i'm home!! i was in haiti.

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moswen

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hey everyone, if you noticed i haven't posted for a week, it's because i just got back from port a prince, haiti, building 24 bunk beds and other things. i had intended to get on and post pictures just now, but my camera is not in my bag... it went home with my dad. so anyways, i decided to heads-up you for some pictures of my experience!! it was humbling, and sad, but it was good for me to be there. i will go back --as soon as i can-- hopefully before december to build a house around a cement block making machiene, to shield the workers from the sun. i don't watch the news because it is always just sad, so this experience was like another world for me. for those of you like me who don't know haiti's condition, there are problems upon problems in haiti, beginning with the government and working your way down. you cannot get a contract for anything anywhere, but if you can, the contract holder can do anything he/she wants at any time of his/her choosing... basically making a contract a worthless piece of paper. an orphanage that we worked at had paid someone to put in a well, and the workers put a well in. however, they neglected to ever show up halfway through and left out about 20ft of pvc piping and a submersible pump to make the well actually bring water anywhere! so we went to echo depot (home depot) and spent $2,500 US DOLLARS on some electrical wire, pvc pipe, some elbows and joints, and a very very small submersible pump.:( and got the well working. the plumbing in haiti (if you have it) works on gravity, so the orphanage that housed 72 children had a cistern on the top of the house and they hauled up water from a two story building every day in 5 gallon buckets because there was nothing else they could do.

people are afraid to re build, because almost no one owns the house in which the reside, and they are afraid if they even had the money to rebuild (which i believe it is safe to say that less than 10% of them actually do) then the owner of the house will simply oust them out to someone who will pay more for a secure house. tent cities are still thriving with people, where they were supposed to only last weeks.

the government is still inspecting housing, green paint means you're good to go, yellow there are some concerns, and red means don't move back in.

haitian money is called groud (pronounced gooood) and there are about 40 groud in 1 us dollar. most haitians make 1 us dollar a day. the minimum wage is supposed to be 5 us dollars, but the government does nothing to enforce this. can you imagine trying to support your family and your children on one us dollar a day? it is impossible, even for the haitians. i met a man named anthony who actually graduated their college (basically it is13th grade there, called fine, pronounced fy-nye) and he barely was able to get a job. he graduated with agriculture, because the people in haiti do not even know that cow poop makes your crops grow. the soil is depleted and no one can afford to rotate fields and no one knows how to replentish their soil.

the biggest problem that i saw in haiti is ignorance. the people there don't know the most basic things. i was with a man named harry who is a doctor, who went down a week before i did and had the honor of being invited to teach the last week of schooling for 24 nurses who graduated on september 5th. these 24 nurses honestly believed that if you drink a glass of very very cold water after you have sex then you will not get pregnant because the water will freeze the sperm. they also believed that pressing on your stomach when the man ejaculates will prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. they also believe that if you sit in a bowl of crushed lavender leaves and warm water the lavender leaves will kill the sperm. i find it hard to understand that they cannot figure out that these methods are not working.... however, most families in haiti are upwards of 6 children, i met one man who had 8 brothers and sisters, and another man who had 9 children. this is obviously where one reason that overpopulation and lack of jobs, and poverty and inability to feed your family comes in. most educated people understand the need for small families however, and the need to be able to support your family before you have one, so i did meet some people who only had two children, or who only wanted to have three children... &etc.

however there is something worse than knowing that there is a need somewhere, because we as americans like to send money that way and say we helped. money won't help the haitians. most of it just ends up going to the richer while the poor are worse off than they were before... haiti needs action! i went with hope for haiti's children, an organization that has been in port a prince for 15 years, and they have plans that have been in motion since before i came down there that actually involves action... they're getting a concrete block making machiene to provide jobs for unemployed haitians, and allowing them to build houses for their families with the blocks they are making, on the land that hope for haiti's children owns, so they cannot just get kicked out. they're informing the haitians they work with about basic knowledge and skills to help them out of poverty.

haiti was a terrable place before the earth quake, and it is worse now, but it is easy for us to forget what happened less than a year ago. there are people who will go hungry tonight, all over the world. i am trying not to make this sound like i'm scolding anyone or making anyone feel sad, but it is just simply the truth, and before this week it was so easy for me personally to know that fact and move on. but there is a need, if you have a heart for haiti or somewhere besides haiti, please just remember, someone somewhere could use a little something! pics coming soon!
 

Yvonne G

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OMG! What decided you to go there? Glad to have you back safely.
 

