Helping the people of Haiti as citizens of the world


All of us have watched the horrifying images coming out of Haiti in the last few days. Most of us wish we were able to make a ‘significant impact’ and really help the victims but we can’t do it alone. So, it’s time for us to step up as world citizens and help those who are physically, emotionally and financially unable to help themselves.


Please give to help the people of Haiti. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of organizations accepting donations.

Haiti is only 600 miles from Southeast Florida, 90 miles from Cuba. Here is an interesting BBC profile on Haiti and it’s history.

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As many of you know, travel has been a lifetime passion with me. We aren’t rich, so over the years we’ve sacrificed a lot of other things so we could travel as we felt that was so important. It is a very educational experience.

In the very early 1970s we went to Haiti. Actually, our trip to Haiti was accidental. We were on a cruise ship that was to stop in the Dominican Republic, which we did, but we had to stop at Cap Haitien first for repairs. Since we were going to be there for a almost a full day, we were allowed off the ship but we were warned not to eat or drink anything. The tour director hurriedly organized a ‘sort of’ tour to the Citadel which was/is atop a very steep hill. So, we needed a donkey to get up the hill in the heat.

The roads were all dirt, dusty and there were almost no cars. When a car needed past the locals, they simply honked for them to get out of the way. I’ve never seen such poverty anywhere else in the world. I understand it hasn’t improved much since either. The average family income in the 70s was $75. per year. I understand that now it is more like $1. per day. I guess that would be considered ‘inflation’. The TB rate was extreme then and now and now I understand the HIV rate is very high too.

When we were in Haiti, they were under the dictatorship of Baby Doc. I believe Papa Doc had just died and he had just assumed the dictatorship. That was my first and last experience with that sort of police state. As we went to the foot of the hill we were to ascend, I was overwhelmed with the degree of poverty. Everyone was so poor that many of the children wore no clothes. While it was hot weather, they still needed clothes for the protection of their body. People were rushing up to us and begging us to buy a twig, or anything else they may have that they could offer in exchange for money. Unfortunately, when I offered one some money I was converged upon by others hoping for some change too.

When we got to the location of our skinny donkeys, we were told that we were to give our guide 75 cents and no more. There weren’t as many of us going up to the Citadel as there were men looking for work. Two men were begging me so pitifully that I said I’d pay one to lead the donkey and one to walk behind it. I didn’t realize at that point that the police (there were quite a few) riding on fairly well fed horses were going to control that. So, I was quite shocked when a very intimidating Policeman walked his very large horse up beside my tiny donkey and announced in English that I only needed one ‘guide’. I explained to him that I was willing to pay for two. Then, he cracked his whip and shouted something in Haitian and the second guide and other ‘extras’ scurried into the trees nearby. Then, he looked back at me and sternly said ‘No. Only one guide.’ So, I obviously did what he said.

When we got to the Citadel, we were very hot in the intense heat and many Americans were complaining. The thing that touched me was that while we had been told that we shouldn’t eat or drink anything they had somehow come up with some bottled cokes which they had carried up the mountain in buckets of ‘cool’ water so we could have something to buy when we got there. They were charging 75 cents each which was quite a bit for a Coke in the 70s, but they had to be shipped into the country and then they had to carry them up the mountain in the heat. Then, many Americans again complained that they weren’t cold but merely cool. That is the way you get most things in Europe, but I guess they were only spoiled to cruise ship life.

The area of Haiti where we docked wasn’t accustomed to having ships stop there. They had no way to earn a living and they were extremely poor. When we got to the Dominican Republic on the same island, they weren’t nearly as poor. They very proudly announced that in their country they had some businesses and no one when to bed hungry. They looked healthier and although they were still poor, they were rich when compared to Haiti.

When we returned home, I thought about the people of Haiti for months and even thought about going back there to help them, but I had a family and I couldn’t go. Now another devastating blow has viciously hit these poor people and they have no way to help themselves. It is our responsibility as world citizens to do what we can to help them get the food, water and their medical needs while they are in danger. I encourage you to give what you can, even if it’s only a dollar or two. It helps each of us inside to know that we opened our hearts and wallets to help others. I know we are having a very hard time here in the states now too, but please help if you can. I will post a group (certainly not a complete list) of recognized, legitimate agencies if you choose to give. If you do give, please make sure you give through a legitimate agency as the FBI Warns, there are usually people who are the scum of the earth out to take advantage of every disaster.

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Some credible relief agencies.

…………..UNICEF……….CARE ……….Red Cross……….Doctors without Borders ……….………………..……….Yele………………..Samaritan’s Purse
………………………….Habitat for Humanity International

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~ by citizenjournalistreview on January 14, 2010.

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