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2010-01-14 the Real Truth About Haiti and What Your Church Can Do Now and in the Future | Flourish

2010-01-14 the Real Truth About Haiti and What Your Church Can Do Now and in the Future | Flourish

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Published by: Plant With Purpose on Dec 20, 2011
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The Real Truth about Haiti and What Your Church Can Do Now and in the Future
 JANUARY 14, 2010by Joanna Pritchard and Rusty Pritchard 
 Earthquake victims in Haiti (Matthew Marek/American Red Cross )
Going green as a church is an important thing to do. Getting outside is healthy and restorative. Recycling issensible. Planting churchyard gardens that provide food for neighbors in need is huge.
But if all yourcreation care actions are local, you’re missing a huge part of environmental stewardship
.Haiti is a country just hit by a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake, leaving perhaps a third of the country sleeping in the open, exposed to the elements.
Give Now 
If you do nothing else today, give money and encourage at least two other people you know to give money to aidin this disaster. Better yet, activate your church mailing list, Facebook group, phone tree (what’s a phone tree?),and get your whole church giving. The need is great, and you may want to do more than one wave of encouragement.Our recommendations for giving:
Give right now to the big, well-known relief agencies. That includes World Vision,CARE(which does food and nutrition relief), the American Red Cross, andPartners in Health(which runs some of the only  remaining functioning hospitals near the Haitian capital). They have the proven capacity to get aid on theground fast; they have experience, competence, connection, and
they’re already there
. Now is not the timeto give to startups, however innovative they might be.
Give directly. Go to the websites of the aid organizations you want to supportand use their online giving
systems. Don’t give indirectly, no matter how cute the campaign your roommate or second-cousin isorganizing.
Give generously. It’s expensive to be poor (the poor pay more for life’s necessities like water than richpeople do, both relatively and absolutely more). And it’s expensive to operate relief programs in poorcountries.
Give money. Don’t start collecting shoes, blankets, medical supplies. The urgent need is for cash, so thatrelief agencies can get the right resources in the right places.
Begin now to make a plan for longer term giving for development work that makes people less vulnerable tonatural disasters. Build in to your church’s creation care activities a fund-raising component for similar work in the developing world. If you do a stream cleanup, raise pledges forLiving Water Internationalfor water projects overseas. If you plant trees, raise money forPlant with Purposefor reforestation work in the
third world. With so much talk in the environmental community about global warming, it is easy to forget that no matter what we do about it, all it means for poor countries is more of what they already experience–natural disastersthat become social and economic disasters. Whether or not global warming is good science, whether or not weshould cap-and-trade carbon pollution, we still should be ramping up our assistance to help poor countries.That doesn’t always mean more direct aid: it will also mean making economies more robust and less corrupt,less dependent on trade in commodities, encouraging private enterprise and finding ways for financial capitalto stay in place.
Learn Real History 
Haiti is especially vulnerable to natural resource disasters because of its unique history.In the 1700s Haiti was the crown jewel in France’s slave-driven overseas empire. It produced more wealth forFrance than all its other colonies, but that was at an incredible human cost. The slave system on the plantations was one of the most brutal in the region.The Haitian revolution of 1791 was inspired by the same ideals as the American revolution of 1776, and theFrench revolution of 1789. Some of Haiti’s revolutionaries had fought as volunteers in the Americanrevolutionary war. The Haitian revolution was the world’s only successful slave uprising. And yet, because thelargest economies of North and South America at that time depended upon slave labor, the Haitian revolution,rather than being welcomed, lauded and supported by the international community, was spurned andpunished.The French sent the Statue of Liberty to the USA as a gift celebrating our freedom from colonial rule. But nosuch goodwill came from either the French or the Americans to the world’s newest republic. Instead, theHaitian republic was a terrifying prospect to the slave-holding North Americans and Europeans. The fledglingHaitian leaders were left to try to reconstitute a working society out of the disorder of the plantation system,and were absolutely crippled by the peace treaty signed with the French that required Haiti to pay warreparations to France for 100 years afterwards, to compensate the French for the loss of its most valuable slavecolony and regain diplomatic relations for trade purposes. Haitian goods were threatened with embargo by 

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