On this Christmas Eve day my heart aches. The pain is in layers and like an onion when I try to cut them apart and sort them out a burning occurs, though not just in my eyes… but my heart as well. Needless to say I am missing my family in New Hampshire and the depth of my need to see them runs deep. It is of the other pain I wish to speak to you of today. On this day I once again have taken to walking around the village of Bercy. It has been some time since I have walked this village that I fell in love with five years ago, my work and living locations made it difficult to do. I am now living here again and my time is my own.
My heart and mind are in anguish at what I saw and heard on this walk. Things are little improved, if at all for a majority of people here in Bercy. Houses remain uninhabitable since the earth quake, families unable to cook even one meal a day, children unable to attend school for lack of funds, children wearing barely any clothes and those clothes dirty because the is no money to buy soap and water to wash said clothes or the bodies they barely cover.
When I started visiting Bercy five years ago I brought clothes, medical supplies and seeds… after the earth quake a brought tarps and more medical supplies. But I felt and still feel that hand outs are not the way… that a hand up is. I have worked to raise one family at a time… but this is not good enough! I need to find a way to raise a village! I am tormented by my obvious lack of ability to have made a greater impact for the people of this rural village. In the depth of my anguish I cannot see a path to raise up an entire village. The people in Bercy have looked to me all these years as hope for a better future and they have become my friends. I have lived with them and like them: no electricity, no easily available water, shower out of a bucket; even as I write this I have not eaten yet today. They have prayed for me and with me. I have failed them, even though I promised them nothing, I am tormented by this apparent need. I have helped up so few and too little.
If I cried now the tears would burn my face, setting fire to the dry earth that they would land upon.
Tout moun bezwen bagay! Everyone needs things!
Tomorrow no one in Bercy will be sitting down to a large meal or an orgy of opening gifts. They will be working, they will be thankful if they get the opportunity to eat at all.
January 29, 2013
My thoughts turn once again to how to raise up a village. This thought has not been far from my mind since Christmas Eve. Bercy, a village full of people desperate to work, learn, fed and shelter themselves and their families and to move out of poverty. I believe my conclusion is Empowerment through Employment. My stance on not handing things out has not changed… and if you have read my posts on Facebook or in this or my other blogs… my view on non-profits/NGOs has not changed either. I still want to do this without the 501c3 status. Starting businesses in Bercy that will not only employee people but will offer products and services needed by the people in Bercy and the surrounding areas. I have one business plan right now that will employee 15 people by year three (if not sooner)… short term employment for the building of the structures. This business, once established and supporting itself (by year three) could then be the foundation for other businesses in Bercy. Other ideas are floating around in my head. The stumbling block is the start-up money… as it is when you’re starting a business anywhere in the world. Backers are needed, partners who see the validity of the business and the importance of building up a village through the Empowerment of Employment. A business, built by Haitians and employs Haitians… no American teams coming in to do the work. American teaching may come into play… if the need goes beyond my skills.
Think of this: A business that employees local people will not only raise the employees and their families up, but the other small family run businesses will do better because people have money to spend and then those people will have money to spend… we are raising up a village!
I know… now you are wondering what the business is and how do I know it will succeed. Stay tuned… another post to come!