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My name is Keith Michaud and this is “Letters From Away,” a blog written by a Mainer living outside the comfortable and sane confines of New England. The blog is intended for Mainers, whether they live in the Pine Tree State or beyond, and for anyone who has loved ’em, been baffled by ’em or both. Ayuh, I am “from away.” Worse still, I live on the Left Coast – in California. Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.
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Tag Archives: relief
Maine Friends of Haiti, a group working to get aid to Haiti, is holding a raffle of sorts to spur more giving to the island nation.
Mary Doyle of the group asked that I post a link to the YouTube video that tells of the Maine people and groups that have traveled to help the earthquake-ravaged nation or have given in other ways, from coin drives, school plays, benefit concerts to art sales, solar panels and used sails donated for shelters.
The video also tells of the Maine-Haiti Statewide $1,000 Map Challenge Raffle. If I understand the raffle correctly, the name of each of Maine’s towns and cities is listed on a map and for the name of the community to be highlighted, just one person has to indicate that they have done something , anything for Haiti relief. That person then gets a ticket for the raffle. The ticket’s are not for sale; you get them by doing something for Haiti.
“You have to do something for Haiti to earn it,” according to the Maine Friends of Haiti website. “It’s a raffle that recognizes the caring nature of Mainers. It’s a raffle that challenges every town and city in Maine to get involved.”
Also – and I’ve e-mailed Ms. Doyle about this and I’ll update the information if I am completely off the mark – the winner of the raffle gets to pick which agency helping Haiti gets the $1,000. The winner doesn’t get a prize, per se, simply the pleasure of picking a nonprofit to get the $1,000.
Anyway, below is the link to the video and Maine Friends of Haiti website address.
LEWISTON — For two days after he returned from Haiti, Peter Geiger had trouble talking about his experience.
It was too emotional. Too intense. Simply too difficult to put into words.
“It was overwhelming,” he said.
Geiger had spent days as part of a rubble brigade, passing one bucket of debris after another down a line of volunteers working in 100-degree heat to clear a collapsed building that once housed a church and school. He had walked through the streets of a neighborhood built on trash, its water tainted brown. He had handed out soccer balls to children whose last play area was a sewer.
“Until you’re physically down there and you see it, smell it, hear it, it’s hard to describe,” Geiger said. “I knew it would be an emotional experience, but I didn’t realize, particularly until I came back, how emotionally I was affected by it. I’ve always been passionate about helping people, but this is a whole other level of need.”
Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Lindsay Tice in the Lewiston Sun Journal. The story is accompanied by photos and video.
‘Maine Friends of Haiti’ is woman’s way of pitching in | Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
Web site to link Maine resources
for Haiti aid uses woman’s media skills
Mary Doyle doesn’t have medical expertise or a lot of disposable income for charitable donations, but she wanted to do her part for the people of Haiti and the Mainers who are helping there.
She does have a knack for bringing people together and developing Web sites, so she tapped those skills to create the Maine Friends of Haiti Web site.
The site lists the large number of Maine groups working to help the people affected by the Caribbean nation’s devastating earthquake, which hit Jan. 12, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving 1.5 million more homeless.
“I tried to think of something that could be helpful,” Doyle said. “There was no Web site or group that was tying all the different efforts together.”
Click on the link for the rest of this story by David Hench in the Portland Press Herald.
And here’s a link to the Maine Friends of Haiti website: http://www.mainefriendsofhaiti.org/mainefriendsofhaiti.org/Home.html
The Rev. Marc Boisvert left Lewiston
12 years ago, and knows he will spend
his life – all of it – helping on this island
LES CAYES, Haiti – Saturday morning, as the Rev. Marc Boisvert rode in an SUV through the busy streets of downtown Les Cayes, a young man on a motorcycle pulled up alongside the open window.
“Respe, mon Pere!” the man shouted to Boisvert.
“Merci,” replied Boisvert before the motorcyclist turned sharply and zoomed down a side street.
What had the man said?
“He said, ‘Respect to you, Father,’” Boisvert said.
The compliment was well earned.
He was born and grew up in Lewiston. He went to a seminary high school in Bucksport.
He’s served as pastor at Roman Catholic churches in Castine and Stonington, a chaplain at Maine Maritime Academy and as a Navy chaplain at, of all places, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
But that’s all in his distant past. Twelve years, three months and six days ago – he knows because it happened on Jan. 1, 1998 – Boisvert left life as he knew it and came to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Click on the link for the rest of this story by Bill Nemitz.
Old sails from Maine recycled as tents for Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
LES CAYES, Haiti – Not once in the four weeks and five days since he left Portland Harbor had Dave St. Cyr, a deckhand aboard the Maine relief ship Sea Hunter, uttered such an exclamation.
A United Nations Police patrol boat arrives at Sea Hunter’s anchorage Friday morning to provide security during the offloading operations off the coast of Les Cayes, Haiti.