Isa

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Wow Rebekah, that is so super nice of you to go help. I heard some stories and they were not happy ones :(. Were you safe there? Where did you sleep, in a hotel?
 

jdawn

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That is so wonderful that you went to help. My husband's SAR team initially sent quite a few members and pilots and supplies (not money) to assist and have been making a number of trips since. It is as you described. Thanks for your post.
 

moswen

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yes it was as safe as can be lol! we stayed at a house that hope for haiti's children had built specifically for visitors, it was a two story with a courtyard and surrounded by a cement fence, and that was topped with metal bars, which were topped with barbed wire... also there was a two story guard house built just beside the gate and we had a guard there every day, his name was mizo. we were pretty far out in the country so we usually only had visitors that we expected, however there were a few times that mizo had to shoo some people away. mizo had a dog-- the dogs there are not much bigger than miniature greyhounds (which is a good thing bc they don't get fed, they eat what they can find) but we could not figure out why haitians were so scared of such a tiny dog... then mizo told us that a 3 yr old dog is very old in haiti, as there is not a single vet in all of haiti and they usually die of disease or parasites around the age of two. so you just don't want to get bit by any dog, any size. basically they live long enough to reproduce once, maybe twice, then they die.

thanks to everyone for all the kind words, i went because my dad met ken, who is in charge of hope for haiti's children, and they needed some bunk beds and chairs and tables built. my dad's a carpenter and i'm his daughter so naturally i picked up a few skills lol... we both had our passports so we went!

i'm so glad to hear your husband goes jdawn, it is so very very necessary!!!
 

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Glad to see you are back safely. It is something special that you went to help these people in need. No there's no reason to send money because it has not reached the ones who need it. You could give to the organizations who help out there, but I wouldn't be giving it to their government. :( I feel sorry for the children and I also feel sorry because a lot of these people don't have enough to eat. It's a sad case all the way around. I was going to ask you when you wrote that you spent $2500.00 at their home depot did you really mean $250.00?
 

spikethebest

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glad you are back safe and sound. looking forward to some pics. are you going to go again? where else have you gone? where else do you want to go? if someone else wants to go, how could they do it? what is the most needed supply there?
 

ChiKat

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terryo said:
God bless you for that Rebekah! How very brave you are.

What she said!

My cousins recently adopted a toddler from Haiti- she is the cutest little girl ever :)
 

moswen

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haha, candy, no i really did mean two thousand, five hundred united states dollars!! it was a rediculous amount for what we bought. the pump was a submersible three quarter horse "red jacket" brand pump, and that was a little over $1,000 (that's one thousand dollars lol) and don't quote me on this but i believe my dad said you could buy those in the us for 200-300 dollars... this is what is meant by the rich just get richer. the average haitian cannot afford these things, obviously... and those who can are just funding someone who's richer than them.

cory! i'm definately going to go again if i can get the groud (that's haitian money, i made a joke!), tickets are $6-700 round trip and i think it's no secret my husband is prickly about his money lol!! in december my dad is going again to build a house around a machine that makes cinder blocks, and i'm fully planning on going with. i've never been anywhere else, and as for wanting, i guess i just want to go where there's a need! this was such an awesome and humbling experience, it's almost addicting to me, knowing there are people out there who truly need the help and i am actually doing something worth while for so many people.

if anyone wants to go, i guess just find a group that's going to haiti and offer your services! i know a group called "helping hands" is down there a lot and "hope for haiti's children" (which is who i went with) are also down there quite frequently. i know for sure the next planned trip is in january for hope for haiti's children, and that's a medical trip, they're sending 40 people and you don't have to know anything medical, they need lots of "runners" to get prescriptions and you can take weights and do physical examinations before an actual doctor or nurse sees them....

i guess the most needed things (that you can provide... as in besides information and jobs lol) would be food and shoes, i actually just bought 100 pairs of children's flip flops from walmart and i'm taking those with me to the orphanage if i go in december. i don't know if i've already said this but there are 72 children at that orphanage, and about 5 of them had shoes. i saw a lot of bare feet, which is dangerous in such a dirty place. lots of people get cuts and diseases and worms from going barefoot. hope for haiti's prefers to send things with you in your luggage rather than ship, as shipped items have to go through haiti's government's customs, and down there to get something out of haiti's customs you have to pay whatever they feel like telling you the fees are... as i'm sure you can guess you should pretty much be prepared to pay close to the amount that you paid when you bought the items in the first place.

and as candy mentioned, yes don't just send money down there, but if anyone actually is interested in helping and you don't know what to send, you can send money to hope for haiti's children or helping hands, those are the two that i know are doing a lot of things, and i know ken can always put good money to good use!!
 

moswen

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A FEW PICTURES IN THE "ALL OTHER PHOTOS" SECTION!
 

Laura

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wow,, how cool is all that.. and so sad as well.. so when you pack extra bagage and take that with you.. you dont have to pay extra or go thru a customs? How many extra bags can you take?
 

moswen

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well you have two bags you can check under 50 lbs plus a carry on with no weight limit, so 50 lbs is quite a lot, especially when all i'm taking is clothing, you have a lot of weight in both bags that can be used. you still have to go through customs when you go through a foreign country but i mean, they can't really charge you to walk through the line in customs... and in haiti they only xrayed our bags when we were leaving, when we arrived they only xrayed our carry on.
 
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