Archive for February, 2010

UN distribution

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remnants of a UNICEF school

This school is adjacent to our school project and now serves as a distribution point for disaster aid

Haiti Update 1

I am writing from my mobile, so will keep this brief.

As I sit on the roof of the HODR compound, it is easy to find examples of disaster-induced misery or incredible human resiliency. We are surrounded by makeshift camps of tents (referred to as Internally Displaced Peoples – IDP camps). Nearly 100% of people are living in camps or temp shelters on their properties, because even the few remaining structures are not trusted by the residents.

In the IDP camps, you hear children laughing and playing, people singing, and see signs of routine life.

There is also a large soccer field immediately outside our walls and I am watching dozens of men and boys playing freely.

Today was the first day on the job sites and our primary role is to clear rubble down to the foundations, which make the families eligible to receive new semi-permanent housing which should protect them against the rains and storms that start in late spring. One German organization that plans to provide 1400 of these is building a prototype adjacent to the sites we were clearing today, so hopefully we will get to see these go up while I am still here.

The Haitian people seem very appreciative of the outside help but there is also a palpable sense of resignation. When you experience these conditions and consider that it will be many years before all this is cleared away, its easy to relate to that outlook. Many people will watch us clearing home sites (theirs and their neighbors) without offering to help and sometimes resisting our invitations.

At other times, as reflected in these pictures, many family members of all ages will join in and put in hours of labor alongside us, which is extremely fulfilling.

Dinner is being served, so I will sign off for now.

Cheers.

Clearing rubble in Haiti

Its hot, and there are never ending piles of rubble to clear. The goal is to clear off one household foundation at a time so that they can have a solid place for a replacement home/shelter. The families join in to help and to recover personal items that were buried, so it is a very moving experience.

haiti airport

Departing for Haiti volunteer trip

I will be making regular blog updates about the trip to this site http://philip.kiracofe.com. You can also follow Hands On Disaster Response via their website or facebook

Here are some early pictures of the efforts there, along with the site where we will be staying. http://www.flickr.com/photos/hodrorg/sets/72157623145410261/

This trip is in honor of Aunt Helen, whose life and compassion have been an inspiration for me. As she nears the end of her time here, this is a recognition that her legacy continues on, and is reaches far from the covered bridges of her home town.

Help Blair climb Rockefeller Center to support #MS Society

I was signed up to do this fundraiser with a group of friends this weekend (perfect Sunday morning in NYC, eh?).  When I got invited to join HODR in Haiti, Blair generously volunteered to step up (get it) in my place.  She has to raise $250 before Sat, please help by clicking here

We know that MS doesn’t slow down when the economy does. People with MS and their families will continue to turn to the National MS Society perhaps now more than ever before and we must do everything we can to prepare to help each one of them address the challenges that they face. The National MS Society will use funds collected from Climb to the Top New York City to not only support research for a cure tomorrow, but also to provide programs which address the needs of people living with MS today.

Thank you!


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