We make fun of each other.  It is what we do in life, to show our love, to show a familiarity.  It is how Irish Catholic families pass on their traditions of storytelling and guilt at the same time.  I love sparring with my brother Michael (who alternately works for the senator, city, quasi-governmental organization or congressman) he LOVES the debate game and laughter through a good argument and baiting us all into his web of expert thinking. He asks good questions, sometimes to lead us to his conclusions and sometimes to ask good questions.

He loves the inside joke that some of us don’t follow and is an incredibly generous soul.  I thought he was making fun of me on a trip to Haiti and I laid into him about how he would feel if his wife and  lovely daughters were living in an inadequate tent with rain pouring through the shitty USAID tarp.  I was too close to the situation to see his humor and maybe too close now to laugh.  I thought I guilted him into giving to Haiti. I don’t want to guilt anyone to giving to Haiti.  I will take guilt money, but it is not a tradition I want to continue. In truth, he had already given and gave again after our email exchange. He gave because it was the right thing to do.  He says that if he donated every time I was mad at him he would be broke, but the world would be better for it.  

I  am constantly inspired to do more work with Haitians, for Haitian and around Haiti.  That is the truth.  Everyone keeps asking me if I am going to Japan.  Partly to make fun of me, partly to understand why I keep going back to Haiti and I think partly because people don’t know what to say to get to those smart questions.

I am amazed by the progress made on the ground.

Amazed that the small groups of people working in partnership with Haitians is helping.

Amazed.  I didn’t know or really put much hope into large scale change.  It feels like you can’t expect too much with post traumatic stress.

But, large scale change is happening. Or more accurately highly dedicated courageous souls are pushing ahead with strategies that make large scale change a reality.

Mario Joesph inspired us …Brian Concannon asked us to think …Lisa Davis taught us …Blaine Bookey continually strategized …Malya Villard-Apollon reminds us to think big, to believe in oneself, to lead and lead and continue to lead. Others at Center for Constitutional Rights, the BAI, IJDH, The Goldin Institute and all their funding partners are continually adding to the work, discourse and strategy.

This is a unique coalition of talented souls.  Amazingly talented.

Imagine living in a tent.  Then imagine having the strength to do this.  This is incredible.  Almost unimaginable.   If I was living in a tent I don’t think I would have 1/10 the courage and strength.  This is how the world changes.


  • Mar 26th 201120:03
    by susan fink

    Really proud of what you’re writing here Colleen. Keep going. You ARE making the world a better place. Bravo dear friend, BRAVO. Susan

  • Mar 28th 201110:03
    by Trista Harris

    I am so proud of you. Both the work that you are doing on the ground and the work that you are doing to make sure that we all don’t get apathetic to the tradegy and potential in Haiti.

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