Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So, Where Did All The Money Go?

I just watched a piece on my local news about a town in Haiti, overlooking the Caribbean, that has still not received any money to help rebuild. It's been more than 5 months since the earthquake. The mayor and his wife still live in a tent because his wife is too scared to stay in their big house that was damaged a bit in the quake. The mayor talked about how they received tents, and that is IT. No money. He said he has only received one phone call from his government about what is happening. Of course, I'm not there, I don't know who is being truthful or not, but our local news girl was narrating and a lot of clips were shown of buildings laying in crumbled shards, schools leveled, etc and still nothing has been done other than the people in the town working with their own bare hands to sort things out.

The mayor of Jacmel  is waiting for a wooden house to be finished on his property before he can move out of his tent. Awhile back he got a group of people together to inspect homes and mark them with special symbols so they know which houses are considered safe, in need of repair, or condemned... but those houses needing repairs still sit because there has been no monetary aide to make major repairs. What's up with that? Where did the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of world wide aide go?

The mayor also said something I found rather interesting.. he said things were done instead like the tents. He stated that they cost $600 US each, and that whatever group it was gave out about 4000 of them but he thinks that money could have been used better elsewhere. He said "If your house is in need of repair, they just hand you a tent". But what caught my attention most was that cost - 600 bucks for a small tent?? You can get a huge 3 room 12 man tent from Sears for 200-300 bucks. I got one for $150 in a sale that comfortably fits 8 people and zips off into 3 separated sleeping areas and a common room, plus has 3 little storage areas that can be zipped off to keep everything separate. So why the $#%&^ did it cost $600 for these dome tents? Who the hell authorized those? Oh gee could it be another case of a government or big organization buying up the most expensive items instead of something rational? The people of Haiti are not on Everest and needing super duper layers of thick canvas walls and extreme stitching or whatever makes a little dome tent cost 600 bucks - they needed shelter and something that might give them a little hope. If you had a family made homeless by a disaster and you had a choice between a 4-6 man dome tent, or a 3 bedroom tent with storage areas, what would you pick? Not to mention the second choice would mean being able to buy one or two more similar tents for another family or two... geezus murphy.

But anyway, here we are 5 months and 3 days after the big devastating quake and many towns have seen NO aide money. More disasters have happened in other areas since then. My coworker just went to Nashville TN on the weekend as part of her Elvis/Memphis tour and was so sad to see so much of it in ruins. Other countries and regions have been dealt a devastating blow by nature - 20 campers killed in flash flooding for example. Volcanos, more earthquakes, flooding - it's everywhere. But Haiti got the attention and people responded in heaping doses of cash - for what exactly?? The front page of my local  newspaper yesterday showed the problems with trying to get schools up and running, have places for these children to go and try to continue their lives, but no aide coming in from the major organizations... where is it??

2 comments:

  1. When you have government handing out 'aid' everybody gets in line to get their share. Prices inflate and lots of OT if you get what I mean. I find it funny the left doesn't investigate this issues more though? I heard that the Red Cross, took hundreds of millions in donations but little of the money was spent in Haiti and instead built up a reserve fund of several hundred million dollars. (real conservative)

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  2. I have heard a lot of things too, who knows what is true and what isn't. However, one only has to look down there and see how little has been done in order to realize that as usual, something has gone very wrong.

    I have had family members comment recently that they are getting sick of all the people asking for donations for stuff. Every store has a fundraiser going on for various groups, we're asked on tv, radio, newspapers, etc to donate to various organizations. Canvassers come to our doors (tonight I had the Kidney Foundation ringing my bell after 8pm when I was trying to get my two youngest kids to bed), and we have friends and family in various cancer society relays and runs and bike rides. So with all the hype in January and people I know donating as much money as they could possibly handle to Haiti, here we are in June and they are starting to get irritated with being asked for a donation every 5 minutes. Our phones and doors ring, we get things in the mail, sign into facebook and get invited to all sorts of groups or asked to donate to something... But we have no way of knowing where our money is even going!

    This past month I have had invites to 8 different garage sales and BBQs for various charity groups. I have seen others advertised. In the meantime, I am trying to afford to finish off the month's groceries as well as pick up little thank you gifts for my kids' teachers and the soccer coaches. I have a baby shower to buy for, and Father's Day is coming up. Not to mention trying to save up for a 3 day holiday at the end of July.

    Is it selfish of me to turn people away at my door tonight and hang up on someone calling from an organization I have supported for the past 4 years in a row? I have my own life to live as well. I would like to use some of the money I make on my family and my kids' coaches and teachers. I would like to welcome a new baby into my boss's family - but if I donated to everyone who asked me this past month, I would not be able to do that! Is that fair? Is it wrong to question this in the wake of seeing hundreds of millions of dollars sitting in a holding tank somewhere while people in Haiti are still waiting for it?

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These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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