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Anyone who read my blogs last year will remember that I work in Haiti.  I haven’t blogged in 2010 because, well, I’m sure you heard about the earthquake.  I have been overwhelmed.

On January 12th my world was rocked.  We had contact with about 2200 kids in Haiti that we cared about, and countless friends and associates.  We have traveled there for one week out of eight since January of 2009, and our scheduled trip for January 19th of this year was the first we missed.  Our kids often go with us, and as a family we were reeling during the time it took to get news from Haiti about the kids and our friends.

Because I had been very vocal looking for summer clothes and items for the people there, when the quake hit my house became a drop zone.  Within 72 hours we had a warehouse on King Street in San Francisco, and 48 hours later it was full.  Unbelievably schools, yoga studios, churches, and individual families poured in support.  It was unbelievable.  At our peak we had five warehouses all full, and Nancy Pilosi’s office helped us secure one big enough to consolidate them (6,000 square feet) donated by the Presidio Trust.  Every fire house in San Francisco collected for us for a month, and the Red Cross listed Sirona Cares as THE organization to donate goods to.  Thousands of volunteer hours and plastic bins later we have assembled an unbelievable package of aid for Haiti.  It helped me survive those scary days after the quake until we were able to get into Haiti (on missionary planes before the airport opened) in February.

Miracles happen, all 2200 children survived.  We had losses, but we know so many who lost much, much more.  We just returned from our second trip this year, and I will go back in June to finally deliver the bulk of our aid package.  I have been the place to “shop” if you were headed to Haiti, and I have made many new friends in the process.  It has been an incredible place, balanced between the goodwill of people here and the desperate need there.  I am very excited about the distribution trip, and the final shift back out of relief and into development work.

Unbelievably we just toured the farms that were planted post-earthquake.  Although 8 of 10 farmers lost their homes, the project never fell behind.  I am in awe of the people there.  We are rebuilding schools and need a lot of help.  If it would be appropriate for a group on this site to help, I can guarantee progress reports and an ability to connect with the communities there.  The median age in Haiti is only 20, so there is great possibility for rapid improvement.  Our farming project and the work we do with kids are two facets of our work, the third is sustainable electricity development in the rural areas.

It sounds quite brainy, but it’s much more about relationships.  By being there so often we have developed really strong community ties, the people there trust us, and we will do everything we can to help their kids grow up and get educated.  At the same time we‘re working to create jobs for those kids, to break the cycle of poverty that plagues Haiti.  As bad as it has been, the world is finally looking at Haiti, and as someone who was there before I suppose I’m glad.  There is much to do.  On my Sirona Cares website I sell bricks for schools, if you‘re interested, please help me build a school!  Having support from this community would be incredible.  The first school scheduled for a Sirona rebuild: Mission of Hope, Grand Goave, Haiti.

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