The world never rests. The US is going insane over election month, reducing the media to a circus of slander and tall tales, blotting out all real news. People seem to be losing all sense of decency and moral integrity as they hurl insults at one another, publicly and privately. We are reminded daily what a selfish, navel-gazing people Americans are at risk of becoming. We are reminded, nay, pounded by, the fact that this is a country that permits racism and sexism to run rampant in our communities and our government, with no accountability for those who insight violence. We are reminded that the public seems interested only in reality-TVesque “news;” entertainment, really. Look: only weeks after Hurricane Matthew cut a path of devastation through Haiti, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and facing a season of famine, we see little or nothing of it on the national news.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve not only been avoiding politics, breaking in the new oven, preparing for high season, planning new winter hours, and processing the last of the mangoes…but also acting as a communication point of sorts for Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti, the charity that Mandy (my mother) runs, while she was on the ground in Haiti weathering Hurricane Matthew and assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath. It’s been hectic! Mandy returned home last week, so she’s now in contact should you still have any questions as to how to help with the relief programs. Haiti faces not only a huge amount of rebuilding work, but also a season of famine due to crop loss from the hurricane, and water contamination which will result in major epidemics. To give you a brief picture, I’ll share a post I wrote in the days after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, seeing the devastation of Southern Haiti, we are all at a loss for words.
To many, this is just another tragic story in the news, of an impoverished country dealing with yet another natural disaster. I think it’s very important that we remember that these are people – hundreds of thousands of individuals – who have struggled and worked hard with what little they’ve been given to rebuild their lives after the devastating earthquake of 2010. They were nowhere near done rebuilding when Hurricane Matthew swept their lives away once again.
Hearing some people’s comments about Haiti, I feel that I need to stress that these were natural disasters. These were not any fault of the people or their country. No one could have been prepared for these events, and certainly not a nation already suffering such intense poverty. These people are not lazy, they are not weak, they are not hopeless. They would like to build stable lives and a functional economy, things that we often take for granted. They deserve our full and whole-hearted empathy, and they need our help.
Rebuilding will be a long process, starting with securing emergency food, medical, and building supplies. Communities are gathering together, helping each other, but when everyones’ losses are so great there is little to go around. There will be no crops from Southern Haiti this season, and it will take many years for the fruit trees to grow back, for lands flooded by storm surge to be viable again, and for livestock to be replenished.
Once again, it is time to rally for the people of Haiti. Not just today, but for the coming weeks, months, and years as they work to overcome this devastation.
Many non-profits are working on the ground in Haiti. If you’re in a position to help, please do. Donate to whichever organization is closest to your heart, but keep in mind that the smaller “grassroots” organizations generally have far lower overheads and are able to work more quickly in their communities due to less bureaucracy than some of the larger aid organizations.
In closing, I will reiterate what I wrote as Hurricane Matthew first landed in Haiti when asked how people could best help:
Monetary donations are always the most useful in situations like this. It takes too long (weeks if not months) and costs too much to transport physical items in a time of crisis, when roads, airports, etc are damaged. There will be building materials, food, etc available in Haiti, the main challenge is being able to acquire them in a timely manner. Monetary donations allow for immediate purchase of locally sourced materials for repairs, along with bulk quantities of basic food items for distribution through emergency shelters (schools, churches, etc). This also helps to stabilize the economy, by purchasing locally rather than flooding the market with donated imports.
If you feel moved to donate to Mandy’s non-profit, Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti, Inc., please follow the link below – the yellow donate button is on the left as you scroll down. All donated funds will go directly into emergency food and medicine to be distributed through the school and building materials to begin repairs on homes in the area. Most homes on the island lost roofs and sustained other damages.
In support of Good Samaritan of Haiti’s post-hurricane efforts (check out their facebook page for real-time updates and details) Nidulari’s first Sunday Brunch will benefit the organization, with 25% of proceeds going directly into their famine relief fund. Please come out to the rainforest on Sunday, October 30th 10am-1pm to eat great food and support GSF’s important work! Mandy will be here to answer all your Haiti questions, and will have Haitian arts and crafts and her self-published Creole children’s books for sale. Queen CariBEE will be here with preserves, soaps, and honey! You’ll also get to meet our newest farmers, Amelia and Wes, who’ll soon have organically-grown greens, herbs, and more available for purchase through Nidulari!
It’s going to be an exciting season here at Nidulari! More soon!
Excellent letter. I will share it with friends and family. Have a delicious and rewarding Sunday brunch! Proud of you for building awareness about the desperate plight of our neighbors in Haiti. Best to you, Mandy (and Jan, if he’s there).
Thank you Radha! It’s really important to keep up the momentum.