The school supplies for Haiti project started back in 2005. No budget, no clear plan for how to get the items there - just a hope.
I created a web page and asked total strangers for help. You answered with boxes of pens, paper, erasers, paperclips, little packets of brightly coloured stars for a job well done. You even sent lollypops, tiny stuffed animals, key chains - all the simple things that make little children's eyes light up with joy! Two people sent me money orders for about $50US. I used that to help with postage.
The difficulty then was to find a person to send it to. I knew no one in Haiti and had heard all the stories about shysters and thieves who simply took things and they never make it to the destination.
I asked for help once more.
I received a letter from Toronto author and Professor, Elizabeth Abbott who introduced me via email to a priest by the name of Miradieu Estinvil. He and I wrote each other trying to figure out a way to get the boxes to him. We exchanged telephone numbers but Haiti's phone system is unreliable at best and we never got to speak.
I tried shipping the boxes to an export company who had been receptive in the past to taking things over to Haiti for free. For what ever reason, they refused the boxes and sent them back to me. I tried again by sending it to another Florida address to a colleague of Pastor Estinvil. These things took a long time. I wondered more than once where the boxes were. It's been so long that I've lost the original request webpage off my site and can't access the original email I used for this campaign. We didn't give up though!
Finally in 2007, I heard from Pastor Estinvil. He had received the boxes and promised to get the supplies to the children and send us photos.
I received these photos in the mail today along with a letter of thanks from Pastor Estinvel and his wife Dienata. The letter is post marked July 14, 2008. It has taken almost three years, but we did it. Look carefully and you will see your pens, pencils, books, even the 2 backpacks and some of the hair clips for the girls!
Pastor Estinvil has asked for continued assistance and I hope we can reach into our lives and help once more. I will let you know when I mount another help campaign but don't wait for me, help how and where you can.
Allow me to share these photos with you and to say humbly and sincerely, on behalf of each of those young, eager faces...
THANK YOU, MESI, MERCI...