Six months after the devastating earthquake struck Haiti, the plight of the island nation is no longer a lead story, but the people are as desperate as ever. Kelly Kobza, a native Palo Altan who recently returned from Haiti, will discuss the current situation and how you can help out. Having spent three months in Haiti on a self-led mission to serve the greater good, Kelly returned to Palo Alto compelled and committed to do more for the cause. (See GreaterGoodHaiti.org)
As I was winding down during my last month in Haiti, I began assessing the needs of the people, an overwhelming task, and refining my focus. There are far too many problems: leadership is vague to non-existent, infrastructure has collapsed and the earthquakes have further crippled an already lame society. Haitian people are beautiful, dignified and, yes, needy. There is a sanitation problem the likes of which I personally have never seen. Education is in dire straits and public health issues are mounting. Relief efforts are touching just the tip of the iceberg. So where does one start? Well, I intend to begin where I can, at home. My hometown is Palo Alto, though I am going to live in Haiti so that I can be there doing work I find meaningful and sustainable. I intend to invite people from Palo Alto and the region to come to Haiti, to give a slice of their time in whatever way they possibly can. I know there are people, who once they see the problems, will, as I did, begin to think about how they can participate in solutions. I can plan small actions like visiting orphanages, beach clean-ups, reforestation plantings, guest teaching stints, workshops on a variety of topics, actually, any number of activities. I’m willing, able and excited to host people who would like to make a difference. I’m asking all friends and family to stop and think, “what can I do to serve the greater good?” in this case with a focus on Haiti. I know there are those among us who are not interested in traveling to Haiti, but who would like to help. I’m asking that one and all consider how you might give, whether it is expertise, volunteering to help from this end or simply providing funds for our efforts.