Somewhere around the time I last blogged I saw a documentary about Haiti and the fact that there are still so many people living in extreme poverty. I don't typically watch documentaries but this one caught my attention and touched my heart. I called my mom during the show and we watched it together and we cried together and we promised we would see how we could help.
I started reading news and books on Haiti, I really knew so little. One book ("Haiti - Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation" by Philippe Girard) was hard to put down and I don't like reading about history! Then I brainstormed with some friends on how I could help. Some people were immediately wary about anything actually being achievable in Haiti - with its financial black holes, unaccountable NGOs, corruption and the lack of a social welfare programs. I know it's a tough situation but my gut and my heart also know that there are people of all ages (including the forgotten elderly) that deserve my attention. I also got several "I'm proud of you" compliments from family and friends that know this is a tough one and that as unknown as the path may be at least I will give it a try.
The first step I took was getting in contact with a Haitian pastor that worked with my mom a few years ago. He is on the board of a small non-profit that helps Haitians in three ways: a medical clinic, sponsoring school students and have done some micro donations to help families become self-sufficient.
I met with the President and was impressed by this strong woman. Maud was born in Haiti, moved to Canada when she was 20, became a registered nurse and a successful woman. When she was about 40 years old she went on her first aid trip to Haiti (with a group of nurses). She has not stopped helping since and now lives in South Florida. Pictures one of Maud's 2011 trips:
|Because of Maud's career, she has been fortunate in securing medical supply donations.|
|Pride, hardship and determination visible in this woman's beautiful face and attire.|
|Kids receiving school supply donations.|
I feel like an ember has lit up inside of me. I am excited to make a difference in the world - no matter how small. I have also started helping another organization that focuses it's efforts in South Africa - I'll tell you more about that one another day. I truly feel it is a privilege to be able to help people. Life is a funny thing and who knows, one day I may be the one needing a helping hand...
As some of you know, I spent many years solely focused on my career (which I do not regret and absolutely loved) but one day I just realized there had to be more to life. Three years later, owning my own company, I have the flexibility to follow my gut, to give to a greater good and I am thankful and blessed to be able to do so. And I am also so blessed to have a mom that not only encourages me to follow my heart but is willing to jump in too!