Trying to get to Port-Au-Prince is no easy task. After being bumped and having another flight cancelled from Santo Domingo, I finally made it to ground zero, albeit a day later than planned. My concerns and trepidation about what I would encounter were validated as soon as I landed. To say that our task - my task, specifically - is great is a vast understatement.
So here we are, 15 days after the earthquake struck and 15 days since the lives of tens of thousands of Haitian children have been turned upside down by disaster and tragedy. Really, there's no child in the Port-Au-Prince area and beyond that doesn't need long-term help. So how to do it?
First of all, there are the very primary audiences that are most greatly affected by this disaster - the newly orphaned and those already orphaned prior. To begin with, an initial shipment of Comfort Kits for kids will be distributed in the coming days. The shipment will leave North Carolina hopefully tomorrow and will include age-appropriate kits containing comfort items: blankets, picture books, tooth brushes and tooth paste. Once they arrive, we will be distributing them to some of the most affected orphanages. It's only a start, but we have to start somewhere.
As for rolling out the full Comfort for Kids program? My hope is to begin next week. Ideally, on Feb 1. My task today is to find local resources - professionals, care takers, teachers - to assemble a staff that will help launch the program. Little by little, we will be developing the program until we can begin training as many people as possible so that our project and its benefits can mushroom around this city and country. Stay tuned - I hope to have significant progress to report in the next couple of days.