I have no pictures of our hardest day in Haiti. The only pictures I have are the snapshots of the children, the babies, the parents, the doctors, and the families that I have forever burned into my memory and my heart. And how easy for me to say that it was “our” hardest day – when really it was an easy day for us just being there to witness the tragedies that we don’t have to live with daily. How easy for us to get on a plane and try to forget.
But we cannot.
We cannot begin to imagine the decisions that parents in Haiti have to make for their children. The decisions that they have to make between education and food and life and death and never seeing their children again because they cannot afford their care.
Imagine yourself and your child – at the poorest hospital in Haiti. Dead children in the waiting room who didn’t even make it in to see the doctor, babies abandoned and crying, flies being hit away by grandmother’s who keep watch over their grandchildren while the parents are at work or finding money to pay for medicines. Imagine the doctor giving you a choice for your child – either pay for the medicine to save them, bring them home to die, or abandon them so that they will be a ward of the State to get the medicine they need to live…but they are no longer yours.
We touched just a few hundred of the hundreds of thousands of children who are orphaned in Haiti. Orphans with parents. Haiti doesn’t need another orphanage. Haiti needs a way for people to make a living wage to support their families, feed their families, give their families an education to build even a stronger Haiti, to afford medicine to stay healthy, and most importantly – to keep families together.
As we walked through General Hospital – we comforted the abandoned babies, we talked with the children who hadn’t seen their parents in weeks – asking us for help finding them and wondering where they would go when they were well, we had to turn away grieving parents who needed so little money to save their child who would die without the medicine that day. We saw how the system is broken – with most Haitians making less than $400 per year – how can they afford a $40 medicine to save their child?
One company that is doing it right is Macy’s Heart of Haiti. Haitian artisans make a living and sustainable income from their incredible work – enabling them to send their kids to school, live a healthier and safer life, afford healthcare, and give hope to the next generation. And what is most important – it keeps families together. Heart of Haiti artisans receive half the wholesale price of every item they make. I love the importance of focusing on TRADE-not AID. Without a sustainable income and industry – the cycle of poverty and child abandonment will not change.
Macy’s Heart of Haiti sent me the Erzulie Cocktail Napkins to enjoy and share with you. I cannot wait to send them to someone special as a surprise gift.
If you are looking for an easy way to give back, please consider giving to organizations who promote jobs, sustainability, and families in Haiti – and Macy’s Heart of Haiti embodies that.
I will always remember the children who died, who were abandoned, who were left alone sick with no one…and I will forever honor the parents who had to make decisions that no one should ever have to make. I ask you to remember them to and work with programs that give back to long term solutions to end the cycle of poverty and child abandonment. No one should ever be without hope.
We visited a local artisan shop while in Haiti. I’ve fallen in love with their amazing metalwork. The artisans use almost all recycled material – anything they can find – for the products. The metalwork is made from recycled oil drums. It’s truly amazing.
Please follow Heart of Haiti on Facebook and consider them when making your next purchase.
“I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with a product for review for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.“