We Are The World…Give Me A Break

On February 4, 2010, in Other Interests, by admin

With all the continual stories coming out of Haiti following the tragedy there, comes an announcement that a group of prominent national musician acts are getting together to record (re-record) “We Are The World” to raise funds for Haitian relief efforts. Give me a break here. With all of the efforts to raise funds for this devastation, now we get a group of musicians banding together to record a very tired song to raise more money for Haiti? Seriously? How many times daily are we overrun with promotions and efforts to fund raise for Haiti? Let me explain.  I do firmly believe in giving to this cause. We should be focusing to help rebuild this country.  In fact, as I have pointed out in this blog previously, this is a prime opportunity to rebuild this country into something it was not before the quake. I have personal ties to this country as I visited regularly on business a few years back. So I believe in these donation efforts and believe the country can recover with our help. So do we really need a bunch of self-serving musicians to record a tired old song to raise more money for this effort?  Are there really a lack of channels out there to contribute for those who choose to do so?

No, I believe this is merely taking the opportunity to attach their name to something perceived as good.  A kind of self induced community service sentence that they are imposing on themselves to better their name in the marketplace. This may be a bit harsh, and I want to assure once again that I believe in the Haitian relief efforts. I just do not need this group of folks to help me do this. So I have a bit of a hard time to pay any attention to this effort, well intended as it may be by the organizers. We just need this. Maybe the musicians should get more directly involved by personally flying in much needed supplies (as is reported John Travolta did recently) or going to the country to assist directly in the aid efforts. I can buy into that.  That is the less comfortable path. But do not try to convince me that re-recording this song is a great vehicle for raising cash. It is a marketing ploy for name recognition, and that would be difficult to swallow.

Whether you accept the above premise or not, do give to the relief efforts in Haiti.  There are plenty of legitimate vehicles to do so, and can be as easy as sending a text from those fancy smart phones many of us have.

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On January 20, 2010, in Uncategorized, by admin

The latest ‘tremor’ to hit Haiti is officially called an aftershock, but according to my family contact, it was nothing of the sort. More damage was levied and people were understandably quite alarmed.  Fortunately, it seems that further injury or loss of life was not part of this, but any dire hint of rescue efforts from the the initial quake over a week ago leaves it more difficult.  Everyone is tired, and looking for hope there. Hats off to the workers and those (like my family friend) committed to stay.

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Beyond the Haitian Tragedy

On January 19, 2010, in Uncategorized, by admin

It is difficult to conceive the the destruction, pain and suffering that the earthquake in Haiti has caused.  Of course, we can  see images and a continuous stream of news stories from this country. I truly feel for Haiti and support all the relief efforts.  It is a daunting task. Having done business in this country a few years back, I am familiar with Port-au-Prince and it’s surroundings. Even with updates coming from a family friend, I still find it hard to digest the pain and suffering. Hats off to those involved with the rescue efforts.

But it brings me to a discussion that, given the current state of of the situation, is somewhat difficult to introduce; but I believe their is an opportunity in this countries’ recovery to significantly increase the survivors quality of life. Yes, rebuilding will take years. Yes, this is a poor country.  But in the end, this country, in my opinion, has the potential to enter into directions that would bring a new economical influence to this rather isolated country.  Things were certainly slowly improving before the quake.  When I traveled there in 2005, there was no government. Over the last several years, a government has been in place…and I believe making improvements, albeit, slowly.  They were and are a very poor country, but I think this tragedy could be used as a springboard to leap ahead with change for the better.

Bottom line, this is a Carribean country with beautiful surroundings. With the right infrastructure in place, there is no reason tourism should not be a significant draw to this country in the future similar to what is enjoyed by the other country on the island they share, the Dominican Republic. Most islands in the region also have industries for coffee, rum, and sugar cane. There should not be any reason that similar industries could not exist in Haiti. I visualize nice resorts visited by an international community. I visualize a country with great people welcoming such visitors, and yes, I visualize a rebuilt Haiti with the government and services in place, properly manned to provide a safe and welcome country to all. Not certain how all of this would be financed, but I believe the opportunity is there and with the tragedy at hand, this country has the opportunity for a new start, and it would be great if the international community extended beyond their current aid efforts into seriously rebuilding Port-au-Prince.

