Our tickets are purchased, we got our shots yesterday, we’re collecting school supplies and gifts for the kids … Haiti here we come!
A little bit of background for you. About 1 ½ years ago, I (Susan) was in Miami on business, when I met a very interesting gentleman on my way back to the airport. He was my taxi driver. We became instant friends and shared an interest in the importance of education worldwide. When I returned home, we continued to communicate through email and by phone. Pastor Carsel, as he is known, is from Haiti, and I came to find out he had opened a school in his home town of Pignon, Haiti. His school has many needs – school supplies, buildings, food, money for salaries, but mostly water. With about 1 billion people worldwide lacking access to clean water, and 3.5 million people dying from water-borne disease each year, it is truly a global problem.
Since that time, Tim and I have helped where we can, sending school supplies and Christmas gifts with some help from friends and family. But as I said, the greatest need is for water, so that has become our focus. My Rotary club (Oakhurst Sierra Noon Rotary) has become involved and President Fern Facchino and President-Elect Victor Weitzel have made the commitment to raise funds through Rotary’s matching grant program. I have been in contact with a member of the Pignon Rotary Club so that we can make that happen.
So we’re off to Pignon, Haiti in just over a week. We fly to Miami on August 15 to meet Pastor Carsel and then onto Haiti the following morning. The first day we’ll spend seeing the destruction caused by the earthquake in Port au Prince and then fly on to Pignon. Each year, Pastor Carsel has a summer program at his school and we will be lending our hand to that. But more than that, we both feel that to truly grasp the situation, we must see it firsthand. I’m very excited to be making the trip and I understand from Pastor Carsel, that our arrival is much anticipated. I know we’ll be well cared for and that it will be a life-changing experience.
Preparing for it has been an experience in itself. Guess we waited a little too long to get the Tetanus, Hep A & B and any other shots they recommend (rabies, typhoid, etc…). Apparently that should have happened a month in advance not 10 days! Oh well, we’ll have some immunities & we’ll just have to stay away from dogs, skunks & rats.
With any luck, we’ll have internet access while we’re there and continue to update you all through this blog. In the meantime, if you’d like to lend your support, we’re taking as much school supplies as fit in two suitcases and if you’d like to add to that, just leave us a comment below.