For the past 5 years, Trail Ridge Consulting has “adopted” Haiti as one of our key global outreach areas – as the country has continued to recover from the earthquake in 2010. Jana Zimmerman, our Outreach Catalyst at Trail Ridge Consulting has coordinated with Community Health Initiative (CHI) Haiti as both a board member and volunteer coordinator of their annual five medical mobile clinics and one surgical clinic plus their ongoing community development work to assist four local Haitian communities around Arcahaie, Haiti.
As you are likely aware, Hurricane Matthew has taken its path directly through Haiti, causing catastrophic impact to the streets, homes and infrastructure of the country – making the currently challenged infrastructure almost moot.
I will be joining Jana on CHI’s upcoming visit to Haiti in two weeks to assist with recovering from the impact this storm has had on the local communities. If you looking for opportunities to help, we would encourage you to donate to CHI-Haiti, where your generous donations will go directly to supporting those communities.
For more information on the impact of the hurricane, here is a note from Chris Buresh, a co-founder of CHI…
“It has been a crazy tense last 2 days- like watching a 36 hour slow motion train wreck. I am so thankful that the communities we work in have been largely spared Matthew’s wrath. We will have a more thorough assessment in the next 48 hours, but so far we haven’t heard of any major structural damage north of Port at Prince.
On the other hand I am aching for my friends in Les Anglais who just took the 145 mph winds on the chin. The eye of the storm passed right over them. All indications from there, while spotty, are horrific. In Leogane there was also a terrible lashing by the winds and rain. I am anxious about what will be revealed by the light of day. The last time a storm this big came through 800 people died and tens of thousands lost their homes. I’m praying that there was more resilience and Grace this time.
If you want to “do something”, you should. Without question money will be the most helpful thing right now. It will give groups and people the capacity and agility that they so desperately need right now. I would join many of my friends in Haiti in encouraging you not to donate to Big Relief organizations. They are not there all the time. They don’t understand the culture, the context, the nuances, or even really the need. Donate to small grass roots organizations that have an ongoing presence in the community. They are plugged in, they can leverage local resources, coordinate with community leaders, they have infrastructure, and they have plenty of skin in the game already. We (CHI) may have needs coming up as we start to get a look around our communities after the storm has moved on but I doubt that we’ll have the greatest needs for disaster response. However I would, in particular, lift up Harvest Field Ministries (www.harvestfieldhaiti.org). They have been in Les Anglais for years. It is an out of the way backwater that nobody else has the fortitude to go to. The news outlets will never put the effort in to go that far afield, therefore there is no other help coming from Big Relief. I would also recommend an amazing group in the hard hit community of Leogane: The Children’s Nutrition Program, Haiti (www.cnphaiti.org). They know their way around and have been dug into that community for 25 years. They are also no strangers to disaster response. I worked very closely with them after the earthquake.”