Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hope and Heart for Haiti

Today is the anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti last year.  More than 3 million people were directly affected, reports of 100,000+ dead, and 1 million left homeless. Despite the challenges Haiti faces in creating (not rebuilding) an infrastructure, fighting an outbreak of cholera and another winter season filled with rain and hardship - there are signs of hope.

I was pleased to receive the most recent American Red Cross 'Hope for Haiti' newsletter with the kind of details a data geek and natural questioner like me to answer some of the "where's the money going" questions.  The report segments so many issues, and provides great progress and hope. The totality of the damage still leaves me breathless and sad.

I spotted another sign of hope when I waited in line (a really long line) at Macy's when I was buying Tommy new Calphalon pans for Christmas.  I spotted a beautiful impulse-buy display of brightly colored, and clearly handmade goodies. As an artist who makes every piece of her own jewelry, you know how I feel about supporting handmade, and I was at the mercy of shoppers who clearly had never shopped before (Really lady not from Boston - you want to write a check? WHY in God's name? Kudos to clerk who helped her complete the transaction as quickly as possible.)

I digress, given that I had time to fondle the merch, I ended up with an impulse buy of a beautiful painted tray. I made plans for it on my holiday table, but as usual, needed a last minute hostess gift, so wrapped and delivered it was. So I was thrilled when the lovelies at Clever Girls Collective said "Hey! You should help us share the news about the Heart of Haiti shop at Macy's!" (Which I totally read as 'You didn't miss out by not going shopping after New Years!' What can I say crowds + me in the absence of wine does not equal anything good.)

Willa Shalit is the amazing woman who brought Macy's together with the artisans of Haiti via her Fair Winds Trading Company, and she is leading a trip in February to see what is happening on the ground, hear from a family still living in a tent camp and meet artisans who are transforming their own lives and the future of Haiti.  It's a 'roughing it' adventure, low-cost, and low on amenities but a real chance to see how life is changing in Haiti.

If you aren't up for adventure travel, then make a trip to Macy's or go online to support handmade and help rebuild a country, one beautiful piece of art at a time. The prices are super-reasonable, the sales provide an income to people who have few options in a country that is still on the brink. Help Haiti, help artisans, fill your home with beautiful things - these are all achievable goals. As for me - I think I need a jewelry holder (or three) for Moda di Magno displays.

And FYI I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own (in case you couldn't tell.)

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