Friday, February 12, 2010

A Home In Haiti

Hey, remember that earthquake that rocked Haiti a month ago? Yes, it's really been a month. Today actually.

To us, it may seem like old news. A month? So everything's better right?

In Haiti, time has essentially stopped.

You know how 200,000 people were killed and over 1 million were left homeless? And not homeless, like you think of as homeless. Homeless in a system were EVERYONE is homeless, where there really aren't shelters and places to go to NOT be homeless.

Shelters, churches, government buildings, homes, cities: Destroyed. What exists now is a landscape of homelessness.

Well, they're still homeless. In Haiti. And the rainy season starts in 2 weeks.

You thought the real disaster was from the earthquake?

It's just getting warmed up...

The common term thrown around is that people in Haiti are living in "tent cities." If you think that what they are being given classifies as a tent, you are insane.

It was announced Wednesday that the makeshift shelter that a family in Haiti will be given is a sheet of plastic which they can affix to some poles to make a roof.

That's all!

According to Lewis Lucke, US Special Coordinator for Relief and Reconstruction, "Tents are great, they're a lot better than nothing, but they basically impede the process of economic development and reconstruction."

So Haitians won't be getting tents. As reported by the AP:
Unbeknownst to the people of Marassa, plans have changed. On Wednesday, with just 49,000 of a requested 200,000 tents provided, officials announced that deliveries will stop. Foreign governments, aid groups and Haitian officials have decided that tents take up too much space and will not last long enough.
So from now until May, when they assume that they'll have sturdier temporary shelters made of wood & metal, what will be given to over 250,000 families is a sheet of plastic.


That picture was taken by Esther Havens, from Haiti. I'm sure that shelter (I can't even say it seriously) will hold up very well when rainy season begins. The ground already turns into clay-mud from a sprinkle...and these are the new ones. This is the 'good' plastic. Many other communities live under cloth sheets held up by sticks for shelter.

You can do something about this

Shaun King, pastor of aptly named Courageous Church in Atlanta, has decided that this situation is unacceptable. He's leading drives to get tents to people in Haiti. He is well connected and incredibly passionate about this. You can follow him on twitter here: @shaunking

He has built a website to run this project. They are accepting tent donations of new tents or used tents in good condition that you can mail directly to his church in Atlanta, OR you can order a tent through many suppliers that are offering discounts to his organization (links on that site).

Also, you can just donate money, and they are buying tents at or below cost from manufacturers and distributors.

Unlike in the discussion about the earthquake, there will be no reason to talk theology here when this new disaster strikes. We won't be sitting around wondering if God sent the earthquake, why he sent it, and if he didn't send it what else could it have been and on and on.

We won't be able to distract ourselves with that crap.

No, there's no passing the buck and giving responsibility to God for the disaster. This new disaster will be on us. On people.

On me. 

And on you.

We're no longer ignorant of the situation.
  • Buy a waterproof tent
  • Donate one you have
  • Start a tent drive in your community
  • Donate money to Courageous Church & A Home in Haiti directly
  • Bring awareness about this problem
  • Spread the story
  • Use your influence!

Because if you're reading this, you have influence. Much more than the people whom this is being forced on. They are going to have to accept the fate that we deal them on this one. 

There's no one to point the finger at this time.