Saturday, January 16, 2010

Helping Haiti

Madison Smartt Bell has traveled in and written about Haiti for 15 years, with tremendous discernment and empathy. In Mine of Stones, a piece that ran in the January 2004 Harper's just before Jean-Paul Aristede was unseated in a coup supported by the Bush administration, he wrote:
"I always wanted to do this or that when I came to Haiti, but I had learned that completely different things might ensue; it was necessary to accept those transformations, for a too stubborn insistence on one's own program-tet bef, as Haitian Kreyol succinctly has it, "bull head"-can be almost suicidal here. Better to yield up my own will and let the spirits lead. That was the main thing Haiti had taught me, and it was also a point that most of American officialdom seemed to miss."
I'm not sure what the spirits had in mind for Haiti on January 12, 2010, but what has to be done now is pretty clear, especially since it appears another quake occurred last night measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, just 37 miles from Port-au-Prince.  Many quarters have been  supplying the names of relief agencies that need  funds, including my own employer, and when I got home from work last evening I found a heart-wrenching flyer in my mailbox from a neighbor up the street whose family in Haiti has not been found or heard from since the quake.  These are the agencies that Bell recommends:
The Lambi Fund of Haiti
Partners in Health
Near and dear to my own heart is Doctors Without Borders. Their own website states:
"We are not providing water right now, but when we do, we will need to establish some water sources that are accessible and not contaminated. As a second step we will need to think about other strategies, perhaps drilling boreholes or water treatment - maybe treating salt water since it is by the ocean."
Anyone with those particular skills and resources could be of untold value to the rescue effort right now. International Action is there.

No comments: