It’s 6:37 and I just made it back to Haiti for the first time since June 2010. Two years have passed but as the old saying goes, ‘it feels like only yesterday’.
As I write this note, I sit on the balcony of a guest house with a mild breeze cascading over the trees, a few remnants of which make it down to the sweltering workers on the ground floor. Flowered vines camouflage the razor wire. Voices, impassioned by the work of carrying for Haiti’s most vulnerable children, resonate through the house. A nocturnal rooster begins his nightly serenade. I could be anywhere in the Caribbean, but I’m in Haiti. One of my favorite places in the world.
Tomorrow morning our work will begin and carry forward for four days. Four days of meeting the people who matter most – the kids. And the people who care for them. We’ll meet with the director of IBESR who is making more strides in protecting children than any IBESR’s Director I’ve ever met. We’ll meet the caregivers and crèche directors who struggle with too few resources to care for what is increasingly too many children. And if I’m lucky, I’ll meet Rene again. You might remember Rene from our work after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. If not, click here. He’s quite a young man.
After our days here are over, we will carry on our work back in Washington, in suits and in meetings. Important work. But not the type I long for. Here in Haiti, touching lives and having my life touched. Seeing the policies and programs we help create actually helping children. This is what I long for.
Feeling the heat. Breathing the dust. Holding their hands. And walking together. This is what matters. This is what matters most.
-Tom DiFilipo, Joint Council President & CEO