FLIGHT FOR LIFE – A CASE FOR HAITI

Part 3: Why Take this Flight?

Mark Bell

 

Why Haiti?  Haiti was the poorest country in the western hemisphere before the 2010 earthquake. Still in the recovery process, after the devastation and loss of approximately 200,000 lives, it remains the poorest in the wake of other natural disasters, diseases & death.

Infant mortality remains one of the highest in the world. If a child survives to school age, it’s estimated that only 50% are able to attend.  The adult (>15 y) literacy rate is 60%. With these statistics it’s hard not to see why 60% of children abandon school before the 6th grade, leading to an even greater task of breaking the cycle of premature death and poverty.

The average Haitian makes approximately $2 USD or $138 gouds/day. When I first visited Haiti in February 2012 the exchange rate was 1 USD = 39 gouds. At the time of my most recent visit in April 2017 the rate was 1 USD = 69 gouds. Need I say more; Haiti’s recovery has been weak and slow at best.

earthquake
(Photo source: NYDailyNews.com)

Why Loving Haiti?  Loving Haiti Inc. is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) public charity. Our emphasis is Charity, another word for love, and our focus is the country of Haiti and its people. Thus, we decided on our name Loving Haiti. We work relationally alongside Haitians, in their country, striving to empower them to a sustainable, independent lifestyle.

Through our strong partnership with Pastor and Madame Francois in Pignon, Loving Haiti supports their children’s home, schools, women’s vocational sewing center, and a widows’ program. We support various projects contributing to their campus’ basic infrastructure and sustainability needs (well water, solar & diesel generated power, buildings, walls and more). We also partner with other not-for-profit public charities, such as a feeding clinic for severely malnourished infants and children. We provide micro-loans to local businesses.  In summary, as instruments of goodwill, our purpose and goals are: 1) To love and give of our time, talents and treasures as acts of public charity, 2) To help alleviate conditions of poverty and create and sustain social and economic health and wealth, 3) To provide monetary aid to marginalized individuals and organizations, and 4) To help the community of Pignon prosper, lead others and give back to their country and its people.

Why Us?  The answer is because we – both you and I – all have the potential to become difference makers for life. We just need to be “will-able” … willing and able to give of our time, talents and treasures to others as an extension of our truest and better selves.

In a world filled with both the certainty of death and the uncertainty of living, I believe most people want to make a true and lasting difference in not only their own, but other peoples’, lives. We all could use a little something and/or someone to help draw out our best, and to help us attach meaning, value and focus to what we do and say. We believe Loving Haiti is a vehicle for doing just that.

We humans do indeed live in a social-technological world where our time, talent and treasure operate in the flight, fight or freeze modes, reinforcing our cycle of breakdowns – what I call life-to-deathwhen what’s really needed are those balancing forces or cycles leading to breakthroughs – what I call death-to-life.

People committed to leading from breakdowns to breakthroughs I call difference makers. They are the ones who have asked and found answers to the question, “How can I extend myself and lead and empower others in the process of creating, differentiating and sustaining value with our time, talents and treasures?”  I believe the answers can be found in what follows:

  • Know thy purpose – to center one’s focus upon, to find value around, and to realize why they exist. I call this Truth.
  • Grow into one’s maximum potential. I call this Development.
  • Sow seeds along the way for others to follow. I call this Leadership.
  • Benefit and prosper from what you choose to do. I call this Fruit Bearing.

Difference makers also subscribe to a tenant of belief that boldly states, “We win and lose by the way in which we choose”. They know how choices, derived from thoughts and intentions, result in action that directs people’s interest.  This, in turn, influences their participation in work that creates and sustains value that stakeholders are willing to pay for, invest in or profit from.

Difference makers are literally about doing something different. The basic definition of change is “to be, or cause to be, different.”  If difference is to be successful, then what will need to change? Difference makers are willing to risk their personal significance by taking the lead and deploying their time, talents and treasures toward work that is purposeful, rewarding and worth doing for a change!

By the way, if you’ve not already done so, you can choose to be a difference maker by partnering with Loving Haiti.  You can help us continue to bring tangible acts of relief, rehabilitation and development as an expression of our love for the people of Haiti.

Why Now?   Because every movement within every moment has within it the potential to make a real and lasting difference now, which can lead to a better tomorrow and beyond.

In addition, it’s a brand new political era in Haiti. Jovenel Moise is the 58th president of Haiti as of January 3, 2017. Prior to his election, Moise was an agribusiness exporter of bananas and is refered to by many as the ‘Banana Guy’.  Here is what he has to say about his work ahead: “Together, we are going to carry out the national project to develop the country. As you all know, agriculture is my priority. You all know this, I have just said it. Agriculture needs to be modernized so as to give work to youth, women and men from the county.” (source: CNN/Reuters)

I love the word “together”used by President Jovenel Moise. That’s what Loving Haiti is about. Knowing, growing and serving – together. And together, we’ll help alleviate the conditions of poverty and create and sustain social and economic health and wealth.

presidentjovenel
(Photo source: cnn.com)

 

My hope is that, in sharing my recent contemplations about Haiti in Parts 1-3, I’ve made my case for Haiti and its people, and that you have a greater understanding of why Loving Haiti exists and what we seek to do!

 

Are you interested in learning more about Haiti? Visit our Haiti Fast Facts page!