Packing for a short-term trip to Haiti can be intimidating. With that in mind, I thought it might be useful for people going to see the types of things I take.
I travel light. I plan on washing stuff out. And several items have multiple uses.
In short, I do my best to be self-contained. While I’m sure I could get just about anything I forgot I like to show up ready to go so we can concentrate on our work and not on something I need.
It takes a while to notice the dust. You feel it against your body and it burns your eyes a little before you really notice it. If you’ve ever hung drywall or torn down a plaster wall you know the type of dust… it is fine, it covers everything, you ingest it, it gets on your clothes and skin any time you touch something.
It gets on your teeth, you cannot escape the dust.
I leave for Haiti in just a few hours. I fly from San Diego to New York Friday, then have an overnight layover before flying from JFK to Port-au-Prince on Saturday morning. (Sneaking in a Mets game Friday night.)
This is my third trip to Haiti. I’m nervous & excited & pumped & anxious & giddy all wrapped into one.
And, as per the norm, I just gathered and packed everything for the trip far Thursday night. Which means I need to pick up a few items… like long pants. People in San Diego don’t wear long pants. So I’ll need to acquire some between now and Saturday somehow.
What am I doing this time?
Last month I wrote about an opportunity you have to join me for a Haiti Vision Trip this April 6-9. This is your friendly reminder that you need to register for that trip ASAP. (And if you thought you missed the deadline, you did, but God’s grace is sufficient for you to register late.)
All the cool kids are going to Haiti this April. Join me.
Nearly 3 years ago the world watched in shared disbelief as a devastating earthquake flattened much of Port au Prince, Haiti.
That night, as I tried to gather my thoughts, I summarized it into three things: Pray. Give. Go.
- I committed to pray for people effected, people I’d likely never meet, and those who responded. I committed to pray for both immediate relief, for systemic change to a country devastated by decades of exploitation, and that somehow– mysteriously and amazingly– the earthquake could be used for God’s glory.
- I committed to give appropriately and generously. As time went on that got messier and messier, but I committed to that.
- I committed that if there was a way I could go and actually help people… I’d go.
Good Friday reminds me of this song and this moment for two reasons.
- May we sing songs of freedom this weekend. Jesus came to set captives free. May we celebrate and remember as ones freed from bondage.
- As we celebrate Easter this weekend, let’s remember that Jesus didn’t die just to redeem you. He died that His people might live as children of the light. (Ephesians 5:8) May we continue to have compassion on the Rudy’s of the world in the name of the one who had great compassion on us.
A year ago the earth shook and the world changed.
Billions were given.
Tens of thousands have gone to help.
Yet not much has changed.
- The poor suffered.
- The rich got richer.
- More people died needlessly.
- The UN has effectively lied, spending money studying and asking questions while accomplishing little.
- And America sleeps in their comfy beds tonight feeling like they did something because they texted a donation to the Red Cross.
We’re left now with more questions than answers.
- If the international aid organizations aren’t going to do something, who is?
- People are stealing aid given while government pockets are filled with bribes, who will prosecute perpetrators when the government is the worst offender?
- How can we help this country get back on its feet while at the same time lessening dependencies on the outside world?
- When will the colonial view on international missions be put away and replaced with working alongside of Haitians to build housing for people in tent cities, advocates standing for justice, and training of teachers, city planners, and tradespeople begin?
- Where is the army of Sean Penn-like camp managers?
- Who will hold accountable those who make empty promises?
The answer to all of these questions is you. The cameras will shine on Haiti today. And you will feel sorry for what is going on.
Our Haitian brothers and sisters don’t ask for your pity today.
But they are asking for you to help them in ways that answer the questions I’ve posed above.
Know that the media elite will leave tomorrow; having satisfied their ratings and your curiosity, they will board private jets tomorrow and go back to New York, while children still sleep on muddy cardboard beds.
1.5 million people are asking the question, ”Who is helping us?”
The answer is you.
Turn off the TV and do something.