An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves
We have a special need for your support. Buy a decoration now! Go to our appeal.
An update on life in Haiti from Gena
This quote comes from an American woman called Lydia Maria Child. Child ranks among the most influential of 19th-century American women writers. She was renowned in her day as a tireless crusader for truth and justice and a champion of excluded groups in American society—especially Native Americans, slaves, and women.
I think this quote is very apt as I am about to appeal to all of you to make a big effort to help us in Haiti?.
Now believe me, I am very aware that life is not easy anywhere right now. The global pandemic has shaken the world to its core and continues to do so. All of you reading this have been affected one way or another during this time and most of you are probably totally fatigued by all the changes to your normal living. We all wonder when it might end, and I suppose everyone is also wondering how Christmas will be this year.
Here in Haiti we have been lucky in that for some reason, compared to other countries, we have not been hit badly by Covid 19. In our Special Needs Programs, we are back offering services. Our young students are coming to school – we had 70 yesterday. Our therapy patients – children and adults are coming for therapy. In our home Kay Christine, our residents are continuing their individual learning programs. So tis busy, busy.
So back to my quote from Lydia Child. As Christmas approaches we are hoping to entice you to make an extra special effort to help us out and we are going to make it fun for you to do so?.
First, let me tell you why I am making this appeal. Right now, we are in an awful situation because apart from all the usual challenges we face, we have two major problems with funding right now. One is directly related to the pandemic as our fundraisers in Europe and the US struggle to bring in funds. The other is due to political issues in Haiti. As you know, we do not receive any money from the Haitian Government. Therefore, we are dependent on overseas funding and our budgets are set in US dollars. This time last year, one US dollar gave you about 96 Haitian gourdes (local currency). Today it will get you 62 gds. You can see our problem. Throughout the year, we had huge inflation and the dollar went up to almost 120 gds. Cost of living was sky high and life impossible for most people. Then all of a sudden, with no explanation, the government injected money into the economy and the next thing the dollar dropped in value daily.
If this had translated into lower prices all round many would be delighted. But sadly, very few things have come down. We have huge shortfalls in our budgets. Our children’s hospital – the only children’s hospital in Haiti – is cutting services. The adult hospital – run by The St. Luke Foundation – is cutting services. These two hospitals save so many lives. They are providing invaluable services to the most vulnerable people in Haiti. Our special needs population depend on those hospitals. Our therapy children come via the children’s hospital. Our stroke patients come via the adult hospital. The residents in Kay Christine, where I live, are cared for in the adult hospital when they have health issues. Most of them came through the children’s hospital when they were small. Indeed most were abandoned in the children’s hospital. I get a sick feeling in my tummy when I consider the impact when services close in those hospitals. In fact, Sunday last, I rushed one of my girls to the adult hospital, as she became suddenly unwell. As she was being treated, I was shocked at how busy the emergency area was. Non-stop trauma cases. If that hospital was not there?? I would be in big trouble and so too would all those people that came that day. And those that come every day.
What will happen if we cannot keep our Special Needs programs going?
So here is where you come in?. We know most people will decorate their houses for Christmas. Here our Kay Christmas family love to see the decorations go up. So here is how we hope you can help us. We have a nice big tree- made by a local welder. Our Special Needs family are going to make decorations for this tree- they have started already- from plastic bottles, cardboard etc. They are going to have great fun making them and want you to symbolically buy one of these decorations. When you donate for a decoration, we will put your decoration on the tree, as as we do so we will say a prayer for you. You can buy a small one or a bigger one. No donation is too small. I repeat no donation is too small. If you have kids, ask them to buy one – have them buy one for a euro or a dollar. We will be putting updates on our web page and our Facebook page so you will see the progress as we make the decorations. We have lots of arts and crafts materials here and lots of plastic waiting to be transformed. We will have lots of smiles and lots of fun. We are offering you the chance to have fun too. Join us. We are not asking you to go hungry. We are not asking you to go into debt. We are asking you to help save lives. Literally. We are asking you to look beyond yourselves and to help us save our programs. Tell your friends. The more people helping, the better for us. Lots of small donations means lots of small lives will be saved. Lots of big donations means that lots of small and big lives will be saved.
All of us here in Haiti have survived so many disasters: hurricanes, the earthquake, torrential flooding, violent political unrest, violent attacks, burning tyres, physical and verbal abuse – you name it, we have faced it. Right now things are very critical for us. The country is more unsafe now than ever, with armed gangs and bandits all over the place. Kidnappings are happening all the time and NO ONE feels safe. We have not had electricity in months, so we are totally reliant on our diesel generators. We run them sparingly. We are committed to what we are doing. We are made of strong stuff. We are people of hope and we do not give up easily. You have kept us going and kept us strong all these years. Please, please, help us get through this latest crisis.
We are determined. We know you will help us.
Mesi Davans- thanks in advance?