THE BLOG
04/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An Appeal From the Field in Haiti

I have been on the ground here in Haiti since January 17 and am writing this out of sheer desperation as an appeal for your assistance to help us keep getting aid directly to the front lines. Since being on the ground, we partnered with the Haitian water companies, trucking companies and community members setting up an efficient and effective distribution pipeline getting aid directly into the hands of the people. We have documented each and every assessment and supply drop along the way. As a volunteer-run organization, all funds are going directly to the front lines and we need your help for us to be able to stay in Haiti getting relief to the displacement camps where many of the people have not even received food or water. We need financial contributions to continue to fund the water and supply drops with our Haitian teams. Your donations go directly to cover fuel, employ local teams, and cover transport cost. Please spread this message far and wide.

During our 31 days in Haiti, we have managed to distribute over 150,000 gallons of purified clean drinking water, 8,000 pounds of food and over 8,000 pounds of medical supplies to over 20 camps, several hospitals and have impacted tens of thousands of lives. Let me share with you the reality on the ground and the amazing opportunities we have to continue making a direct impact at the local level:

Today was possibly the toughest day yet. Our funding has run out. We went out to assess two camps and ended up assessing six: Aviation Camp, Delmas 2 Camp, Cite' Soleil Camp, Park Heritage Camp, Camp Eugene Fontamara 43 and Petionville Club. Our first stop at Aviation, we showed up to set up water drops. The camp holds close to 6,000 people and borders two other camps, Delmas 2 and Cite' Soleil. As we pulled up and started scoping out the area, we were quickly met by a gang that ran the Aviation Camp. I asked them what their situation was like and if they had seen any relief aid come into that camp. They explained that three weeks ago a group tried to distribute but riots broke out and no one has been back since. I explained that CAN-DO is a small organization and would be willing to set up another distribution but that we would start with a water drop of 50,000 gallons of purified drinking water as a trial run. I have quickly learned from the get go that water is the easiest surplus to distribute because people need to line up and fill buckets, jugs and cans, and it is not something that can be bartered or sold.

As we discussed the possibly of distributing the water, we were met by another gang. The discussion became heated because they were trying to figure out how this would work if there were three camps side by side -- bottom line was they wanted to make sure that they all were provided for. I explained that if they worked together and made this a successful distribution with them being in charge, I would document it and we could show the international community that distribution can be done calmly and efficiently at the local level. They immediately agreed.

We sat for two hours discussing the possibility of distribution and storage systems for the water to create more effective solutions. The bottom line is that we have three camps willing to work together and work out a way to make this a successful water distribution drop. I went on to explain that if they can pull this off without issues, that I would send the video out to other NGOs to show that it was safe and that they had their act together. In order for us to utilize the resources of the community, we must raise the funds to facilitate and support the cost of fuel, transportation and storage. These funds are vital to restore order in the distribution process. This unity between the three camps will be crucial to the rebuilding of these communities.

Following that meeting, we made our way inland to two other camps (Camp Heritage and Camp Eugene) -- one consisting of 350 families and another made up of 200 families. This camp is completely off the grid and has not seen food, water or medical supplies. Nothing since January 12. It has been the safest and most calm atmosphere under the circumstances I have seen since arriving in Haiti. They are a very tightly knit community with a lot of children -- sick children. What was so refreshing about this camp was the feeling of community.

Like all camps, this one was basically made up of sticks covered by sheets and clothes tied together to make shelter. Seeing that they have nothing and are cut off from any kind of aid, this is a situation that needs IMMEDIATE help. Because of their location, they cannot wait any longer -- especially with the rainy season right around the corner. This is the same scenario throughout the camps in Haiti. We NEED to get supplies in here now.

I have seen several extremely sick children with high fevers and it looks like dysentery has set in. I would like to provide this camp with tents, food and water.

With your help, we can get relief directly to these camps and work with the survivors in order to bring stability to their communities, while documenting the entire process and updating you daily. CAN-DO is committed to working at the grassroots level to create lasting results -- your help is vitally needed so that we can do this. Please make a donation today and see your impact. Share this with your friends, family, associates and networks and demonstrate that we can make a positive change.