Back in March 2006, I felt very privileged to be able to visit Haiti. I will add a disclaimer; I didn’t go to Port-Au-Prince or any of the other large cities, but rather to a private resort operated by Royal Caribbean International called Labadee.
However, any ideas I had that this stop would be just like any other was dispelled when I met my tour guide for our walking tour of the area. His name, unfortunately, escapes me now, but I’ll call him Daniel. Daniel was a young man in his early twenties, and he was entrusted with telling us about the history of Haiti in the span of just over an hour! We heard about how seriously Voodoo is taken there, how the unemployment rate in the country is eighty percent, and about how working in Labadee for Royal Caribbean is considered to be one of the best jobs you can get in the entire country. Daniel was one of the lucky ones; the mere fact that he could speak English attested to the fact that he had been given opportunities that the vast majority of Haitians do not get and never will.
When I heard about the devastating earthquake that shook the country, I immediately thought of Daniel and all that he had fought through to accomplish what he had done. I pray that he has gotten out of Haiti since 2006, but if not- Daniel, I hope you are all right and that your family is safe as well.
If you would like to help Haitians affected by the recent earthquake:
This link will connect you to cbc.ca and a verified, registered, dependable list of charities that are accepting donations. Unfortunately, at time like this, there will be people that will try to scam you out of your money. Before you give to ANY organization, call their 1-800 number and verify that the information given to you is correct. Be VERY wary of any organization that contacts you by mass e-mail, phone, or any that does not have contact information readily available.