A small group of women enjoyed a wonderful evening last night thanks to Laura Griffin of "Your Spice of Life". Guests were treated to everything from appetizers to dessert--all prepared with Laura's incredible line of spice blends. After guests had an opportunity to purchase their own spices for summer cooking Laura donated a portion of the proceeds to TLC. Thank you Laura!
We've met and communicated with many people in Haiti and very often they write us inorder to keep us abreast of what is happening in the country or to vent their frustration, their thoughts, and in many cases their sadness. Here is once such communication...
....a pop star, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, became Haiti’s new president. Less than 25% of the country voted because one party was barred from running and the majority of people in the countryside had to walk many miles to a polling booth so they simply didn’t participate. It was the urban youth who voted for their on-stage idol and he is now in charge of rebuilding this earthquake-devastated country.
As the 50-year-old musician-turned-president stood in front of the still-collapsed National Palace before a crowd of thousands for his inauguration he told his compatriots to respect laws, pay their taxes, and pitch in. Martelly reiterated that universal education for children would not only be free but also mandatory. A power outage interrupted his speech and the remainder of the inauguration ceremony and the whole dinner was served in a beautiful place…under a blackout.
The rainy season has started but, so far, it hasn’t been too bad. Officials have been warning for weeks that encampments sheltering the homeless are in danger of washing away. A couple nights ago we had a downpour and people in some camps were digging drainage ditches with their hands after heavy rains soaked the tent cities. The rain swamped tents, flooded and overturned latrines. There were reports of panicked families in the rain trying to stay together. The Haitian government has been trying to set up more stable camps outside Port au Prince -- but there's been trouble finding sites.
We continue to ask ourselves, “Where is all the earthquake relief money that was committed to Haiti?” With a reported more than 10,000 non-government organizations on every side of us, one would think a lot is being done. We see the evidence of their existence in the many new, expensive vehicles being driven by their staff and nice, air-conditioned offices where the employees spend their time. Last week priests were informed that there is no money available to rebuild their fallen churches. Where has the money gone? Another large just donated $29 million to rebuild a hotel to attract businesses and investors who need a business class, seismically safe hotel. What about the poor, the needy, the homeless?
"Success - To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded."
On Saturday, May 7th the board of directors and staff of TLC held the annual meeting as well as a retreat. Officers were elected and plans and goals were set for the upcoming year. (Find more information on the elections in this web-site).
There are many very exciting fundraisers scheduled so please follow along for more information. Can't wait
There is relative calm in the country for the ordinary citizen at the moment. Public schools offering primary and secondary education re-opened last week. Many children were sent back home because their families could not afford to pay school fees. The average fees for high density location schools (Primary) is $50 USD per term while secondary schools demand up to $100 USD per term. There are 3 terms per year. These fees are beyond the reach of the ordinary person trying to have a roof over their head and access basic needs such as food. The averageincome is $1-$2 USD a day.
Electric black outs continue to be the order of the day adding an additional cost to the family budget to buy firewood so they can cook food. The demand for firewood in the city makes wood energy very expensive. Some people have resorted to generators powered by diesel but the cost of diesel is equally prohibitive.
HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and emotional distress are prominent in Zimbabwe. Many deaths could be avoided if people had food and affordable medical care. Cases of suicide are more common due to the increased stress of of trying to get basic items like food. Girls simply want to get married even when they are not yet ready so that they will have someone to take care of them. Boys or men can hardly take care of themselves let alone a wife. Girls drop out of school prematurely because they cannot afford the school fees. Food is generally available in the shops but the costs are beyond the reach of the ordinary person. Zimbabwe did not have a good harvest this year due to flooding and erratic rains in some areas. Imports are coming in from South Africa with additional fees added on for trasportation and import duty.
Today there is a woman in Zimbabwe whose husband has not been home almost for a month. He is literally running away from responsibility because he cannot take care of himself let alone his family. The woman's deteriorating health warrants hospitalization but the family can not afford to hire a car to take her to hospital let alone to meet the hospital bills. If you go to the hospital during visiting housr, you are almost tempted to think that there is a "mass demonstration" by the sheer number of people waiting to see relatives who are sick. The medical care one gets is heavily compromised as people now resist to go to hospitals knowing that their condition may deteriorate even faster as compared to a situation when they can get proper home based care. Apart from lack of drugs, the health care personnel are not motivated due to depressed allowances and the general working environment. The public health system is generally staffed with junior staff who are not yet well versed with the ropes of the hippocratic oath. Most senior doctors went into the Diaspora while the remaining senior ones are now in private practice, beyond the reach of all and sundry. The average consultation fee for senior doctors is $80 USD.
Please consider donating funds today to feed children in Zimbabwe tomorrow.
Caroline Street Elementary School in Saratoga Springs has donated some wonderful used sports equipment for the chidren in Zimbabwe. Thank you to the students, teachers and parents that made this happen! We are also in need of soccer balls. If you'd like to donate please send us an e-mail: directoratTLC@aol.com.
Officers Elected on Saturday, May 7th include Teresa Brobston-President, Virginia Touhey-Vice President, Rodney Brewer-Treasurer and Tim Schmehl-Secretary. Congratulations and thanks to all for your dedication!
Dr. Arthur Wallingford joins To Love a Child as the Honorary Committee Chairperson for "Celebrating Children" our annual dinner and awards celebration on September 27th. Dr. Wallingford has practiced in the Albany area for 35 years and continues his practice, Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C., in the office started by his father in the 1930's. Dr. Wallingford is currently affiliated with St. Peter’s Hospital and is a member of various professional associations, including the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, New York State Medical Society and Northeast Ob/Gyn Society. Thank you Dr. Wallingford for sharing in our journey to help children.