Monday, February 15, 2010

Warning: bitter post

We were visited today by five representatives from the UN, AVSI (an Italian international non-profit) and Terre des Hommes (a Swiss international NGO). So far, there have been twenty investigators come to "visit". They are all concerned for the welfare of the children and were pulled in to Haiti from other countries to defend the rights of the children. They asked questions like: does every child have a bed? What are they eating? Are we providing counseling? Are they getting medical treatment? What are our plans for their education? We answered their queries and they appeared satisfied.
So, being the smart-aleck I am, I asked them questions like: How much are you paid? Are you getting hazardous duty benefits? Who pays your rent? Who paid for your new car? Do you have an expense account? How many children have you fed today? Bought any medicine? Would you consider tithing to help the children? Silence.
They come to guarantee the safety of the children but don't offer us a dime for their care. I wonder how much is being spent on this? How many reports will be generated in triplicate and then collated and made into a major human rights publication?
Now I know that some of this is absolutely necessary but there are times, like right now, when it just seems out of whack with reality. Where were these inquisitive, caring people before the earthquake? Child abuse and neglect have been rampant for years here. The whole restavek situation has been begging to be addressed for a very long time.
About ten years ago I went to PaP and sought out help for the children at the major NGOs. Beautiful offices, gleaming cars, freezing air-conditioning are what I saw. Everyone was busy writing, editing, proposing, meeting, planning and strategizing... No money in the budgets for feeding or clothing children. No, that kind of help is non-productive! They were working to change systems so that future generations will be better off. Ahuh!
Told you this was bitter.

30 comments:

regina said...

You have every right to be bitter. Bureaucracy at its finest.

Janina said...

what a disgusting mis-appropriation of time and money spent.

Anonymous said...

and I'm sure they came in big white land rovers!

Anonymous said...

There was a book recently published about all this: "Travesty in Haiti" by Timothy Schwartz. It does a pretty thorough job of laying out corruption in the NGO's in Haiti from USAID food distribution for cash to medical care to orphanages, etc etc etc. It makes one wonder how anybody honest can function in that environment.

Barb in New Mexico

Theo said...

Dear Barb,

I ordered that book but it never made it here as it was delivered to an address in the states of someone heading down here. The earthquake put a stop that that. Someday.

FM

Anonymous said...

I completely understand what you are talking about. I was in the peace corps and inspired me to go in to humanitarian/aid work. I worked at a USAID contractor for 5 months before I was too sick of it and quit. It is astonishing the salary and benefits given to these "international aid" workers. I was disgusted to see how the taxpayer's money was spent on USAID projects. SO MUCH FLUFF, and at the contractor, the more they spent, the higher their fringe income. And it was like we were trying to bring the consultant's living standards up to rich American levels...
K.Ross

Bob Matte said...

They treat you like you just set up shop yesterday, I would imagine 12 years of selfless giving and your outstanding accomplishments would serve as a standard for the type of aid that is needed in Haiti. The more I see of politics the more disgusted I become.
As always you and your people are in my prayers and I am campaigning on your behalf to everyone I know.
Bob Matte

Anonymous said...

You go Father Marc,

Sounds a lot like working with some of the FEDS back home.

Doesn't surprise me a bit..

See you tomorrow, I hope....dr.jerry

melissa schloneger said...

Father Marc,
I think that your perspective is spot on. We have actually switched churches about one year ago because we worked on a missions committee for about 6 years who liked to "plan and strategize" but who seemed to shut down actual plans for trips and finances to support such things without their control. It seems like the desire for control can be detrimental in doing the work of the Lord and serving other people. Most people don't want to get their hands dirty or do sacrificial giving if it means being uncomfortable. Praise the Lord for you and the other servants in your orphanage - keep on truckin'!!

Pastor Dan said...

Fr. Marc, I am constantly amazed at how well you do within some very difficult circumstances. You remain in our prayers here at Clintondale Friends Christian Church. God bless!

Sue Valiton said...

Hang in there Fr. Marc. You are Espwa! You are hope, not only that the children will receive the support they need to succeed; but hope that you will be able to do this, in spite of the bureaucracy and corruption running rampant in Haiti. I have found that when I have giant obstacles to overcome, I try to remember how far I've come, rather than how far I have to go. Espwa has become an amazing testament to the hard work and dedication of you and your staff. I don't know anyone else who could do what you're doing.
You certainly need a lot more miracles right now, but God already knows that. It is a comfort to me, to know that all of you are in His hands. We'll all just continue to work hard and storm heaven for you.
Take care, Sue

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately these guys represent the "black hole" where much of the governmental aid goes to. Even before the quake there has been hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Haiti. Where did all that money go? To guys like these so they can puff up their feathers and look important and like they are doing something. It would be better off just handing the money to people in the streets.

Steve said...

Well at least they came and went...probably never to return.
Steve in Wisconsin

Elsie said...

