This year, we have seen an unprecedented number of natural disasters around the world. From Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston, to Hurricane Irma devastating the Caribbean, and the earthquakes in Mexico, it seemed that every time I turned on the radio, I was hearing about people suffering in the wake of incredible devastation. It is heartbreaking to think about those who are struggling to put their lives back together, and it made me think of how many Haitians fight for their lives everyday in Haiti.
We can’t plan for natural disasters. Even if we know a hurricane is coming, there is only so much you can do to prepare to try to keep you and your family safe. But when 180 MPH winds hit, or an earthquake comes on suddenly, all anyone can do it hunker down, wait for it to be over, hope the damage is minimal, and pray that in the end, help will be there when it is all over.
Life for Haitians living in extreme poverty is like living through a natural disaster every day. It is a fight for parents to afford to feed their children, and to have basic necessities like clean water, shelter, and clothes. When it comes to their health, the Haitian people are faced with the same uncertainty and fear that natural disasters cause. When a single mother living in Haiti has a child with an intense fever and she has no money for hospital fees, she is just as intensely scared for her child’s life as she would be in the middle of a hurricane.
It is a harsh reality, but one that we have to acknowledge. Thankfully, because of your support, FOTCOH is in Haiti year after year as not only first responders, but also ongoing responders. When the 2010 earthquake hit, FOTCOH volunteers were on the ground within a week. This past September, a team was at the clinic soon after Hurricane Irma, in which Haiti was comparatively spared – something that doesn’t normally happen in a country where homes are shacks made of wood and thin metal. More importantly, when the weather is calm and there are no disasters, FOTCOH is there to treat patients, giving them the peace of mind that we are reliable and care about the Haitians well being, through the good and the bad.
I am grateful that FOTCOH has the capability to be in Haiti permanently because our founders, Dick and Barb Hammond, built a strong, sustainable clinic. I am grateful that Dick and Barb started their work in Haiti more than 40 years ago, because providing healthcare on a continuous basis, not just in times of disaster, is how we will providing lasting change for the Haitian people. I am grateful, knowing that with your help, we can continue to be in Haiti for another 40 years and beyond.
Please consider making a life-saving donation to FOTCOH today.
We can’t do it without you.
Nathan Ruby, Executive Director
Friends of the Children of Haiti