Thursday, September 05, 2019
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Every day (and indeed every life) has some good and some bad. It important to remember that. We must face and admit the “bad”, but we can not dwell on it or it will paralyze us and halt our progress.
To say "It is a good day" or "It is a bad day" is in many ways just sloppy or incomplete thinking. Every day is good AND bad.
Every day, babies are born and people die; fortunes are lost and fortunes are made; teams win and other teams lose. It is life. Good and bad.
I hold as a central tenet of my existence that we should our attention as much as possible on the good and on the things that we can exert some influence over, while not focus as much on the “bad” and the “scary” that will be there always waiting to hijack our minds and, by extension, our efforts.
That said, today my updates have a large proportion of news I wish I didn't need to share.
The day started off a text from Charles in Freeport Bahamas that “Mama Marge” a wonderful friend who had become a regular acquaintance of those on the Enactus/BR trips had passed away this morning of cancer. She was a wonderful woman who ran a small souvenir shop in Port Lucaya. But the economy has been bad there and she lacked material wealth. Last year a group of volunteers cut back trees so her house could be seen (she had been robbed and hoped more visibility would help) and painted her home. She offered them all food. And yet, when I went inside her home, she confided that things were so tough her water had been turned off. But in spite of that, she was always willing to help, always there with a hug, and some words of advice. I hope that her life serves as a reminder that we should never judge a person’s success by the amount of money in his/her bank account, but by the way (s)he treated others. She will be greatly missed by all.
Less than an hour later, I received news from Sierra Leone that one of CAMSL’s leaders (our partner group there) had been rushed to the hospital. BUT the doctor needed to be paid ($250) for the surgery. Stop and think about that. I do not know the answer. Doctors need to be paid AND people (yes, even the poor) need to be cared for. I just do not know.
In a similar vein, I then read this. I should start off by saying I HATE cancer. I truly hate it. It causes such suffering. It took my mom, it took “mama Marge” today in the Bahamas, many of you are fighting it as you read this. I hate the disease.
While our ability to fight cancer is improving, a cancer diagnosis is still scary. Nowhere is that truer than in poor countries. Take for instance, Haiti. Haiti has limited health care facilities and even more limited funding for treatments. The nurses and doctors, often undertrained and overworked, struggle in incredible conditions. The patients suffer not only from their disease but from lack of adequate care. Today’s Miami Herald did the necessary and painful job of reminding us how much help is still needed. (I think this should come with a warning, you will want to get some tissues).
Then we had our own updates from Haiti. For those of you who don’t know, Haiti has been having days of protests and strikes to protest government corruption. Schools have been shut. Banks closed. Public (and most private) transportation non-existent. In Les Cayes our wells were scheduled to be shut for a day of cleaning and repainting, but city officials asked that they remain open. Microloan recipients have been forced (due to safety concerns) to temporarily close their businesses. A school leader is stuck in Port Au Prince and unable to travel home because of the violence. These are all bad things. I do not know the solution. Violence is wrong. Corruption is wrong. Abuse of power is wrong. But when they happen, how do we stop it? Education and patience are great but can be so slow. I do not know.
I started by saying that every day is both good and bad. The bad only appears to be winning. We can remember the bad easier. Bad news gets our attention more readily. So in spite of everything I just wrote, and in spite of the way today APPEARS to be going, I want to say that the good is actually winning.
As evidence let me just give you a few examples. Today, we were able to help someone in Sierra Leone get his needed surgery. Today in Sierra Leone, children went to school with school supplies and school uniforms. Today in Leogane Haiti,, we were able (through HaitiScholarships) check in to make sure all of the students were safe. Today in and around Les Cayes Haiti,, hundreds of people are able to have clean water from our wells on a day when traveling to a distant well might be too dangerous. Today, around the USA our Blankets are reminding people with cancer that they matter and that where there is life, there is hope. Today, we have 53 students in school in Liberia who would not be there if not for your generosity. Today, in the Bahamas, seeds are being planted for our garden program that will begin in January. Today in Haiti and the Bahamas, many people have roofs over their heads that do not leak because of your donations and the hard work of volunteers and Bahamians and Haitians. Today, we have people around the country getting in and out of their homes because of the wheelchair ramps that your donations have allowed us to make. Today, you are alive and can read this.
