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6 Months Strong

July 18, 2010

So much has happened in the past few weeks.  Yes, it has been just over 6 months since the earthquake that changed most of our lives.  I’d like to keep the focus on where we’re at with our work through a few photos that represent a myriad of work I have been engaged in on the ground here in Haiti starting with the one above.  I’ve been facilitating sponsorship of several orphanages in Port au Prince.  Many of the orphanages were effected one way or another by the earthquake.  Whether it was losing their financial support or their location being destroyed, the orphanages remain committed to giving the children in Haiti a chance.  IHH and Zakat are two organizations that I have begun this process with, and so far we will be supporting 5 orphanages.  I hope that in the next six months that number can double…

Megine, one of the orphans in Tabarre amused us all with a good joke.

The children made us all smile and were quite pleasant and upbeat. We told jokes and spent a bit of time together- all 35 of us.

Some of them have both parents, a parent, or none...in Haiti orphans are better defined by being called unaccompanied children. It is more an issue of means.

Nouvelle Vie Haiti youth Samuel coaches a participant on how to stretch and use breathing techniques to reduce stress.

Nouvelle Vie Haiti had an opportunity to do a group Breath, Water, Sound workshop at the stadium after the World Cup screening hosted by FilmAID.  For the duration of the World Cup, FilmAID provided people with free screenings, concerts ad community and youth activities after each game.  Nouvelle Vie Haiti has been hard at work and is building towards a capacity building program that will engage and train Haitian youth, enabling them to serve their country for two years.

Participants included individuals of all ages. With eyes closed and palms up, everyone at the stadium learned how to use a specific breath to relax and de-stress.

Participants practice a specific breathing technique at the "Take a Deep Breath" workshop.

Everyone was in need of a stress relief workshop, including UN, NGO, and humanitarian aid workers.  We gathered together at the UNFPA tent at the logbase for “Take a Deep Breath”.  The workshop was guided by Annelies, an Art of Living certified instructor who came from NY to help us all with our stress, providing tools on how to take better care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

I took a short trip to Cap Haitien with Alex and Eric.  The Strange Things team gathered for the final follow up of the film, post earthquake to see how the lives of street children have changed.  Above, Denick and I have a little fun with my hair and posed for photos on the boulevard.  Please stay tuned for more announcements…you all will be able to view the film very soon.

4 years later...Denick, one of the main characters of Strange Things.

Alex and Eric get shots of the city for Strange Things' follow up...

There are so many other wonderful things stirring here in Haiti.  I have been doing a bit of community based protection work with the Haiti Response Coalition.  I continue to provide advice and support to the Delmas 24 and 32 Muslim Hands emergency schools, which are still up and running!  The community schools are working hard to get their students in school, educated, and integrated into the public school system.

ORAC and The committee of Bas Gormand are also active and in progress.  Richard of RAM and I continue to meet with the local groups and are formalizing technical support and assistance so that we can begin projects that are community based and developed.  We are committed to assisting Haitian people and communities towards the changes they want to see happen.  We’re all working together and driving projects together so that sustainability and real change can have an opportunity to blossom.

Global Potential is now bringing its youth conference to Haiti next week in Bas Gormand as well!  The youth in Bas Gormand, along with myself and Frank Cohn are working together to conduct a 6-day conference and community project.  There are many firsts surrounding this conference: we’ll have Haitian youth from other parts of Haiti attending, the youth of Bas Gormand, Haitians of Dominican descent, and youth from the US all discussing how youth can have a role in the reconstruction process.  We’re all project based and so there are bound to be some wonderful developments and ideas that come out of this youth conference.  Again, stay tuned…

Its been six months and things are hard and difficult for us all, and this work that we have all committed to -Muslim Hands, IHH, Zakat, Global Potential, BDHRF, Nouvelle Vie – is too inspiring to let negativity have its place.  The negative can be seen clearly, its the positive things that we are doing as a community that lacks acknowledgment.  So 6-months later, I say keep up the good work and lets keep creating possibilities.

Love & Light

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