The experiences I had upon going back to Haiti and seeing the incredible poverty and turmoil this already impoverished nation was coping with have affected my life in a way that has forever changed me.
So much happens to all of us in the Jacmel training as we go deeper, become more aware, take chances, and connect over five days.
The loss of life here in Jacmel is far less than in Port-au-Prince but the burden is still heavy. There are of course the ordinary deaths that come with age, and the losses of younger people cut down by accident, sudden illness, or murder.
The pursuits of foreign firms -- making governance decisions about rebuilding, paving the way for other firms, racking up humanitarian clout -- have been at the expense of Haitians still struggling for basic needs and democratic power.
By the second day there are actually 135 participants -- almost 180 of us altogether. The ones who didn't come to the opening are present and others from the waiting list have found a way.
We are working in a school because no hotel in Jacmel can accommodate our crew -- 120 trainees plus 40 international faculty, interns, interpreters and staff.
A dynamic group of human rights, peasant and women leaders, the Haitians were at the start of a three-day tour -- a rare opportunity to present firsthand testimonies about the situation in their country to U.S. government officials.
In the circle of charitable celebrities, you'll find noted businesswoman and public relations pro Heather Robinson, the wife of former NBA star Cliff Robinson.
Non-Haitians and some Haitians hear the word Vodou -- or voodoo, in Hollywood parlance -- and shiver with fear and condescension. So let me do a quick rundown on Vodou, this way everyone can hurry up and get back to feeling good.
As it was explained to us, there are three root causes that lay at the core of malnutrition in the area: a lack of jobs, a lack of education, and lastly, environmental degradation.
Haiti's rates are on par with some of the world's highest burdened countries and ranks it as one of the most risky places in the western hemisphere for poor women to give birth.
It was not long ago when we stood by in distant and utter shock, praying only as we could for the well being of the Haitian people.
I toured Haiti last week with one of the greatest creative minds in the world -- my friend Donna Karan, whose Urban Zen Foundation is doing extraordinary work to help Haiti's people design their own future. Amidst Haiti's devastation, here is beauty, alive and well.
Shortly after the Haitian earthquake struck on January 12, 2010, my phone rang. I left the cold of Chicago seven days later. As an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who specializes in eye care, I worked to provide immediate treatment for those injured.
It is easy to give up on Haiti reading about where the country stands after two years since the 2010 earthquake. Women's rights is one example of huge problems and work ahead, and yet it also shows why no one should give up on Haiti.