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A different perspective, Haiti Earthquake 2021

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

Lémec Thomas is my name. I was born and raised in Haiti until the age of 17 when I moved to the United States to attend school. My senior year of high school was spent in Overland Park, Kansas, with the wonderful McElvain family, who took me in as their own for a year. I then went to college in Fresno, moved around a little, and eventually settled in San Diego, where I married my beautiful wife Tara. Over the years, I've worked in a variety of different industries; most notably hospitality. Soon after the birth of my first child, Aria, I became aware of a void in my life's mission and wanted to work to leave something greater for my daughter and the next generations. After a few months of soul searching, I decided I wanted to support the community of Haitian people I grow up among. Haiti Christian Development Fund appeared to be the most obvious and efficient method. My parents founded Haiti Christian Development Fund (HCDF) in the early 1980s, and as their first child, I was able to participate and witness the many different projects my parents initiated with the support of the community. Following a few conversations with my parents, it became clear that the area of the organization with the most pressing need was development (Fundraising). So, in May of 2018, I left my hospitality career, thanks in large part to the sacrifice of my extraordinary wife, who was already the family breadwinner and who took on an even larger responsibility in order to allow me to return to HCDF. I was appointed as the HCDF's representative in the United States and Development Director by the HCDF board. My parents have been working in Haiti for 40 years, and the conversation of who was to be their successor had already began before I joined HCDF. After working with HCDF for a couple of years, the HCDF board decided I was the one best suited for the job. I assumed the mantle of President in 2020. My family and I still live in San Diego and I take regular trips to Haiti. I am so grateful for the leadership that has been established in Haiti. It would be nearly impossible to maintain and grow without the foundation my parents set and the leadership of Jean Francois, Wilner and other directors and leaders. Haiti is often a continuous adventure, but never would I have ever imagined such a wild year and a half. Almost right from the start the world was hit with a global pandemic, one in which seems to not becoming to an end anytime soon, at least not soon enough. While the world and Haiti continue to deal with the pandemic, Haiti is dealt yet another blow, the former prime minister of Haiti Jovenelle Moise is assassinated in a very conspiracy inducing fashion allegedly by Columbian and other foreigners posing as DEA agents. In the midst of trying to figure out the short and long term consequences of the assassination, Les Cayes and the southern peninsula of Haiti is struck with the largest earthquake in 200 years. Anyone who knows anything of Haiti's history knows that Haiti has never had a true opportunity to live up to its fullest potential.

Haiti Earthquake 2021

Its been a little over week since the earthquake the southern peninsula of Haiti. Haiti's tribulations never seem to end, they just seem to come one after another and pile on each other. The earthquake was strongly felt in Fond des Blancs. We are grateful that no one has been reported as injured and the property damages have not been widespread. Reports from ADF Haiti are coming in of several homes losing much of their structural integrity and having collapsed walls. Many of the housing damages are due to poor building quality which is due to lack of funds to build a fully structurally sound home. Many of our teachers are from Les Cayes and we have heard that many of their homes have been lost. We have heard of a couple being injured. HCDF has offered to cover their medical cost. It has been difficult to reach some of them because of the poor cell service caused by the earthquake. Preparations have are being made to receive them in Fond des Blancs. The importance and relevance of our work is present in the farm. The farm initiative began shortly after the 2010 earthquake. The farm was able to provide around 6 tons of food as support to Les Cayes. It can be easily proven that those tons of food may very well be one of the few provisions sourced, grown and provided from within Haiti and not imported from foreign soil. To meet this moment, I feel conflicted in many ways. My and HCDF's vision is to continually be looking ahead and never stop working towards creating a stronger and sustainable Haiti. Work towards providing Haiti the space to rise. In these moments of crisis, how do we meet the moment, but not sacrifice the integrity and strength of the Haitian people. How do we make the ask, but also help people understand that this battle can only be won by the Haitian people themselves. I am often afraid of expressing the depth of suffering that so many Haitians have to endure because I am afraid of what it will take away from them as a person. I am afraid that they will lose part of their humanity and beauty in peoples minds. I am afraid that they will be perceived as a problem that needs to be solved and not as fully divine, dignified humans deserving of all respect and grace. The needs are great and the journey is long and full of tribulations and the needs must be met and the journey must be taken and it must be done without taking away the humanity of a person. Haitian people don't want pity, they don't want saviors, they just want the space and opportunity to be everything we are all born to be; beautiful, authentic, healthy, strong human beings who seek to love and serve one another. The vision I have for HCDF and the Fond des Blancs community is large. HCDF's vision is to participate with the community in transforming the infrastructure, education, democratic government and possibilities available to the people of Fond des Blancs and beyond. To do that we do need help, we need monetary resources. In this present moment we need beds, we need household goods, we need money to rebuild broken homes. Today and moving forward we need funds to provide cooperative property, health and other insurance, we need funds to start an inclusive housing community that use high standard building materials and techniques, we need funds to help create capital for the credit union to help provide opportunities for low interest, easily structured small business loans, we need funds for advancing and improving education and we need funds other inclusive, sustainable and innovative projects. To learn more about our vision please contact me. To make a donation please visit our website. I love you all and thankful to all of your hearts and look forward to participating in this life with you.

Thank You

Our work would be impossible with out everyone's support. Thank you for supporting us and believing in our mission. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact me. I would love to talk to you.

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