Buying Presence

The catch-22 is this:  on the one hand we want so badly to be about the work (and only about the work) of helping people. To help them dig out of their despair, to bandage their wounds. To, as Jesus said, visit them, clothe them, and give them something to eat.  But the thing is, we must first be there. Not just get there, but be there.

It’s a love/hate thing, sort-of.  Because while I love the notion that we will soon have our own place (the last installment of our guesthouse furniture is currently enroute: bunkbeds, mattresses, shelving units, etc.), at the same time I feel like my time is stolen from being with the people I love so much. (I remember telling our board in one of Starfysh’s early organizational meetings that things like fundraising and such don’t charge me up nearly as much as being in Haiti, being with those we would help.

But the long view of “being there” requires more than showing up now and again.  If we are to make a lasting impact, we must invest in presence.  In a fully-equipped, comfortable guesthouse, ready and waiting for those who would come and invest a few days or weeks or months of their lives down here.  In the vehicles needed to move compassion about the difficult terrain which is La Gonave’s.

As we do all this, of course, we are laying program groundwork (water, agriculture, feeding, medical care), which is, for me, way more fun. The time is coming soon when the center of gravity of time and resources will begin to shift from readiness to implementation. In fact, I see it already happening. Happy day!

Finally, I need your help folks.  We need rugged island transportation.  We have received two like-new 4-wheeler ATV’s that are currently enroute down.  These will be of enormous value to us in moving about the island.  What we are still waiting for and desperately need next is a couple of heavy duty, 4-wheel drive, diesel trucks.  They wouldn’t need to be new, just in good condition.  We will “lift” the bodies of the trucks up a ways, so they can navigate the rough mountain roads in moving supplies and people to where they need to be.  If you can ask around for us, or pull some strings, or know someone who would want to make a monster difference in the lives of a bunch of desperately-poor people by donating one, please send them my way.

Buying presence.  It’s what must be done if we are to deliver radical, transformative change to this land.