Tag Archives: aid

Haiti

16 Jan

My friends Mike and Erin Lancer have been working for several years to adopt an adorable three-year old Haitian orphan boy whom they’ve named Geoffrey. I’ve been tracking their progress on Facebook and before the earthquake happened he told me how Erin was running in the Disney Marathon in order to raise $60,000 to buy an ambulance for Haitian women to use for maternity runs. Of course, because I find sick humor in everything, I suggested that they were overpaying and should pick up a used one cheap in DR and drive it over.

So, Erin ran the marathon in 30 degree weather during Florida’s cold snap – the marathon was Sunday, she flew to Port au Prince on Monday, and the earthquake hit on Tuesday afternoon. When I saw that it was a magnitude 7, I knew it wouldn’t be good.

Haiti is a horribly poor, terribly dysfunctional third world place. There is no infrastructure upon which people can rely, and instead people in Port au Prince live a sort of off-the-grid life of subsistence. There was a very thin thread holding together Haitian society, government, and civilization, and the earthquake of January 12th was unbelievably devastating. The notion of building codes is nonexistent there.

Which goes to why the Lancers initially made the decision to adopt Geoffrey. He is an orphan in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and they quite clearly can’t save every kid, but they can save one. They’ve visited him eight times in the past few years, and they knew he was their son within minutes.

But bureaucracy is bad enough in a functioning society, and exponentially worse in Haiti. Paperwork has taken a terribly long time to get in order, and just before the earthquake, all they were waiting for was Geoffrey’s passport, so they could get his visa together and bring him home.

Now, with Haiti’s capitol completely destroyed, there are no government offices to grant him a passport and everything is thrown into disarray. While Erin, Geoffrey, and the other people at the orphanage were not harmed in the earthquake, Mike has been working tirelessly since Tuesday to get them out.

Erin finally made it out Friday on a military transport to a base in New Jersey, and then caught a flight to Buffalo, arriving yesterday. Here’s the channel 2 report of her return:

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How bittersweet – while she is physically safe and home with Mike and their two older kids, it was utterly heartbreaking to leave their young son in chaos. In a country that will literally have to rebuild its capital from the bottom up.

In the effort to get Geoffrey out, Mike tells me that he has received incredible response from Senator Schumer’s office, Congressman Higgins’ office, and Congressman Lee’s office. Mike isn’t even a constituent of Chris Lee’s, so it’s really wonderful that his office is adding its support and help.

I can’t stress enough how much I hope the paperwork can be processed so that Geoffrey can come home. But the greater story is how our government snapped to action to help get a citizen out of there, and to help the family get their little boy out, too. You can track their progress here.

The greater story is how a Caribbean country you don’t hear a lot about or visit is suddenly thrust into our collective consciousness, and while we often turn our attention to disadvantaged places far afield, there are places closer to home that are just as bad off.

And for every story coming out of Haiti that is full of hope and promise, there are many more involving incomprehensible loss.

If you can help, help by sending money to aid agencies. This is Berlin 1945.

The Lancers have highlighted these agencies for donations:

Heartline Ministries
Worldwide Village

Other agencies accepting donations and offering aid:

American Red Cross, or text “HAITI” to 90999 to add $10 for Haitian relief to your cell phone bill.

UNICEF
Save the Children
Doctors Without Borders

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A Cure for What Ails Us

28 Mar

Esmonde writes about Governor Paterson’s recent trip to Buffalo. It’s interesting that Paterson now quips about being on the “we need cuts” side of the budget process after so many years of being on the “over my dead body” side, and concludes:

“We are going to have to truncate some of our support [for Buffalo],” Paterson said. “[The mayor] and I talked about some revenue-raisers for Buffalo . . . to decrease the necessity of the state [aid].”

It means another kneecapping to a hurting region. It means more pain for the chronically afflicted.

Although this particular horse has been dead for many years, it could use one more smack with a two-by-four:

The best revenue-raiser would be to halt the unfunded mandates, lower taxes and fees everywhere, and make the region far more economically attractive than it is now.

See? How simple is that.

*Buffalopundit and WNYMedia do not condone the beating of horses, dead or alive.