, the poorest of the countries in the Western Hemisphere where the average annual wage is $560. (that's, like, one cup of coffee a day)
"We have a personal connection to Haiti, through Hôpital Albert Schweitzer which is located at Deschapelles, a small town about 70km from Port-au-Prince. Mick is a board member of "Canadian Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer", and Lil is on the events committee. Several years ago, Mick spent a few weeks at H.A.S. as part of a work team. Each year, several of our members visit. Our chairman serves as vice-president of the Foundation which owns and administers the hospital.
The two mandates of our Canadian Friends organization are to build awareness of Haiti and this hospital, and to raise funds.Upon first news of the earthquake our immediate thoughts of course, were for our friends and acquaintances at the hospital. Amazingly, they have managed to maintain electronic communications and report that all buildings are intact and all staff are safe (but ALL of the physicians and nurses are Haitian so of course most have relatives in Port-au-Prince ... their condition is mostly unknown).The reports from H.A.S. tell of a massive effort to deliver care to the injured who are being brought from the capital and districts nearby. This is stretching H.A.S's resources to a degree not previously experienced.
We invite you to go to our website to learn more about this. http://www.canadianhashaiti.ca/ And as you will find out, the most urgent need is funding -- to pay for medical supplies which are being consumed very rapidly, to pay for a surge in required diesel & electric power and water, and to pay staff who are working many hours of additional time. So many people in our safe, affluent northern homes say "what can I do?". We ask that you click on www.canadianhashaiti.ca and follow the easy links to make a donation. (For our Canadian readers, it's tax-receiptable!)
mesi anpil ["thank you very much" --- the working language at the hospital is Haitian creole]"
Nancy has two foster children through PLAN CANADA, (but not in Haiti) and of course this organization is already on the ground in Haiti. They are asking people to please make a donation right now to help the children and families in Haiti, and to make your donation go twice as far. Through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Canadian government will match all contributions made between January 12 and February 12, 2010.
If we all give a little, we'll all give a lot.
$20 provides a hygiene kit to help people clean off days of grime, cleanse wounds and help prevent infection
$100 provides kitchen sets for four families who have lost everything, so they can eat today and in the future
$500 provides 20 first aid kits to provide urgent medical care to injured children and families
$1000 provides 33 shelter tool kits, desperately needed for children and families whose homes have been destroyed