That visit changed my life!
I have been fortunate to visit many countries in my life – none of this prepared me for what I saw in Haiti.
The family of six lives in a two-room dwelling. Plumbing consists of a bucket to pee in and an outhouse for other necessities. Electricity is completely controlled by the government who usually shut off power at 3:00 pm every day. For cooking, their ‘kitchen’ consists of a simple grate over which they burn coal lit by a match and a scrap of plastic.
The head of this household is Madame Fils-Aime, or simply Luciana, a truly remarkable woman. She raised her six children in this house and as if that was not enough, she took in two orphans over the years. Currently, she lives there with her daughter-in-law and four of her grandchildren.
I left Haiti forever changed. No one should live in these conditions! They live in Cite Soleil which is not only the poorest section of Haiti, but also considered one of the most dangerous communities in the entire Western Hemisphere. After learning that Madame Fils-Aime’s daughter-in-law through hard work and determination was in the process of buying a piece of land in a much safer area, I decided I needed to help.
In December, I began to raise some initial funds with the goal of building a simple, modest home for Luciana. I set a goal of $ 25,000 and solicited a few dozen immediate family members and friends. I did not know what to expect. I was overwhelmed and humbly gratified by the outpouring of support from people who simply wanted to help and believed in me. To date, we’ve raised almost $ 9,000.
I returned to Haiti in January to take the next steps. I went alone. This time, I did not use a driver. Rather, I used ‘public transportation’ and the occasional motorcycle. It was at times harrowing, but it was also worth it as I proved to myself and the people I’ve met in Haiti that I was serious about it.
In the end, I accomplished what I set out for this trip. Chiefly, I confirmed the following:
- The land is in a safe neighborhood
- My original budget of $ 25,000 is accurate and I can build Luciana a simple, modest home with indoor plumbing, electricity and an indoor kitchen (a stove fueled by propane tanks)
- I secured the support of a local builder who I first met in August and made an agreement with him to conduct the construction
The next steps of this ‘journey’ are simple, yet very daunting. In order to break ground, I need to put 50% down with the balance due at the completion of the project.
There is no other way for me to ask this than I simply need your help. Any donation will help. Where we are is the following:
- $ 3,500 to get to the 50% for the down payment
- An additional $ 12,500 due at the completion of construction
I am doing this on my own. What I can pledge to you is that 100% of every dollar contributed will go directly to the project. I don’t have overhead and all bank fees, trips to Haiti, etc. are paid by me.
I humbly ask for your consideration and I thank you in advance,
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