On Not Ignoring Haiti

How volunteers in Haiti are making a difference.

As Salon pointed out in a story last week graphing news stories about Haiti before and after the January earthquake, the media –and we readers — have a short attention span when it comes to Haiti. It’s all too easy for most of us, most of the time, to ignore the suffering of those who live in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Not so for volunteers working with Healing Hands for Haiti, which supports rehabilitative therapy for amputees and victims of strokes and other diseases. When I traveled to Haiti last month with Healing Hands for Convene, most volunteers were making their second, or third, or fourth, or 20th visit. The organization, founder Dr. Jeff Randle, and volunteer Jean Tracy, senior national sales manager for the George Fern Company, are the subjects of a Leading By Example profile in the May issue, which is being mailed to subscribers this week.

The flood of doctors, nurses, and others who went to Haiti after the earthquake in January is analogous to the torrent of media coverage, now slowed to a trickle. Medical services are tapering off, although the need for medical care is acute.

Healing Hands continues to send teams to Haiti, as it has for the last ten years. The size and scope of the organization’s work has been radically altered by the earthquake, but the doctors, nurses, and therapists I traveled with to Haiti would have been there anyway.

I’ll be writing more here in the days to come, posting photographs from my week-long trip, as well as information about ways in which the meetings industry is supporting Healing Hands for Haiti, and other relief operations.

I hope others will chime in, sharing meaningful ways to keep our attention on Haiti.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.