My introduction to Haiti was with The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the invitation to go with them recently.
When I arrived in Haiti, I did not look at the island by the countryside, the buildings in the city of Port au Prince or their businesses. I looked at the most treasured resource on this island…..the people of Haiti. What I saw was an amazing sight. These individuals are some of the most resilient, proud, courteous and creative people I have had the honor of meeting. The living conditions that so many of them are living in would break ones heart to see it in person as I did.
To understand what The Andrea Bocelli Foundation is doing, all you have to do is remember the word “Opportunity.” The opportunity comes in many forms, in which I was able to visualize on this journey.
The ABF water trucks are sent several times a day 6 days a week to Cité Soleil. One of the most severe slums in this country. We visited also a local pediatric hospital, St Damien, that ABF helps in treating small infants born with HIV/AIDS. Such innocent victims who now have Opportunity for special treatment due to the generosity of the Foundation. These babies NOW have a chance to survive!! ABF support also in the HIV program the food distribution as an additional help for the patients. This Opportunity gives many families the chance for pure existence with food & water that is SAFE to drink & eat. Most of us take this for granted & to these individuals it is Survival for their families!!!!
In the Cité Soleil slums very small cottages are being built from concrete & cinderblock. This Opportunity, created by Fondation St Luc and partners, provides durable safer living conditions for the family unit. We visited other sites, such as a large new vocational center, but the last areas touched my heart immensely. We went to 2 schools that ABF has built in partnership with Fondation St Luc & made available to the residents of Haiti in many of the impoverished areas. The buildings were large, open, with soft calming colors on the walls that gave a safe feeling conducive for learning for children. The children in their proud school’s uniform were Amazing!!!! The HUGE smiles & their eyes twinkled with the sight of we visitors coming to see all of them and the school they are so proud of!!! These children have great Opportunity to learn AND most of all WANT to learn!!! I was blessed with so many warm hugs & kisses from them. Their affection so pure truly touched my soul. I have never had so much love from these sweet little ones. They were so attentive in the classroom & the teachers did great work with all of them!!!
As GREAT as my experience was in learning what ABF is doing, I saw where so much more help is needed to expand & continue to help these residents and to give them more Opportunity for life, learning and to reach out and gain independence for themselves. No contribution is too small for each person can help and when each of us do, it becomes Big, REALLY Big!!! All size contributions can go towards building more schools, small safe cottages, schools and school supplies that these children so desperately need for their learning. Learning tools the great teachers can use to give these children of Haiti’s future………
I’m ready to go back again!!!!
Teresa J Huber