Haiti was on my mind all day today.
It’s hard to forget. The devastation I fled a year ago this time – those concrete ruins I could not wait to escape are a daily reality for the people of Haiti. It is hard to fathom the resiliency that is required of this nation’s people.
An estimated 230,000 people were killed in the earthquake – many have not been unearthed or recorded.
Only 5% of the rubble has been removed.
3,600 lives have been lost to cholera.
800,000 are living in tent camps.
1.3 million are homeless.
Prior to the quake there were over 300,000 orphaned children in Haiti
No one can accurately account for how many children are now without a family.
A year later, I am still as unsettled about Haiti as I was the day I left.
There have been many news stories today about where the money went. There is no denying that money was given, and that corruption stood in the way. In October we listened to with both amusement and horror as a friend (who shall remain nameless) told us stories of the days after the quake . . . and how some enterprising missionaries “relieved” the bigger organizations of some of the supplies that sat unused on pallets at the airport in order to get that food and water to people who were in desperate need. Real life Robin Hood stories.
Haiti remains, to me, a story of epic corruption, epic resiliency, and epic struggle. There is no denying there is corruption in Haiti, that they need more than money, that every donation is a drop in a huge bucket, and that funds have been misappropriated. There is also no denying the fact that the people of Haiti still need help. In my opinion, that help will need to circumvent the government.
I know that there are people on the ground there that are changing and saving lives, every day, in tangible ways. There are people who are making sure that money is leading to lasting change, and that the money is used – all of it – where it matters, and when in matter (i.e., NOW).
I know there are many more, but these are the organizations that we trust and that we continue to support. When I look at the issues facing Haiti, I am overwhelmed. But for the two children we sponsor there, I know that a difference is being made. For the teen moms served at Heartline, or the orphans cared for by Dixie, there is change. The little money that we can give is magnified by other sponsors, and also by the grit and determination of the people who dedicate their lives to serving in Haiti.
This gives me some comfort, and some hope.