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Monday, May 30, 2011

Making Progress in Haiti, Slowly but Surely

There is no doubt that the process of being a successful organization is a slow and tedious one, but one well worth it. Those of you that have followed H.E.R.O. since the beginning know that in April of 2010 we were donated land in the department of Nippes, south of Port-au-Prince. Unfortunately, a year has gone by, and that land has yet to materialize. We are hopeful, however, that the land in Nippes will still be provided in our efforts to serve the street children and orphans in Haiti. When I first arrived in Haiti nearly 2 years ago I quickly learned from those much more experienced than myself that you always have to have a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, etc. in this country (Thank you Ma-Luschka). As a result, while waiting for the land in Nippes we also took additional steps to find more land opportunities. This resulted in the donation of a .5 acre piece of land in the small town of Maniche, near the large city of Les Cayes, also in the south of Haiti. Last week I met with our lawyer and the property owner to discuss the transfer of the property into H.E.R.O’s hands. Our current plan is to lease the property for 25 years at a price of $10.00 US per year. I thank God for this opportunity. As always, however, I am waiting patiently to obtain the appropriate paperwork. This process can sometimes take weeks, even months, but we are making progress, slowly, but surely, in Haiti.

We recently faced another obstacle that threatened to derail our program for at least a few weeks, if not months. Our Vice-President had generously allowed us to use her mother’s car here in Haiti for a year, while her mother prepared to retire. As a result of various factors her mother retired early, and we realized that we needed a new car, and only had 2 weeks for this to happen! Without a vehicle, much of what we do would come to a stand-still. I attempted to buy a brand new car, but was told one must have a Haitian identification to do so, something that I do not currently have. So, buying a new car was out of the question. With two days to spare before we had to give up our vehicle, the same person that donated the land in Maniche said, “If you need a car, I will sell you mine. You need a car for the residence for orphans, to keep your program operating at maximum efficiency, to continue making a difference in Haiti.” By the grace of God, Kerby Albert sold his perfectly operational 2007 Hyundai Terracan to us for a truly reasonable price. Our Vice-President’s mother picked up her car on Sunday, and on Monday our newly bought car arrived, ready to keep all H.E.R.O. programs operational without a single hiccup. At H.E.R.O. we have been blessed by individuals that have truly sacrificed what little they have to help us make a difference in the children we serve in Haiti. No doubt we have encountered individuals, both here in Haiti and abroad in the United States, that promise do to this and that, but never do anything. But when someone gives us their land and their car because they believe in our work, it is truly a blessing. Thank you Sandra and Kerby Albert for your support of H.E.R.O., we are truly thankful.

Unfortunately, my ability to drive a manual/stick is not something to be thankful for. While I do have experience with a manual, I have never driven in a city of 2 million people with hills and mountains, thousands of cars, people and potholes on the streets, and everything in-between. As I was exiting one of the super markets, one that has a tire-deflation device at the exit, the kind that if you back over punctures your tires, I failed to give enough gas, rolled backwards over the tire-deflation device, and completed destroyed one of the rear tires. Nothing more to say here, but I was definitely embarrassed!

The children in our residence are doing wonderful! Robenson, Christina, and Dayana are preparing for their end of year exams. Franky has learned how to write his name, identify his colors, count to 100, all huge steps for a 10-year-old entering our home with high-academic needs. Valencia is continuing her daily tutoring to prepare her to enter a formal program next school year. They are happy, healthy, and full of joy; a huge difference from the lives they once knew living under tents or tarps, without food or health care. Thank you for all the support you have given H.E.R.O. You have directly impacted the lives of the children we serve. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, or ideas for supporting H.E.R.O. Together, we can be the difference in Haiti.


Steven Kirby, President

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