Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Importance of Outreach

More and more, the need for public outreach in Haiti is being expressed, and rightfully so. The lack of medical, educational, and nutritional support is greatly lacking countrywide, and it seems the proclamation for outreach is not being heard.
I was lucky enough to witness the importance of outreach one Saturday while distributing Vita-Food to families living in and around Camp Perrin. Vita-Food is a vitamin-enriched rice that has been brought to us through USAID and Cross International.
On this day, we lugged 40 boxes of Vita-Food up to Camp Perrin, and I met families that were starving in every sense of the word. Papi (pictured right) is 83 years old and blind. Though his children are living, he has no family. He relies on the charity of his struggling neighbors to feed and care for him. He was grateful for the company we provided for a short time, and his neighbors vowed to share the 8 boxes of food we left for them.
Jeanne Perrin (pictured bottom right) is originally from Lamartiniere, but moved to Port au Prince with her family for a better chance at life. On January 12, while at the river washing her family’s clothing, her home collapsed killing her husband and four year old son. To this day, she has not been able to bury her husband. Now, Jeanne is back in Lamartiniere struggling to feed her son and herself. She complained of having stomach pains, stomach pains that are caused by not eating for four days. We left Jeanne five boxes. Five boxes were just not enough.
The final place we stopped was a small neighborhood hiding on the side of a mountain. We climbed up the red dirt path and came upon countless families- all hungry. The children pictured left, are hungry in their bellies as well as their minds. Though they are all school aged, none of them have ever attended school- their families cannot afford it. All live in straw houses, and not one child was wearing a pair of shoes. We were able to leave their families with close to 20 boxes, but it was not nearly enough.
Though our efforts were small, they were necessary. By having more of these outreach programs, more families will have to opportunity to be fed.

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