Prions pour Haïti

by angeliska on January 17, 2010

Préfète Duffaut “États-Unis, France et le Canada supportent Haiti”
Forgive the radio silence, I’ve been brewing lots of
exciting notions + tidbits in the last week to be in
evidence soonly. More than that though, my mind has
been on Haiti, and it was hard to write about my relatively
extraordinary life and all the comforts I enjoy when
I can’t stop thinking about people trapped under
piles of rubble, people still alive and alone in the
dark, hungry and afraid for their loved ones.
That’s a reality occurring simultaneously with my
own, and I can’t help but be reminded of what is
was like during Katrina. I felt so frustrated then,
at the idea of so many people blithely going on
about their regular days with nary a thought for
the trouble we were having. It’s hard, because
what else can you do? At least then, lots of people
could volunteer and help more directly. Unless you
happen to be a doctor, or a search and rescue worker
you basically have no reason to be in Haiti, taking up
resources and space. Not to be harsh, but it’s a fact –
and so, what can we do? We do whatever it is
we do when we pray, or send money and hope it gets
where it needs to. We read about it, write about it,
and plan benefits. We focus our attention and our hearts
on the suffering of the people of Haiti, and send fervent
wishes for healing and help, but it doesn’t feel like near enough.

A sequined drapeau for the Guede. Something happens to the fabric of the
world when so many people leave it all at once. It creates a hole, a passage
leading somewhere else. Sometimes we can hear their voices calling.

More than anything almost, after the hurricane I just wanted to know
that the people I encountered were aware, and gave a shit about what
had happened in New Orleans and Mississippi (not to mention the rest
of the world!) New Orleans and Haiti have long had a link. I just learned
(through Poppy Z. Brite, natch) that “in spite of being the poorest nation
in the Caribbean, Haiti donated $40,000 to New Orleans after the federal
levees broke”. Think about that for a minute. This is money coming from
a country that gets the brunt of every hurricane that even glances in NOLA’s
direction. For additional (though non-sequitur) perspective, did you know
that New Orleans mayoral candidate Manny Chevrolet’s campaign slogan is:
“a troubled man for troubled times”? Indeed. (Thanks to K. Hersh for that gem.)
Okay, one more thing, from Mr. Jeff Shyman, owner and guide for Confederacy
of Cruisers bike tours: “If you decide to donate to help out the disaster in Haiti,
remember it was a Haitian immigrant, Antoine Peychaud,
who upon moving to New Orleans, concocted and served
America’s very first cocktail using cognac and his families bitters.
The Sazerac, which he sold in the gambling room behind his pharmacy
at 437 royal street. We all owe a little to Haiti for that alone.”

If you go out tonight, raise a glass to the ghost of Antoine Peychaud,
and all the people of Haiti and send them hope and good thoughts
(and money, if you haven’t already! I know we don’t really have it,
but really – we probably do. I vote for Doctors Without Borders as
being the best choice for doing the most good with it. Please.)

Another beautiful drapeau, artist unknown.
Certainly though, there are lots of worthy and helpful charities
doing good work. Make sure you do the research though, as
a lot of the money donated get tied up in administrative costs.
Here are some links to further reading and charity info:
Haiti in Ink and Tears: A Literary Sampler
New Orleans’ Heart is in Haiti
Why Haiti is not New Orleans
Haiti and American Colonialism : The Story Behind the Story
Molly Crabapple has been auctioning her drawings of tarsiers
and pangolins and is sending 100% of the proceeds to Haiti.

Christopher Porché West’s photographs of HAITI
Haitian Earthquake Relief
Haiti: Some Ways You Can Help
Prions pour Haïti!


I’ve been thinking so many of these same thoughts.
I wish I could do more than send money but I haven’t any applicable skills for this…
Everyday I’ve been making sure to take some time to think about the people there, to imagine what it must be like and then send them well wishes.

by amy on January 17, 2010 at 9:40 pm. Reply #

sometimes it seems like maybe the world is ending…in a very slow, prolonged way. it fills part of me with alot of worry and i have done quite a bit of praying lately, especially for the people of haiti and their relatives.
i couldn’t sit in my warm house the other day with walls around me and a roof above, and even though my finances are tight at the moment, not make some sort of donation.
thank you for this post!

by katinka on January 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm. Reply #

Living in a safe country like Sweden it is hard to imagine what the people on Haiti is going trough… but listening to the news and watching the pictures showing small children getting amputated!!! and parents crying it is chocking and terrible. They have nothing, not even medicin to stop pain….. I totaly agree with you, Doctors without borders is always our choice when it comes to giving money. Then you Know that the money really gets there and not end up in someones pocket!!!Warm thoughts to you and above all, to the people of Haiti.

by cecilia pawlowski on January 18, 2010 at 3:09 am. Reply #

Oh, Angeliska. Thank you for this post. I also remember watching TV when Katrina happened, and just thinking – in not so eloquent terms – WTF? How are we just going about our day to day? Similarly, when Bush won (the second time), I cried all day and glared at anyone who looked mildly pleased. 🙂 Not very productive.
I have also been feeling slightly fat and happy in my comfortable US environs, while the Haiti situation goes on.
On a slightly different note, how much do I love that quote by Manny Chevrolet? (Can’t believe that’s actually his name?) A gem, indeed.

by Tolly on January 18, 2010 at 9:44 am. Reply #

I had a hard time settling on who to donate to last week but, finally arrived at Medecins sans Frontiers too. I live in a Haitian neighborhood in Brooklyn it’s never been this quiet for so long. The people are solemn and aren’t smiling these days, there’s lots of worry. Our building is full of families that would send big 50 gallon drums of food to their families that they couldn’t bring over to the states but, now they are unable to help their loved ones in such a direct way. It’s very sad ’round these parts, lots of praying going on.

by Whiskey Deer Wolf on January 18, 2010 at 10:04 am. Reply #

Thank you for all the great links and information. I donated to Doctors Without Borders. It’s not enough, but it’s something.
I watched the 60 Minutes Haiti piece online tonight:;cbsCarousel
The part about shoveling bodies into mass graves will haunt me.

by OdetteO on January 18, 2010 at 7:20 pm. Reply #

It’s frustrating to not be able to help except by donating money and praying. So exactly the way I felt watching on television the people in New Orleans sweltering on that overpass without water or food. I just wanted to scream. Money and prayers seem inadequate at such times.

by Lin on January 19, 2010 at 8:41 am. Reply #

dear angel, your columns are so well written and thoughful i wonder why you aren’t getting paid to write for some more widely read publications…..

by sylvio on January 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm. Reply #

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