It's astounding to learn that most people refuse to heed the warnings of the Lord. This week First Readings from Book of Proverbs on WISDOM. Sometimes I wonder what the true nature of MAN is, good or evil? Why is it so hard to be good for most humans? But our faith teaches us to hate the evil and not the person, so let us pray the Beatitudes: Blessed are the clean/pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Ivone said...

I like to be hopeful that your forthrightness makes a difference in people's minds and hearts and we will see the results. It is a dark world and that's why the work you do, Father Marc, is so bright and beautiful!

Mary Ann said...

It is certainly fair to ask, "What are you or your organization actually doing for us today when we need help to get to the tomorrow that you are meeting about and planning for?"

Anonymous said...

Hot topic! After Katrina, I would never give my money to the Red Cross. Yes, I said it! I would rather find someone like you Fr Marc and support your work.
The Red Cross along with other NGO's have really shown their true colors.
Where is the accountability?
The whole thing smells. Is Preval saying, "okay" to each NGO "you raised how much money on the demise and plight of our people?" and "where is it?" and "this is where the people want it spent." I say start with paying each Haitian to take part in a census. Everyone gets a little something and we know who everyone is...to start. And for goodness sakes, set up a network of computers.
Every child goes to school, no questions asked...I mean we care so much about the children, right? As far as the government goes, help, I can't think, my head hurts. I think it's cute that our government thinks they can help the Haitian government. Haven't they been kind of helping all along. Careful what you wish for. Helloooo Katrina...Mmhmm!

Ronda said...

Call it like is Father Marc. The world needs to hear it from those receiving (or not receiving) the aid. Wake us all up a bit. Glad I donated my money to your organization and not any of the usual money grabbers. At least I know some kids got fed!!!

marc costantino said...

Good for you, Father Marc. Keep asking those folks questions every chance you get. Hopefully, you will find one with a conscience and insight. After all, you are about espwa.

Louvregirl said...

God Bless you Father Marc. I am so terribly sorry for the injustice you have had to suffer. How ignorant and self-righteous they are. I will pray against the darkness and that their eyes may be opened. God's safety and HIS speed in getting the shipment of goods (via boat) to your facilities ASAP. Be of good cheer. God does not slumber nor sleep. He is aware of your need and He is 'on it.'
lg

Joan said...

Hi Father Marc - I only donate to
small NGOs for this very reason.
I wish the US media would do more
reporting about this. Thank you for
speaking up. Regards Joan

Anonymous said...

As always, if you wanna get something done ( really ) roll up your own sleeves and start sweating. keep at it Fr. Mark, you wouldn't believe how many folks are following this blog and cheering your work on. Slowly it is dawning on more and nore of them that they might play a little constructive roll in this by sending you a bit of cash from to time, myself included. All because you give us an inside window to what it's like on a day to day basis at ground zero. Thank you.

Jean K said...

As a Wiccan, I applaud the work you & your staff are doing. I support your cause, not through religion, but through the inherent goodness of most people. I am also disheartened by the lack of response by the "so called" responding agencies. It is my greatest wish that your ship comes in, literally. Keep up the great work, I wish I were young & healthy enough to join you, but I will continue to send what I can from my Soc. Sec.
Blessed Be, Jean

Corey said...

I don't call it bitter, Fr. Marc, I call it realism. Keep calling a spade a spade. Jesus didn't ride around in a white Land Rover writing reports, as I recall,and wouldn't have, even if they had been available, because he was too busy feeding the hungry and healing the sick.

Gayle said...

How dare they even question what you are doing for the kids!!
It's a good thing that those of us that have been lucky enough to see the wonderful work you are doing weren't there. It could have gotten ugly.

Gayle

Portia said...

I got into a little battle with a former-UN just yesterday over this matter. hadn't known you blogged about it. must have been a ripple effected. I was really bothered by her reaction. she told me I had a "western perspective."

hahahahaha. MMmk.

keep up your good work.

Elsie said...

Hi, Portia! Your blog was the first I read on Fr. Marc's work. You were a volunteer at Castel-Pere. I found my first charity with FREE THE KIDS.

BelindaK said...

I don't blame you for being discouraged. They need to stop lumping all of the orphanages together. There are some very good ones and some very bad ones, just like in anything else. They need to assess the good ones and offer approprate assistance.

Anonymous said...

Aren't we also lumping ALL THE BIG NGO's in the 'bad' basket? Remember that a lot of the UNICEF staff including the Chief died inside this beautiful building with all the bureaucrats. How hard it is "to pray for your enemies." All these criticisms are starting to get me down, but I make an effort to stay on the positive track, esp. since it's Lent. Transform ourselves.

Anonymous said...

It would be heart warming to see some help arriving in places like Les Cayes. Ton's of money has been given. A little more action to get aide out into the countryside is really not a lot to ask. If the truth never comes out what good does that do. The issue is not good or bad but where is the aide that is needed. It is only 100 miles from PAP to Les Cayes.
Someone needs to notice.