Again, I do not mean to minimize the current dire situation there today. People have lost families, love ones, and everything they own.  They have a steep climb just to stablize the situation even a little right now. These people do not deserve this tragedy. My thoughts are constantly with them, and I still personally know people in this country.

But I do believe their is an opportunity to rebuild and make this country so much better than it was before this tragedy. Here is to the hope the we, the international community will not abandon them once the worst is over, and help them rebuild into a country that can benefit from the beauty of the people and its surroundings.

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On January 14, 2010, in Uncategorized, by admin

This comes from a truly unique individual who is a friend of my daughters. She is in Haiti doing mission work, and here is her account of the devastation.  She truly has more strength than anyone I know

Prayer warriors:I am safe in Port au Prince. I watched my walls crack and crumble during the quake and had 2 of my kids with me. I got them off the floor, onto my bed and laid on top of them. We started praying out loud, more like screaming out to Christ for our safety, our family’s safety and the people of Haiti . Kids’ prayers are so sweet during times of terror.

I seriously thought the 2nd floor was going to fall on us and my last breaths would be full of dust and tears… but it didn’t. Somehow the house is still standing. It isn’t safe to be over there so my Haitian family, the Livesays, are housing me and my roommate for now.

Since the earthquake happened in the afternoon, night came very quickly and we had no electricity anywhere. It was pitch black. Around 10pm a Haitian friend came and got me because she knew I had medical knowledge… I hopped on a motorcycle and went down the neighborhood to a soccer field. Full of people laying and moaning on the ground. Some praying. “Mesi Jezi, mesi Jezi, mesi Jezi.” Others dying before any aid could get to them. I sutured and cleaned out wounds and took off beyond-repair fingers and toes. Came home around midnight and went to a different clinic up in Petionville, which was the hardest hit portion of Port au Prince.

My church is up there, so I knew the streets pretty well. People were everywhere. Dead people on the side of the road, covered by blankets or sheets. People with eyes glazed over because no one understood what had happened. People walking somewhere, anywhere away from the devastation… only there is nowhere to go. Buildings that I have seen every Sunday since August are completely grounded. People trapped inside.

Got to the clinic and immediately started stitching up a 15 yr old girl’s head. It was a 10inch gash from her house collapsing on her. She was also missing her left hand, but I had to stop the bleeding from her head first. I worked on her head and hand, stitching in the dark, for about 2 hours. Then I moved on to the pile of people outside the gate. People kept coming and coming.

The sun came up around 6, and a rush of people started pushing themselves into the clinic for help. Everyone that we saw was covered in rubble and had been trapped in houses, buildings, churches, schools all night. Gravel is not easy to remove out of Haitian hair.

Troy came to pick me up at 12pm-ish and I had 4 more people in line to suture. Didn’t end up leaving until 2 or something. Don’t remember really. Hadn’t slept, at that point, in 3 days, due to staying overnight in the airport and a crying visitor at my house the first night back. Anyway, I came back to the Livesays and played with kids until around 8 and slept until 2am, when the last major aftershock happened. I thought the house was going to fall down. But we are safe and blessed to still be here.

We have internet somehow this morning so we are using it as long as possible. I’m doing alright physically, but emotionally and spiritually it’s getting pretty rough down here. I have already seen so much, and it’s only day 2 after the disaster.

There have been offers to get me out on a cargo plane back to the states tonight, but I turned them all down. God has me here and I know why. I’m not going to turn and run, even though part of me desperately wants to be home. All the Livesay kids (5 of them at least) are getting out tonight and going to their grandparents, so the house will be much calmer and quieter without screaming 2/3 yr olds around!

We are in need of diesel, water and food… and I realize none of you can give us those things. So I am asking for prayer for those provisions and for stamina for the long days ahead. Know that I feel the prayers and have read all the warm wishes and am very thankful for each of you. Until I have internet/electricity again – Vivien

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