Haitian Orphanage March 31, 2010

Yes, we are back safe and sound from Haiti. During our brief stay we surveyed eight orphanages, all unique, with varying degrees of needs. Some would benefit from paint and some plumbing fixtures. Bunk beds so that kids didn’t have to sleep on the floor of a tent. Other orphanages are so ravaged by the earthquake that naked children sit in the dirt eating meager portions of rice with their hands from metal bowls. There is not one orphanage that is not deserving of our assistance but our resources are limited. These decisions are tough.

It could be that as you read this I’m headed to Haiti via Dallas and a night stay in Miami. Turns out it’s spring break time and most of the flights to Haiti are booked. So the only flight I could get was an early a.m. from Miami to Haiti which meant the overnight in Miami. So there you have it Haiti is officially a spring break destination (not). And I’m headed to South Beach (maybe.)

So for those of you wondering why I’m blogging to the Trilogy site about a trip to Haiti the answer is simple. Trilogy is a design and build company and I’m going to Haiti to design and build. Actually, our next project is in the planning stage and this trip is part of that planning process. We are going to interview a number of distressed orphanages and decide which one to take on as our next project.

And I’ll be blogging from an iPad and an iPhone so we’ll see how that goes. I just don’t want to take my laptop to Haiti and risk having it damaged or go missing. We’re going to be moving around between multiple destinations and the lighter we travel the better.

So here is a photo of Mike M. And some of our “kids” taken just last April. More to follow. Please visit the Haiti Orphan Rescue website and give what you can.

One week from today, on March 29, I’ll be headed back to Haiti with my partner in Haiti Orphan Rescue Program, Mike Mahon. We’ve spent the last months raising money for future orphanage reconstructions. We’re looking forward to seeing our good friend Pascal Bain, the director of the Melissa’s Hope Orphanage, the first HORP project completed last year. This mission will take us through the suburbs of Port Au Prince as we search for the next orphanage project and Pascal, fluent in both English and Haitian Creole, will be assisting us.

Jean Pascal Bain Director MHO

Here are before and after photos of our first Haiti orphanage project, Melissa’s Hope Orphanage.

Melissa's Hope Orphanage Before

Melissa's Hope Orphanage after

More than 500,000 children remain in orphanages and shelters after the earthquake of January 2010. Our mission at HORP and as builders is to help the orphanages directly by improving the living conditions for the children and caregivers who reside there. Here’s how to learn more about Haiti Orphan Rescue Program.

As many of you know, I made a commitment to Haitian orphanages after the earthquake of January 2010 and soon after found myself in Haiti with my friend Mike Mahon, rebuilding an orphanage. I stayed for three weeks and I can tell you, the time flew by and when we left, 30 kids and caregivers had safe electricity, running water and flush toilets, brightly painted walls, mosquito-free screened in sleeping areas, and wonder of all wonders, internet access. Now some of the kids have Facebook pages and we regularly connect through the internet. We decided to call our organization Haiti Orphan Rescue Program because, indeed, there are between 500,000 and 1,000,000 orphans and displaced children in Haiti and most of them live in conditions from which they need rescue.

The amount of paperwork needed to start a non-profit in the U.S. is quite formidable, but we’ve achieved our tax exempt status and have been taking donations. We’ve raised enough money, finally, to return to Haiti at the end of March. During this short stay we’ll be looking at several orphanage projects, choosing which one will be our next. We’ll also be solidifying our relationship HORP Logowith the organization we helped found, Union Des Orphelinos Haitian en Action (Union of Haitian Orphanages in Action) so that they may continue to grow their roster of orphanages. Once we have chosen our next project we will return to Haiti, hopefully in May, to rebuild and rehabilitate another children’s shelter.

I am frequently asked why I chose Haiti and its children as my mission. Haiti had an earthquake, and lost many of its buildings. Many of the  remaining buildings need rehabilitation. So there’s is a lot of work in Haiti for people like me who know how to build. Organizational and management work, because Haiti has plenty of labor. That labor just needs supervision to tackle the millions of projects that Haiti needs to undertake in the near future. Projects that are essential to Haiti’s recovery and growth so that it may emerge as a stable, modern nation. I felt, and many share my conviction, that the children of Haiti are its future. And many of those children live in very bad places under terrible conditions. Kids were particularly vulnerable when the earthquake hit. So I decided to focus on orphaned and displaced children. Mike and I are basically builders who have taken what we know to another country to help kids. It’s really that simple. But we are not alone. We are well supported by our newly elected Board of Directors. Yes, we plan to grow HORP because if the last year has shown us anything, it’s shown us that our approach really has a positive impact on the Haitian children with whom we have had contact.

We are thrilled to be going back at the end of March. I encourage you to visit the HORP website website and blog to learn more about Haiti Orphan Rescue Program.

Yes, it’s time to travel to Haiti to rebuild and remake another suffering orphanage. Mike Mahon, my partner in Haiti Orphan Rescue Program, and I will be traveling to Haiti end of March for a final look before choosing our next renovation project. A build project in Tabarre we’d launched was recently picked up by the UN, which was wonderful news. And it leaves us with the time and funding for another orphanage renovation. We hope you can support us in our efforts by going to the HORP website where you can find information about HORP’s Haiti success and how to contribute. We’ve managed to make it easy through our Pay Pal account, but we’re always happy if you send us a check through snail mail as well.  So go here and DONATE please. In truth, there are thousands of orphanages that need our help and we could be doing SO MUCH MORE. We just need the funding. So tell your friends, your neighbors, family, everyone you know that that you know of a charity that is REALLY making a difference in Haiti. Haiti Orphan Rescue Program is an 501c (3) tax deductible non profit. Help us help Haiti’s Kids. Visit us on Facebook.

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