Tag Archives: Haiti

Why is Haiti stuck?

Everything continues to be centered around one city while the rest of the country is ignored.

So why is Haiti stuck? Why has the tyrant Duvalier returned to a country that has not moved forward since he was deposed?  The problem seems not to be one of conceptualization but rather execution.

On the international side, slow disbursements and an approach that bypasses local and national authorities inhibits needed coordination. Donors continue to condone a "projectized" approach towards development that yields unsustainable results and inhibits long-term strategic thinking. Moreover, the Haitian Interim Recovery Commission — a hybrid mechanism designed to coordinate and prioritize post-quake investment — is still in first gear. In the meantime, timid decision-making by Haitian political leaders, the self-serving instincts of the elite, and the exclusion of poor people’s voices in policy-making restrain progress.

Send Money Not Supplies to Haiti

Haiti's poverty

Many charities are complaining that it’s impossible to sent supplies to Haiti right now.  Well that makes sense as that is what every relief organization and government agency has been saying repeatedly. 

More than three weeks after the earthquake, donated goods are accumulating at small charities, sitting in shipping limbo because of costs and a complex web of transportation logistics. The heaps of donations are evidence that many people ignored the advice to just give cash.

Estriplet and other charities opted to collect items because it has a more personal touch. She is specifically gathering donations for her hometown of Carrefour, a devastated suburb of Port-au-Prince. But it’s not clear how she’s going to get the goods there.

"We’re open to anyone who has an idea on how to do this, and we’re taking any suggestions," Estriplet said.

Almost immediately after the quake hit, large organizations said money was the best way to help. It has never been easy to get supplies into Port-au-Prince, and the tremor has made things much worse.

This is the rationale

As of Wednesday, more than $644 million has been donated in the U.S. to major organizations engaged in Haiti relief efforts, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. More than a third of the money has gone to the American Red Cross.

Still, many Haitian-Americans say they want to make sure help gets directly to people who need it.

Asking just for cash can put off, for example, schoolchildren who want to send bandages to injured victims, said Hannah Belkovic of Massachusetts-based Partners in Development, which is working to get medical supplies and other aid to Haiti.

"The connection is lost, somehow, in what they are actually participating in," she said.

You know, giving American school kids a connection to a tragedy is important but not at the expense of helping those in Haiti.  This isn’t a tragedy about us, it’s about Haiti and if cash, gold bars, or even Cadbury Easter Eggs is what is going to make the immediate difference, that is what you send.  There is going to be a decade of reconstruction ahead.  There will be times for toothpaste and deodorant to be sent, just not right now.

Add two more to the “community of communities”

My friends Greg and Jackie’s adopted Haitian kids are in Canada tonight and they are able to give their twins a new home.  After ten days of incompetence and indecision from the Government of Canada (while the rest of the world acted), things have finally worked out.  The result is that God’s Littlest Angels orphanage has two more beds and more resources to help more kids, Saskatoon has an increase in population of two, the world is a little better place for four Haitian kids today, and Mondetta will be selling a couple more Haiti sweatshirts and hoodies for the next 80 years.

The Canadian Response to the Haiti Earthquake

Update: Jason Kenney has announced the Government of Canada is expediting the process for kids who are in the adoption process.  At the same time I am hearing that this is the same thing he said a couple of days ago and he didn’t announce any details which as you can imagine, is frustrating adoptive parents considerably.  You can read the transcript of Minister Kenney’s speech here.

The CBC National is covering the issue in depth tonight.

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Some friends of mine are in the process of adopting twins out of Haiti.  Jackie works across the hallway from me and I heard her shouts of joy and shock when the e-mail came to her that her and her husband Greg would be able to adopt twins.  It was a mixture of joy and that same freaked out feeling that all of us get when we realize we are about to become parent.  They had been approved by the Province of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada but the adoption on the Haiti side of things would take a couple of years.

Around here we made plans to decorate their nursery for them (an offer they never took us up on), I lobbied Jackie to change their names to Walker and Texas Ranger, and a day has not gone by where I have overheard some excited comments about the boys, warnings about what it means to raise two teenage boys, and a general excitement for what this will mean in their lives.

When the earthquake in Haiti hit, all of us were sick and sick until we heard from Jackie that the boys were okay.  All of us breathed a sigh of relief when we heard the orphanage they were in withstood the quake and all of the kids were okay.  Within hours though we heard how important it was to get the kids out of Haiti and into custody of their adoptive parents because the resources and space the kids in the adoption process were taking up, was desperately needed by other kids.  Within a day or so, the Haitian President released the kids and allowed them to be taken home.

