“We want to give back hope and meaning to the lives of these wonderful people”

by Marianne Lako/SRA,  2010/09/22

Marianne Lako is working for humedica in the framework of the Family Sponsorship Programme in Haiti. With this report she would like to invite all friends and sponsors of humedica to experience first hand the meaning of living and working in Haiti and reaching out to the families participating in the Sponsorship Programme.

“Since March we have been cooperating with our local partner “Hopital Espoir” (Hospital of Hope), in order to give families the opportunity of applying for the Sponsorship Programme. Without the hard work of the hospital’s community worker and my assistant and interpreter, I would not have been able to fulfil this task.

At the beginning, my husband Rene and I ourselves had to live in a tent for some months, just as the people here. This made it easier for me to understand which fate the people we want to help are experiencing. Our task might at first seem to be simple – families need to be registered, they need to be motivated to take part in a personal talk, a photo needs to be taken and we can get started. However, in Haiti it does not work that simply.

Since they have lost their homes and so much more, most families are moved to tent cities or open fields. For some of them who are invited to a personal talk this means among other things that they have to make an inconvenient trip. They have to change Tap Tap – the public transport means in Haiti – four to five times in order to reach us.

Many families in Haiti urgently depend on the support offered by the humedica Family Sponsorship Programme. Photo: humedica

Right now, 81 families are registered for sponsorship. This means that 398 persons will benefit from the programme. Many of them are still on the waiting list, waiting for sponsors.

Our monthly distribution of food to the families taking part in the Sponsorship Programme requires a substantial amount of planning and organisation. Since reconstruction of large parts of the infrastructure of Port-au-Prince is still not finished, even finding a wholesaler selling the necessary food poses a challenge.

Two weeks before meeting the families, we run through our list of receivers in order to clarify how many people are taking part in the programme in the current month. Depending on the number of family members we arrange content and costs of the food packages and finally we place our order with one of the wholesalers we cooperate with.

The food packages distributed by humedica contribute to the families’ basic provision. Photo: humedica

We inform the families about the distribution location one week in advance. We make sure that they will actually be able to attend on the specified day. Due to the large number of people who have lost their homes and are forced to live in tents, it would not be safe for us to drive to one of the tent cities in order to distribute the food packages. Therefore, we are pleased that we have managed to set up two well-secured distribution areas in the region surrounding La Plaine.

Besides La Plaine, families also attend distributions at the “Hospital Espoir” two days per month. As the number of people being supported by means of a sponsorship is increasing, we will probably soon have to carry through five distributions per month.

Some of them had some more good luck. Their houses are “only” damaged and have not collapsed completely. Those people have returned to their houses and have set up make-shift tents in their gardens. If it rains heavily, they can retreat to a part of the house where the damage is not so severe.

On an average distribution day we drive to La Plaine at 8.15 in the morning. For me personally, meeting the families is one of the highlights, since we also have some time to talk and to exchange experiences and to take part in each other’s lives. Every time I return from a food distribution, I am amazed by how well the people cope with their difficult situation. Many of them are still living in tent cities or in make-shift lean-tos in open fields.

Many of the people living in the tent cities have lost everything during the earthquake in Haiti: Photo: humedica

When asking the people whether the distributed food actually brings some change to their families – even though the food is not sufficient for the entire month – we basically always receive the same answer. The people are happy and grateful for the help they receive. They are happy, because otherwise they would not have anything at all.

Thanks to the incredible sympathy and generosity of our donors we can send primary-school pupils back to school for the second term. By telling them so, we could take a large burden off the families’ shoulders. We were pleased that we could already enrol the first children at various schools during the past few weeks.

Going to school will help the children to lead a normal life once more. And it will hopefully also help them to start forgetting about the terrible earthquake.

I am aware of the fact that the support we offer to those families by means of food packages and by paying tuition fees is only a drop in the ocean. Misery is immense, and for many persons sorrow and pain is still omnipresent. We cannot replace everything they have lost. But still, I also know that constant dripping wears the stone. For us, the glass is not half empty, but half full. And we would like to communicate this perspective also to the families here in Haiti.

We want to give back hope and meaning to the lives of these wonderful people. We are unable to answer the question “why”. But we want to pass on the love of God and I consider it to be an honour to get to know these wonderful families a little better at each meeting.

I would like to thank them for letting me take part.”

Dear friends and sponsors of humedica, if you would like to support a family in Haiti by means of a sponsorship, you will find all basic information here. You can apply even today via our Sponsorship Application. The families will be registered in order to start the programme as soon as possible.

Please also support our work in Haiti by means of a targeted donation to:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference “Earthquake Haiti
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Please also support us by means of an online donation which will be used for the benefit of the people in Haiti or choose a fast, simple and secure way of supporting us by means of sending a text message: simply send DOC to the abbreviated dialling +49 8 11 90 and support us with a one-time donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica project work. Thank you very much.

The people in Haiti are happy and grateful for the support they receive. Marianne Lako and her assistant share their joy. Photo: humedica

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