I want to document the process of developing a project in a new area. This seems like the perfect time and example. More than anything, I want to share with anyone reading this the incredible connections that happen in this project. Sometimes it takes my breath away and I hope you are moved as well.
When the earthquake rocked Haiti just a few short weeks ago, the entire world turned its eyes to that desperate area. We watch, sometimes, not knowing what to do and just groping for a way to help. Our board immediately began discussing how we could help and when it might be appropriate. I sent out messages into the world, extending a hand and waiting to feel a hand grasp mine in return. One of the messages I sent was to USAID, letting them know what we have to offer and that we want to be involved. I heard nothing for awhile and began to wonder if that was the wrong path…but soon the answer came. The phone rang on a particularly busy morning and I almost didn’t answer it. But I did and I heard a Haitian voice, a woman named Rose, representing Family Outreach International, a group based in Atlanta, that was on the ground floor helping in Haiti. USAID had connected us and the journey began.
Rose and I discussed our own paths and immediately knew that we were heading in the same direction. She mentioned that she was working on creating a relief shipment that would leave the US in Mid-March. I assumed that it was too early to send machines but she assured me it wasn’t–there are over 70 women–sewists–who have been relocated to a village outside of Port au Prince and would love to begin sewing…first creating clothing for the orphans and eventually, creating items to sell and make a living. I asked which port they were using and I was told New Orleans….just so happens we already have a shipment scheduled to go to New Orleans in early March.
At the same time I was developing this new partnership with Rose and her group, I was also communicating with our new, generous collection site in Baton Rouge, AllBrands. John, the owner, has dedicated 80 new machines to include in our shipment to Haiti. Additionally, and this is pretty exciting, he is working on getting some of the abandoned FEMA trailers in Louisiana, outfitted with generators, to use as “sewing cottages” to ship to Haiti. His generosity overwhelms me.
And finally, I sent out a newsletter late last week detailing our Haiti effort and the response has been incredible. Sewing groups are organizing sewing days to stitch up little clothes for the hundreds of orphans that Family Outreach International serves. Everyone is scrambling to add their donations and help in any way they can. We’ll include these donations in our shipment in March.
My sister once sent me a card that said “Leap and the bridge will appear” and I believe that is right. When the path is right, the doors open and the way becomes clear.
Thank you to everyone who is helping us on this journey.