Four Long Years

It’s four years,¬†today, since the big quake in Haiti. A friend who had never heard me talk about that day brought it up yesterday. Talking about it again, after quite a while, really brought something up in me. I couldn’t help but relive how it felt to be there, in the thick of it, with the distictive smell of smashed concrete blanketing the country. I’m proud of many of the things we’ve done together, but also can’t help but look at what we haven’t accomplished yet. Since the earthquake, our team has built...

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Generosity, Money, and Abstraction: Julian’s story

There’s a lesson that’s been repeated so many times it seems a little clich√© – “Give someone a fish and you feed her for a day. Teach her to fish and you feed her for a lifetime”. This lesson is abstract but very much connected to what’s going on in Haiti. It’s a lesson that gets repeated a lot… possibly to the point where we get annoyed at hearing it yet again. I think it’s repeated so often because year after year, decade after decade, century after century, do-gooders like myself still...

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A River of Trash

These are canals in the Port-au-Prince area. I know in much of Haiti the canals serve the dual purpose of supplying water for bathing/washing clothes and to allow water and wastewater (ew) to flow to lower ground; I’m not sure anybody uses these canals for bathing/washing though. Only the richest parts of Haiti can afford door to door trash removal services like we have most places in the USA. Haiti serves as a great example of the problems with single use drinking containers and other disposable plastic items – once you’ve...

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Do No Harm? Bring Love into the World?

Some of us, striving for ways to solve problems such as the ecological problems in Haiti, look for root causes. And there’s almost always something humans did – people we could blame, if we like. One way of looking at the world is to say that people should avoid doing harm to others. A quite different way is to ask people to create as much love around them as they can. I don’t think the “do no harm” philosophy is a bad one, but I think in many ways what we humans want out of our lives is not just to avoid hurting...

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Unequally Yoked with Unbelievers

I was reading the book “Three Cups of Tea,” about Greg Mortenson’s work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, after having discussed with a friend the idea of being “unequally yoked with unbelievers“. The “unequally yoked” phrase, as I interpret it, refers to the fact that you can cooperate with someone who believes differently from you, and they may take advantage of the effort you put in, and take their energy elsewhere to accoplish their own goals which may have nothing to do with your own. I’ve...

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The Power of Water

These photos give a little bit of a view of the incredible power of the river Momas. In these photos it’s higher than it usually was while I was there, but it’s nowhere near the water level it reaches when a hurricane comes. In the photo above, you can see a dark brown spot where the river has rapidly eaten away at the gravel wall put up as a temporary erosion control measure. In the bottom photo, you can see the force as the river falls six feet over a concrete barrier and hits the bottom of the barrier, and creates an eddy and...

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