So today, when someone asks “how was your day?” I hope you hesitate just a bit to remember all of those who are going through so much but then answer “it is a good day-- the good is winning.”
From my (Jim's) page, so I am copying it here too. have a good day! :)
Monday, August 06, 2018
From out FB post:
We will be having many big work days coming up, but some of you can't travel and most of you are away from campus now, so how can you help right now? From where you are? Here is a SHORT list of ways from home.
1. We are collecting small toys, school supplies, children clothes, winter boots, and children books for the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School. We will be packing on August 26th.
2. We are packing small toiletries, granola bars, NEW socks, NEW underwear, and winter jackets for Outside the Walls to distribute to the homeless. Also, tee shirts.
3. We are still collecting tools, medical supplies, school supplies, soccer equipment, for schools and medical centers in Haiti. We are also collecting the large (empty) bags that pet food comes in!
4. We need pill bottles for a packing event where we will be shipping fishing and garden "kits" to Africa and Haiti. The fishing kits are in honor of a NYS trooper who lost his life. The family sends hundreds as a way to keep his memory alive while helping others.
5. Don't like any of these options? Buy a backpack (donate $55 at HaitiScholarships.org or at PositiveRipples.org. The money will buy the backpack, buy school supplies, and pay for a month of schooling in Haiti. (HaitiScholarships PositiveRipples). The backpacks will then be donated to a student in Haiti (unless you want them and that can be arranged).
6. Agree to help manage the PositiveRipples/HatiScholarships social media pages. Or to work on the WarmSnugglyBlanket Web page.
7. Like science? or Marketing? We are looking for some people to work on a carbon offset reforestation program in Haiti. We need a website developed, and help in marketing the program to individuals, businesses, and organizations (classes, teams, and church groups)
8. Still haven't found how you want to help? Donate to this great GoFundMe page. We are trying to educate 53 #Ebola Orphans in Liberia and could really really use your help! https://www.gofundme.com/school-support-for-53-ebola-orphans
If none of these excites you, let us know. We will see what we can do to come up with a project tailored to your needs!
Saturday, April 07, 2018
So much happening!
Next trip: May 15-22 (assuming we get people signed up) back to Dickinson Texas. We'd love to have you along with us!
* Spring into Bonas went very well! Thank you to those who came out and helped!
* The aquaponics program at Portville school is almost ready. Great great work by Natalie and Evan of UrbanBiosphere!
* On April 19 we have 25 high school students coming from Olean High School to Campus to see what a day in college is like. If you are on campus and can help, we would LOVE the help!
* BonaResponds/Positive agreed to buy approximately 500 coffee trees in Les Cayes. $150 a year will be given back to an agriculture fund once the trees start producing.
* 20 fishermen ended their three days of training on loans for nets. Tomorrow they will clean up the beaches by where they fish. Next week they will be able to go back to their jobs for the first time in 18 months (since Matthew). EXCELLENT work by Jean Emmanuel Verdier and his crew!
* Harvests in Sierra Leone went great. Bangura Alimamy Tejan is doing a great job over there and we hope to be long-term partners.
* I think we are now over 115 microloans (mainly through Tout Moun Se Moun and PositiveRipples ) in Les Cayes and Leogane Haiti have all been paid off :)
* FINALLY getting updates from Bishop Nelson Sampson Boegbah and his crew in Liberia. This has been our most difficult program this year. The need is so great there, but we need a better system. A work in progress :) :) The Ebola orphans cannot be forgotten. PERIOD!
* Refunds for Praebibo should finally have gone out this week. Sorry for the delay.
* We are looking for a used van/truck. Possibly Explorer? Any suggestions/donations would be great!
* The Trails have taken a beating due to the winter storms. We have been out numerous times already but there is much work to be done.
* Two great videos focusing on BonaResponds/@Chris Branche came out this week for Spring Into Bonas:
--By Danny Bush: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=dLd5wBGRg3s
* Next big things internationally: WE HOPE: water well near Les Cayes Haiti, aquaponics near Leogane Haiti, a Cassava farm in Sierra Leone, another payment for the Ebola Orphans in Liberia, and a shipment of medical and school supplies (maybe some sporting goods too?) to Haiti.
* Coming up locally: many many wheelchair ramps are lined up as soon as the snow leaves.
(to donate for the international projects, please donate at https://PostiveRipples.org)