Believe it or not it was a year ago today that we all learned about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. I vividly remember watching the news, which I typically don’t do, feeling like I needed to watch because I felt so very helpless. And for days, maybe even weeks we watched, but then time went by and other news stories began to dominate and it dropped of our radar. We had given our money and said our prayers and there just didn’t seem like much left for us.
When I went to the Dominican Republic with World Vision earlier this year one of the mornings was spent at an area with Haitian refugees. The described what life was like in the days after the earthquake. The family we spoke to were unable to find their son for three days. THREE DAYS. Can you imagine as a parent what that would be like. Searching through the rubble of your children’s school, praying they were somehow alive.
A beautiful Haitian girl who loved to have her picture taken. Photo courtesy Amanda
So, they fled their country and went across the border searching for a new life for themselves and their families. But here is the thing. In the Dominican Republic, they have no status. Because they aren’t citizens there they have no rights, no access to education, no access to governmental programs. They essentially don’t exist in the system. Yet this life was better than the one the had in Haiti. This life, living in the slums and having no rights, was the preferred life.
I was thinking about that today as I was trying to arrange my schedule around Silas’ naptime. Things were interfering today with his routine and it was causing me all sorts of stress because I am a firm believer in sleep and routines. What a first world problem to have. I am not remotely knocking the need for routines and sleep schedules, clearly kids do better when there are both. But in many parts of the world stability is so far off the radar. A regularly scheduled nap is hard to come by when you don’t have a place to lay your head.
So as we come upon the anniversary of the quake I was thrilled to learn about the Heart of Haiti Project. Through a partnership with Macy’s, Heart of Haiti offers artisan-crafted decorative arts and jewelry for sale. But the coolest part is that all income from sales of the products helps provide for the artisan’s family’s nutrition, educates children, and brings access to healthcare. One of the most important things I learned in the DR is that these people aren’t looking for handouts, they want to feel worthwhile again. So for me, the most important thing this project does is help to restore the artisan’s dignity.
The products are very eclectic and at varied price ranges so I really think there is something for everyone. I personally am loving this jewelry hanger.
I think the idea of gifts that give back is a powerful one. One of my favorite gifts from this past Christmas is a scarf that was made by artisans in Africa and every time I wear it I think about a woman halfway across the world who was positively affected by someone’s gift to me. I love finding easy ways to give to those in need and this totally fits that bill. I hope you will check out their line and think of it next time you need to grab a gift for someone.
I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own. This post is linked up to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.