We witness a miracle each time a child enters a life. But those who must make their journey home across time and miles, growing in the hearts of those waiting to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny. And placed among us by God's own hands.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Urgent Help Needed in Haiti

I hate to follow a positive post with a negative but that is the real world so here it goes. A well known fact is that Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. What few people know however, is that Haiti now also ranks at the top of all countries for death rate (percentage of deaths per 1,000 at mid year). Part of this is due to the earthquake that decimated the tiny country in January, but it is also contributed to by disease and famine. Seriously this makes me sick. The fact that the country with the worst death rate in the world is only a skip away from the United States is startling. Even more startling is their newly calculated life expectancy, also the worst in the world at age 29.93 years. The infant mortality rate (number of infants dying before age one per 1,000 live births) is also creeping up with Haiti now ranking 18 out of 224 countries (just below the Congo and Ethiopia). My facts come from the CIA World Fact Book at:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ha.html

This is the reality of Haiti. Everyone I talked to in Port au Prince knew somone who had died in the earthquake or after. They lost their spouses, parents, grandparents, children, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc. Then to top that off, an estimated 1 million people were left homeless following the earthquake. The average woman in Haiti has three children, so for a moment imagine yourself living in a small brick home in Port au Prince. The earthquake hits your home and one of your children is injured from the collapse, your husband does not come home from work because he is killed. Now you have three children, one disabled and no home. You are left to live in a crowded tent city where you have to pay for your water and use of the bathroom. If you are lucky enough to find work then you must leave your children alone to care for themselves while you are gone. The heat in the tent over the summer was unbearable and water scarce. The noise never stops and the smell of burning trash coupled with dehydration leaves you with a constant headache. If your children get sick you have to stand in line all day to obtain basic medical care, if any at all. You have survived the summer and now there is news of a hurricane that may hit Haiti by the end of the week (http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/11/01/tropical.weather/index.html)

So what can you, as a average American citizen do? Perhaps more than you think. You can pray, spread the word, give a donation in place of Birthday or Christmas gifts, sponsor a child, adopt a child. Whatever it is, do something. There are many organizations in Haiti that you can support. I would however encourage you to support the smaller non-profits, the ones with less overhead and less loopholes. I would also highly encourage you to check out the organization that supports our daughter's orphanage. The orphanage, Maison des Enfants de Dieu, is struggling to pay the rent and salaries, to keep all of their employees (the nannies and cooks). These are the women who I counseled in Haiti. And my scenario above is nearly the exact scenario that many of them are living. Most were the only person in their household working and some are still living in the tent camps. Some lost children in the earthquake, children who were home alone while they were working that day at the orphanage. I could go on and on. So what I am trying to tell you is that when you support this organization, you are not only supporting the children living there, you are supporting the women who work there and their families. The orphanage currently houses 73 children with the number growing (120 pre-earthquake) and it costs around $300 a month to support each child. They currently have enough funds to maintain the current costs at the orphanage for one month.

To read a recent post talking directly about these issues written by the missionary who is working there now go to this blog at: http://www.mission82.blogspot.com/

To give, sponsor, or find out about adoptions go to: http://www.forhisgloryoutreach.org/home  OR to give the gift of LIFE for Christmas check out their online giving catalog at http://www.forhisgloryoutreach.org/christmas_gift_2010

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