“What chaos!” said St. Cyr, 54, of Portland as he came to the ship’s bridge for a breather late Friday afternoon. “It’s unbelievable down there!”
And long overdue.
Sea Hunter’s mission of mercy to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, delayed by raging winter storms and enough red tape to stop the 220-foot treasure-hunting ship dead in the water for days on end, is at last coming to an end.
Just after noon Friday, a Haitian customs official gave the long-awaited permission to begin offloading Sea Hunter’s estimated 200 tons of relief supplies.
Minutes later, the water around the ship exploded into a scrum of landing vessels and a cacophony of bullhorns, security sirens and, above all, shouting Haitian workers.
“This is it,” said Sea Hunter’s owner, Greg Brooks. “This is what we started out in Portland for. And it’s finally come to fruition today.”
Click on the link to read the rest of this story by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.
At last, Maine vessel Sea Hunter offloading Haiti relief supplies | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
Students collecting 1 million vitamins for Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
PERU, Maine – Marilee Colpitts and Jamie Dennett had planned a missionary trip to Haiti long before the devastating earthquake on that island nation in January.
Their trip now will include their original goals, as well as helping some of the many children who have fled the capital of Port-au-Prince for Terrier Rouge, a city in the northwestern section of the country.
“We want to bring money for food and other things for the people who are fleeing Port-au-Prince,” said Dennett, who is making her fourth trip to Haiti. “Here, in this country, people go to the state. There, they go to the pastors.”
She and Colpitts, who is making her second trip, are among 14 people, mostly from Maine, who are representing His Hands for Haiti, a nonprofit Christian group based in New Vineyard that finds sponsors for some of the thousands of children who do not have enough food or cannot go to school.
Click on the link to the rest of today’s story by Eileen M. Adams of the Lewiston Sun Journal.
MIAMI — Preparations shifted into high gear in Haiti on Monday to receive the estimated 200 tons of donated relief supplies aboard the Maine ship Sea Hunter, while hopes rose aboard the ship that its five days in limbo here could finally end today.
But even as the crew lashed down cargo and looked forward to this morning’s arrival of a shipmaster who has volunteered to sail the rest of the humanitarian mission, new worries arose about the health of Sea Hunter owner Greg Brooks of Gorham.
Brooks said he spoke at length Monday morning with Dr. William Lynders, a Connecticut physician who has sailed with Brooks’s Sub Sea Research Inc. on several of the company’s treasure-salvage voyages.
The cell phone consultation followed a call to Lynders by Brian Ryder, the Sea Hunter’s chief engineer and shipboard medic. Ryder said he was worried about Brooks’ physical condition, including what appears to be a lung infection.
“I thought I was a strong guy, I still think I am,” Brooks said. “But it’s been a month of overwhelming things.”
Brooks said he would decide by this morning whether to continue on to Haiti or fly home to Maine after seeing the Sea Hunter off. Either way, he said, the decision will not be easy.
Click on the link for the rest of this column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.
Mr. Nemitz also added a Reporter’s Notebook about the Sea Hunter. A notebook typically are bits and pieces a reporter gathers, but never seems to find place in the main story or column. Here’s a link to the notebook by Mr. Nemitz.
Below is the text from a press release I received via e-mail from Susan Ropars of the Higher Ground Singers. It is pretty much the same information I passed along yesterday from the Portland Press Herald, but it doesn’t hurt to pass it along again.
Benefit Concert for Haiti: Higher Ground Singers, directed by Michelle Lessard, is excited to be hosting “Spirit and Song United for Haiti” at 1PM on Sunday, March 7th at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine.
Featuring a wide variety of Seacoast Area musicians and talents, this event is sure to appeal to all ages. Helen Ksypka, aka Extreme Helen, will emcee the benefit, which includes such local legends as Sharon Jones, Barbara London, Salt River, Rock My Soul, The Digbees, Lesley Smith & Sammie Snail, and Women Singing Out! Other performers include Barb Whitney, Michael Tero, The Dover First Parish Praise Team and Sweet Willie D & The North Shore Gospel Ambassadors.
Donations from the heart will graciously be accepted at the door, and 100% of the proceeds will be given to the following organizations:
Hands and Feet Project: a nonprofit organization which is a children’s orphanage/village in Jacmel, Haiti. They are currently rebuilding the homes that were destroyed in the orphanage and providing medical care to the injured children. (www.handsandfeetproject.org)
NEBCO Foundation – Haiti Amputee Rehab Team (HART): a New Hampshire-based team of doctors, working with the New England Brace Co. to provide prosthetics to children who lost limbs as a result of the earthquake. This team of doctors will be making their first trip to Haiti in early March. (www.nebcofoundation.org)
As always, do your homework before giving to any organization. The Better Business Bureau is always a great place to start to check out a charity.