How did the NGO’s(non-governmental organizations) do in disaster relief – both in the short term and in the long term? That’s a hard question to answer. There were many organizations and many people who did a phenomenal job at making a difference in very difficult situations. Not just very difficult situations, but in downright horrific situations.
But, unfortunately, there was a lot of money wasted, a lot of money that was donated that never came in and actually did anything. Many of the governments that promised aid had a requirement that it be spent with organizations from that country. So, you had countries who were “donating” the money and then it was creating jobs and benefiting companies in that country. Did they still make a difference? Absolutely. But did it make a difference as much as it could? I think the answer to that question isn’t nearly as positive.
Is Sean Penn a rock star or a “rock star?” What do I mean by that question? Was Sean Penn involved in Haiti to make himself feel good and/or to look good? Or was Sean Penn involved in Haiti because he truly feels that he wants to make a difference and is in it for the long haul? The closest I’ve come to actually meeting Sean is when he went through the VIP line and boarded the same plane I was getting on coming home in February of 2011.
From everything I’ve heard, Sean and his organization, JPHRO, are taking the time to do things right, to empower the local Haitians, to work with other organizations and do more than just put bandaids on things. I heard (not verified) that for the first 9 months, Sean slept on a cot in a big tent with all of their volunteer workers. So, I’d say he is a rock star in the sense of being someone who is devoted to doing it, doing it right and doing it the way that benefits the Haitians most.