While the rest of the western world arranged for planes to pick up planes and bring them to their new homes, France and Canada have been dragging their feet.  Yesterday on Saskatoon’s News Talk Radio, the Hon. Jason Kenney was saying that it was just a rumor that other nations were allowing Haitian orphans in the adoption process to come home despite the images of planes flying home with children in the adoption process.  While the rest of the world is acknowledging that the Haitian government and basic infrastructure has disappeared, Minister Kenney was making statements about reviewing each case on a case by case basis and blaming part of the delay on the damaged Canadian embassy in Haiti.  In that he is right, the Canadian embassy is damaged and doesn’t have much capacity.  The same for other nations.  That is why they are loosening up the rules for kids from Haiti who have adoptive parents to go to.

popupThe United States has also loosened visa requirements and one of those planes that was just a rumor is on the front of the New York Times homepage today and children have been connected with their new parents yesterday.

A group of 53 Haitian orphans landed in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning, the first wave to arrive after the United States loosened its policy on visa requirements to expedite Americans’ adoptions of parentless children living in the post-earthquake ruins.

This isn’t just an issue of truth and spin in politics.  Last night Jackie e-mailed me with these photos.

A photo of Wilson taken on January 19th, 2010 A photo of Wilson, taken on January 19th, 2010 His name is Texas Ranger, err Wilson, and he is one of the twins.  He is on intravenous and by the oxygen mask, you know he is having trouble breathing.

I don’t know if he is going to make it, no one does but I do know there is a good family in Saskatoon who can’t take him home or be with him right now because for some reason, Canada is afraid of taking in adopted kids whose adoptions they have already approved.  The President of Haiti, has given the okay for kids to leave the country and WestJet has offered to fly down and pick up the kids.  All that is left is permission from the Department of Immigration.  Canada has a proud legislative history of cabinet ministers getting personally involved in cases like this and making bold decisions and I hope that the Hon. Jason Kenney will continue that tradition by allowing these children to come to their new homes.  Not only may it make a difference in Wilson’s life but the space and resources he is taking up is desperately needed to help other children.

These kids need your help.  Please e-mail and call your local MP, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Jason Kenney’s cabinet office in Ottawa and constituency office in Calgary and post a link to your weblog, Twitter, or Facebook and keep the pressure on. So often tragedies like this are so overwhelming that they lose a face.  Well, this one has a face, a twin brother, a family.  He also has a shortage of food, water, and medical supplies.  He doesn’t need to die in Haiti.  There is a family, a way to Saskatoon, and the resources to bring him into this “community of communities” we call Canada, all we need now is the political will to make a quick decision that will save lives.  Help Wilson with that.

Contextless Thoughts

  • Some friends are adopting out of Haiti right now.  Their kids survived but unlike almost every other western government, the Canadian government is not allowing adopted kids to come home to their adopted parents.  Of course the orphanage where the kids are is overwhelmed by new cases, running low on supplies, and the resources that could be used to help new kids are being used up on kids that should be allowed to come to Canada.  WestJet has offered to pick up the kids while Jason Kenney talks about process and puts down what other countries have done.  Since when is process more important than getting starving at risk kids to parents who have already been approved for adoption by the provincial and Canadian governments.
  • I managed to jab myself with a dirty needle.  Three words for you.  Post-exposure prophylaxis.  I am a really low risk and no fluids seemed to interact but it is frustrating.  The side affect has been a splitting headache which is tolerable.
  • I my dental regimen of only going to a dentist when the pain becomes unbearable isn’t paying off that well.  I was at Wal-Mart on Saturday when I felt like I had been hit in the face by Elin Woods.  I bought some extra strength Advil, took four, came home, took two more, feel asleep and woke up to a swollen face.  The pain is gone but the swollen face still exists. 
  • There has been a lot of cool stuff being posted over at Jordon Cooper Outfitters.   There are several fun products being looked at this week.  I have posts set up until the middle of March which means there isn’t much pressure to do anything on nights I would rather nap than look for cool stuff.  Of course in looking for cool stuff, I find even more cool stuff to post which is kind of fun.  One I have enough stuff posted, I plan to start putting together some feature articles about them which is the next step in creating the site.  If you like the site and want to contribute, submit your product and I’ll get it online.

Earthquake in Haiti

Earthquake in Haiti photos

The Big Picture has a series of photos that captures some of the devastation in Haiti

If you want to help, you can securely donate to Salvation Army relief efforts here or head down to your local Salvation Army Centre or church and just designate your donation for Haiti relief.  The Salvation Army also has a photoset which shows much of the devastation on the ground in Port au Prince.