A report on the ground in Haiti from Carlos Miranda Levy, a colleague, Reuters Digital Vision Fellow alum and friend. Carlos starting doing what he does best – providing help, his intellect, resources and aid to the people of Haiti.
Can the Inefficiency Now at Haiti be Explained, Can it be Accepted?
Without bragging or believing we are any better than anyone else, after today’s experience I would just like to ask the question of how come, me, a guy without a car and without money, without material resources and belonging to no institution was able to get 4 teams safely into Haiti in one day and had food, supplies and medical and volunteer personnel delivered directly to those who needed them?
Would I be more inefficient if I had a title, a budget to spend or resources to spare?
How is my dream of helping others different from the commitment to help those getting money and resources to do so?
Think about and accept no excuses from no organization. We just proved today that it can be done, as it was done not by me, but by Laura, Fernan, Alejandrito, Erica, Jon, Paul and the others who were candid enough to join us.
And by the way, I met Erica two days ago, Fernan one day ago, and Paul and the others today, yet we all made it through the border and reached out to people “together”.
How come does that work together and should cooperate by mandate can not accomplish the simple task of getting things and help out there to the people.
Sorry for the rant, but it hurts, it truly hurts to see the suffering of the people when others are safely waiting for instructions in the comfort of their secured compounds.
There is so much supplies at Port-au-Prince airport that they are turning airplanes away. Yet people are passing away minutes from the airport. And Haitians and anyone without an orange jacket or badge of the UN cluster of friends is turned away when they ask for help or supplies. This I’ve seen with my own two eyes.
Funny thing is everywhere we go, they ask us: Who do you work for? Not what can you do, how can you help, what would you like to do? They ask, who do you work for and who’s your boss? Our answer is always the same: We work for Haiti!
Ps: For those wondering, this is what we did today:
We sent in 4 teams into Haiti in less than 14 hours: one at 1am, another at 5am, another at 3pm and one bonus one at 3pm also, since we got a ride in a helicopter, thanks to the support of Mr. Franklin Polanco, always a fine gentleman.
Laura was able to go in, deploy 3 doctors from Partners in Health who needed to get to St. Demian’s Hospital (destroyed but operating) and rescue Ruth’s parents who needed to be evacuated and reunited with their family. Ruth’s parents are on their way to Santo Domingo, driven by Luis Pérez Mendez, who was kind enough to drive in and out in his Land Rover to get them safely to their daughter.
Fernan and Alejandrito went in with 4 doctors and supplies far from the border on the way to Leogane and met us at the Orphanage at Fond Parisien.
The other team is bringing in world reknowned community development, telecommunications and self-sustainable energy expert Jon Katz, two medical volunteers and Brazilian volunteer Erica Suelen. Laura crossed the border and is waiting for them at Jimani where they are spending the night and meeting us here with supplies first thing in the morning when we will head into Port-au-Prince to get supplies for the wounded arriving at the orphanage and get additional supplies for the other orphanages.
The team I am in flew in at around 4pm and were able to reach Love a Child Orphanage, and was really helpful unloading wounded and post-op patients from buses, cleaning them up and providing basic first aid and care, as well as unloading heavy stuff to set up a tarp for newcoming patients.
Samantha, from One Race Global Film Foundation is sending a large load of medical supplies tomorrow morning, but we will not be receiving that until the afternoon.
Carlos is a social entrepreneur and Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University, sponsored by Google and Reuters. Considered by CNN one of Latin America’s 20 most influential people on the Internet. Founder of CIVILA.com, Educar.org and BibliotecasVirtuales.com.