Friday, September 17, 2010

Headed to Haiti Tomorrow

Charlie McGee and I are headed to Haiti tomorrow. Charlie is my brother, and Charlene's. You'll have to ask him about that. Our calendar is full for two and a half weeks. Charlie is doing a gospel meeting at Roberta's the first week and we have several appointments related to my agenda. More on that in a moment.

Then we go to Gonaives to do some work on behalf of Healing Hands Int'l. That's stuff like building bunks, making a VOIP system work ("voice over internet protocol" - that's Charlie), and checking on some water wells and filtration systems. From there it's on to Cap Haitian to see some old friends, check out funding eligibility for a couple of orphanages for Orphans Lifeline, and check on little Magalie. See the earlier posts on this blog, If you are not aware of Magalie.

My larger agenda is to get a better feel for the relationship between Americans and Haitians. I plan to ask everyone I meet three questions, to be answered in whatever order they choose:
  1. What are the best things Americans can do that will help Haiti in the long term?
  2. What are the things that well intentioned Americans are doing that might seem to be helpful, but that are actually hurtful in the long run?
  3. What things are Americans doing or proposing to do that really will not make any difference in the long run.
It will not be a scientific sample, but it will give me a good idea of the conventional wisdom of both Haitians and Americans. I plan to compile and summarize the answers, report them here and and elsewhere and shape my personal efforts from what I have learned.

This research is prompted in large part by the earthquake, by the hundreds or thousands of rescue workers who responded, by reports of a lack of coordination among them, by the subsequent disappearance of most of them, and by my long existing goal to learn how best we can help the Haitian people without fostering dependency. May God bless me in my search.

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