Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

Storms

This song has spoken to me many times……

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When the solid ground is falling out, from underneath my feet,
Between the black skies and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been sold out by my friends and my family, 
I can feel the rain reminding me

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

But aren’t they just a Jewelry Shop?

You know, I used to think that was true.   Many others have thought that way, but let me tell you why that’s not true.

There are two organizations that are involved.   The Apparent Project and Papillon Enterprises.   One is a registered 501© 3 charity, the other is a for profit business.

The Apparent Project plays a number of roles in the lives of Haitians:

  • The Apparent Project is one of the largest distributors of jewelry and art made by the artisans who work for Papillon.   I don’t have exact numbers but The Apparent Project helped the artisans in Haiti by being the distributor of close to half of everything they made last year.   That, in turn, enables Pappillon to employ that many more Haitians and allows that many Haitian families to stay together and keep their kids out of orphanages.
  • The Apparent Project helps Papillon by procuring some of the supplies their artisans use to make the art.   Why?   Because that helps them sell more and helps them make more profit out of each sale.   When you are barely eking out a meager living, every dollar helps.   I’m working on some ways you can help with this – stay tuned.
  • The Apparent Project helps the artisans through education – additional training for the employees as well as for their children.   Do the artisans have to pay “retail” for these sorts of educational opportunities?  No, they don’t, but they do have to pay some of it.   The last time I checked, the average cost of sending one child to a public school in Haiti was the equivalent of about 90% of the average wage in Haiti.   Can you imagine making $52,000 a year and paying $40,000 or more to send one of your children to school – and you have four more?   That’s part of where you can come in.   It’s not possible for us to help them with these needs without assistance from outside of Haiti.   We work very hard to make sure that they have responsibility and take responsibility but the costs are just too high without outside support.
  • The Apparent Project provides child care opportunities so that the artisans can come to work knowing that their children are well taken care of.   This provides a greater opportunity for work and greater peace of mind and more well-balanced and well-developed children because they are  children cared for well.

We have other things that we’re working too.   Every one of them has an underlying theme:

We want to help, teach and support Haitians, predominantly Haitian mothers, so that they can provide for their family, care for their children and feel an honest sense of respect and self-worth as they take their place in Haitian society.

Orphanages feed, clothe and care for the children of struggling families.   But they don’t provide for the long-term health of the entire family and allow the children to stay with their families.  That makes a life long difference.

That’s why The Apparent Project is more than just a jewelry shop – actually, we aren’t even a jewelry shop at all.

Stay tuned for more,

TJV

Why do they do it?

So, why does the ApParent Project do what they do?

Why do they go through the trouble of trying to build a market and create jobs in a place like Haiti?

Why don’t they just set up another feeding clinic?

What drives the people who run AP, the people who I now work with, to do what they do?

There are, as I see it, three reasons that they do it…..

1. Because it’s the right thing to do.   Helping families stay together and helping them through a rough spot in a way that develops and fosters responsibility and independence, that’s hard but it’s the right thing to do.

2. Because of trauma.  I’ll explain it in more detail later, but every child who has been relinquished by their birth parents and adopted into a new family has experienced trauma.   Experts say that it doesn’t matter what the age, they all experience it and all deal with it for the rest of their lives.   Some more than others, but it affects them all.   The folks behind AP want to avoid that.   I’ve seen that, I’ve lived that, I want to avoid other children having to deal with that.

3. Because providing jobs, building responsibility and encouraging education will change the future – the future of these families and the future of Haiti.

In a nut shell, there are three reasons why The Apparent Project does what they do.   They are why I joined them and they are why I hope you will join us in helping offer hope and responsibility to Haitians and their children.

More to come…..

Tom

Courage

 

 

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Once Upon a Time – Not a Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was this family.   The story isn’t completely written yet but this family adopted two of their kids from Haiti.

While they were in the process of adopting from Haiti, they discovered something that really bothered them……

Many of the children, the estimates run upwards of 70% or higher, many of the children who are in Haitian orphanages aren’t orphans in the strict sense of the word.

What’s the strict sense of the word “orphan?”   The strict sense is that a child is an orphan if they have no parents who are living.   According to many “big” organizations, there are in excess of 140,000,000 orphans but if you apply the term in its strictest sense, the number drops to be between 15,000,000 and 20,000,000.

Do the math – what’s the difference between 140,000,000 and 20,000,000?   Yes, that’s right.

One hundred and twenty million children who are considered orphans and living in orphanages who have birth families.   Families that want to take care of them but for a variety of economic reasons are not able to.

They are known as poverty orphans.   Poverty and the lack of food has driven their parents to bring them to an orphanage in hopes of a better life.

If you take the numbers for Haiti, there are estimated to be around 430,000 orphans.  70% of that would be 301,000 orphans in Haiti are poverty orphans.

If their parents, their biological parents, had a way to care for them, then they could stay with their family.   301,000 kids who could have mom and dad tuck them in bed (or mom or dad).   301,000 kids who could know who they belong to.   301,000 kids who wouldn’t have to wonder why Mom and Dad gave them up.

This family (go back to the top) decided this wasn’t acceptable.

And so The Apparent Project was born.

Come back tomorrow for installment #2 of the story.

TJV

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