Michelle Obama’s Surprise Visit to Haiti

 This Tuesday, Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to Haiti. For security reasons, this trip was not made public but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. She has haters of course but who cares? I’m rebuking their hate and replacing it with our love. Why does this trip matter so much? Because like many disasters, people worldwide rush to aid a cause but over time donations begin to become less and less. We need to remember that the devastating earthquake that took and ravaged the lives of many Haitians was only 3 months ago. Although, U.S. citizens donated approximately $1 billion of aid for Haiti, there is still much more that needs to be done.

As Michelle Obama pointed out, the rainy season is nearing and Haitian people are still camping out in Port-au-Prince. Many people are living in tents and are in need of food and water. The devastation is not over. We can not let this escape our minds just because it isn’t getting the same amount of television time. The citizens of Haiti still need basic life necessities like food, shelter, and water. Some organizations like Syracuse University’s Black Graduate Student Association raised money to purchase tents for people before rainy season begins. Providing a source of shelter could prevent the spread of diseases like the flu and pneumonia. This could prevent unnecessary deaths in the near future.

Pastor Shaun King of the Courageous Church in Atlanta, GA has also started a campaign to provide shelter to Haitians. In response to the devastation, he launched a website called http://www.ahomeinhaiti.org.  By mid February of this year he raised enough money to send over 1100 tents to Haiti. He stated, “We’ve provided over 1100 tents, and let me tell you how big of a deal that is. The entire country of France pledged to send 1000 tents.” So the efforts of this Atlanta church family has already exceeded far beyond an entire “first” world country. His ultimate goal is to send 200,000 waterproof tents. Pastor Shaun King and his congregation is just one example of the work that is still going on.

Over 230,000 people died and many survivors suffered traumatic injuries. About 200,000 lost limbs and have undergone amputations. Now they are in need of further medical attention and prosthetic limbs. Members of the medical community are already starting to take notice. For example, The Shriners hospital in Philadelphia is currently offering free medical care to 3 Haitian girls that lost limbs during the earthquake.

In response to other needs, Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti has given out approximately 84,000 hot meals and 700,000 gallons of clean water. Wyclef is also building what he calls Yele village. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer that it will include a school, medical center, orphanage, kitchen, and job search assistance. This is a great start! But with all of our help more and more can be done everyday. 

I know that times are hard for everyone but we have to remember our Haitian brothers and sisters. They still need our help. So please find a way to continue donating or sending things they need. Find a local Haiti food or tent drive and be sure to participate in it. If not, start your own or donate to Haiti relief organizations online. I am definitely going to be putting some of my money aside for http://www.yele.org or www.ahomeinhaiti.org.




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