Niagara Gazette

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September 17, 2012

LEADERSHIP IN ACTION: Traveling to Haiti requires strength of conviction

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

During my preparations I I had to begin taking anti-Malaria medication, receive vaccinations for Tetanus, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A, and arm myself with antibiotics and mosquito spray.  I watched the weather channel knowing my flight was scheduled to arrive right at the tail end of a hurricane in what was already one of the worst environments in the world, severely impoverished, and where dozens of things could go wrong.   And I was being asked exactly why I needed to go to Haiti.

Difficult and frightening as it may have seemed, I had a strong sense that I was supposed to be there and I was ready to experience the good and the bad.  

The trip really gave me a heart for Haiti and its people when I saw the devastation that exists in Port-au-Prince.  Most people there live in extremely grave and serious conditions with food scarcity and disease in tent cities as far as I could see.  I quickly realized there was nothing to be afraid of and began meeting beautiful people who were determined to help Haiti.  One person I met was Brad Johnson, the founder of the organization, Mission of Hope, who started with a barren piece of land in 1989 and a vision to change an entire generation of Haitians. His organization provides nearly 100,000 meals a day, educates 3,000 students in three different locations daily, runs an orphanage, a medical facility and a church while also operating a prosthetics lab for amputees from the earthquake.  They started a micro-enterprise for women who are “deemed worthless due to their physical disabilities” called “3 Cords” which trains, employs, and empowers amputees.  And since the earthquake, Mission of Hope built over 300 homes and employed 150 Haitians in their construction.  A new hospital on the compound is being constructed and will be ready to be staffed by medical professionals from Haiti, Western New York, and North America.  Their mission of “life transformation for every man, woman, and child in Haiti” is well under way.

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