marbeth_haiti_borderI’ve had a love affair with Haiti for decades. I lived there for 17 years as a painter and graphic artist. My own spiritual awakening was birthed in Haiti! And the people, with their rich cultural heritage were inspirations for my artistic adventures.

My close, energetic connection with this island nation guided me at 5 pm on January 12, 2010, to turn on the TV, ( I, who NEVER watches the news),  as horrific images of the earthquake’s devastation unfolded before my eyes.

Fast forward to April 2015, when the  HBO investigative reporting series VICE, exposes the blatant misuse of the $10 billion of aid earmarked for housing the earthquake victims. I am outraged to learn that only one cent of every dollar reached the people. The investigative reporter discovers that ninety three million dollars built only 2,600 homes. Much of the money from Chemonics, a for profit company, was directed to build a world class $18,000,000 soccer stadium and multi million dollar cultural center, but no housing or other improvements in Coracol, a village in the north, not affected by the earthquake. Millions of dollars were spent building beautiful homes in a gated community for US AID employees, but almost no housing for the people who needed it.

Image is in the US public domain and taken by U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sondra-Kay Kneen.

Image is in the US public domain and taken by U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sondra-Kay Kneen.

As I move into my beautiful new home, the thought of thousands of gentle Haitians still living on the streets under plastic sheeting, without plumbing, easy access to clean water, or hope is too much to bear. I know that clean, sturdy housing can be provided for families at a very low cost – under $5000.00 for a three or four room cement block house with a porch and a tin roof. With my intimate knowledge of Haiti, I know who can get the job done efficiently.

I Skype Gladys, a trusted friend who heads an organization for Haitian children she founded thirty years ago. She’s excited! Together we are working creating a project to build houses in the South of Haiti for those affected by the earthquake.  The project we envision will have oversight.  The housing recipients will meet certain qualifying criteria. They will enroll in the technical school Gladys is building, so that they will gain literacy, learn simple administrative skills, and gain the tools to run a business. They will actively participate in building their home. It feels good!

Would you like to make a difference and be part of the Haiti Housing Project? I’m currently forming a committee to get the ball rolling!  If you would like to learn more, or are interested in being part of this exciting project, in any capacity, let me know by sending me a message through the “Contact Us” / “Let’s Talk” app on the bottom of this page.

© 2015 MarBeth Dunn and Destination Empowerment, Inc. All rights reserved

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