The internet and the world is talking about Haiti. The epic center Port-Au-Prince, the lives lost, and the insurmountable damage from a 7.0 earthquake. The world is captivated and shaken, just like the country. Haiti has the attention of the media, and many, many support and aid groups. Donations are pouring in.
I, for one, am glad. Yes, glad. Glad for the support, but deeply saddened it took this tragic event. I know the devastation, and lives lost are not replaceable. People are homeless, sick and in desperate need, now more than ever before. It is terrible. But listen, Haiti has needed help long before now. Haiti has cried for attention that it never got for YEARS AND YEARS. Finally, they are getting their saving grace. Finally, they are getting the help they need. Finally, we are paying attention.
Over twelve years ago, I became a travel agent to a company called, Simeus Foods. They are owned and operated by a man called, Dumas Simeus born and raised in Haiti.
You can see his biography here. Against all odds, he became a successful business owner and true to his roots, he gave back to where he started. I helped with a lot of the travel arrangements, and fundraisers for the foundation Sove Lavi. His admin Vanessa even brought me a card and some coffee from Haiti. Thanking me for help with getting volunteers flight arrangements, in and out of Haiti, to help with the clinic. A work she was very passionate about.
It was such an honor for me. I knew more than most about the story of the Haitians – their history. The hardships they faced. The hard, hard life they endured. Mr. Simeus was in the running for presidency at one time, but his stint in the US prevented it from being official. Impassable political road blocks. It was during a time of great rebellion and corruption. Haiti has always had extreme difficulties. I believe he would have impacted the country in a great way, which is why he was probably disqualified.
I remember talking to Vanessa on the phone one day. She was upset, very upset. One of the villages they worked to assist had been wiped out by a flood. The entire village washed away in the blink of an eye. Families she had worked with, children they had schooled, and given medical care to. In an instant, gone. She was heartbroken. What upset her the most, not one single media outlet reported the story. Not one. It was incredibly sad, and she was helpless to the lack of sympathy. Helpless to the forgotten need of a people she dearly loved.
Today, that story is fresh in my mind, as if I talked to her yesterday. Today, the world feels the pain she felt. The world knows the hardship, and the loss – the heartbreaking loss – of life. I am in no way happy this happened to them. But I am grateful for the support they are getting. I have heard more than one person mention, how do I get an orphan? The aftershocks will change many Haitian lives, in a uplifting way.
As we watch the world come together. Hearts are united. The people are cared and prayed for as never before. Their cries are finally heard. To me, that is a saving grace. A deserving mercy. There are many ways you can help. Our Church is working through World Vision. Both websites have donations. Obviously Red Cross as well.
I donated by text. I recently found out from many bloggers, and other ads that by using your mobile phone to text “Haiti” to 90999, you can immediately donate $10 to the Red Cross International Response Fund. The charge shows up on your next month’s phone bill. It is very easy and simple. It was $10.00 dollars. We drop that in the bucket all the time on nothing.
Do this today, unite with the world.
Update-After I wrote this post, I found Vanessa through the foundation. This is the news I heard from her.
Our hearts are heavy. So many people have died and more are hurting and dying. Most of our friends and the Simeus family have been safely accounted for and there was no damage to the clinic or home in the countryside. We suspect that Mr. Simeus’ mom’s home in the city is lost, but no confirmation at this time. Very little communication.
As the presidents said on CNN this morning, the best way to help right now is cash. I am recommending Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, HAS Hospital (www.hashaiti.org/C1a_w1.html) which is treating earthquake victims, or our charity (www.sovelavi.org) which is also operating now on the ground in Haiti.
Rejoice. Joy comes in the morning. Many lives will be inspired from this great tragedy, whether it’s from giving or receiving. Pray for help and healing of a country most deserving. Pray and be moved by their saving grace.
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