“The last time I stood on Haitian soil was in late December, 2009, a few weeks before what locals now gravely refer to as The Thing,” she writes in the Huffington Post. "When I arrived at Port au Prince airport that time, I met Molly, a 23 year old volunteer caretaker for special needs children at an orphanage, and together we braved the hilarious chaos of Haitian baggage claim. Only days later, she was dead, along with roughly 300,000 others. I thought of her long strawberry blond hair as I stepped onto the hot tarmac and my eyes shot to the large jagged cracks in the airport walls.
“Riding through town in the back of a pickup truck, I felt a stab in my gut each time we passed a mangled heap of concrete and rebar, which was so often that any building left standing appeared exceptionally strong. There is no order to the destruction, no obvious reason why one structure stood but not the nursing school next door, where all the students and instructors were buried. I couldn’t look into the pancaked layers of heavy concrete without holding my breath and wincing. It’s no wonder so many died. They had no time to run before the world came down in giant, solid, sheets of rock. Here and there, climbing amidst the mountainous crumble, children flew kites made from plastic bags on pieces of string. Life must go on.
“Our commitment to providing education for the poorest children is what drives us forward as the country begins to rebuild. The children in our sponsored schools have suffered trauma that would destroy you and me, and yet they somehow find a way to show up in clean uniforms, eager to learn, sometimes in sweltering tents that will serve as classrooms until the students once again feel safe stepping under a roof. Our responsibility is to make sure they are fed, healthy, and safe while receiving an education that will encourage them to rise to their potential as leaders, so that Haiti’s brilliant minds are no longer left untapped.
“APJ needs funds in order for the schools to stay in operation and to improve in the ways we know possible. We are unusual in that we use 100% of donations to support our programs, skimming off nothing for administrative costs… I am proud to ask for your help with this important undertaking.”
Read the full blog here.