Stuff

Lessons continue to be learned.  Most are inspirational.  Others are frustrating.

Take a look at the picture in this post.  This is what happens when good intentions go awry.  I’ve just met with the chief administrator of La Paix, a good-natured woman with ambitions for this place.  She sees what can be.  But she also sees what is.  And she bemoans the fact that her hospital in particular and Haiti in general is a dumping ground for the world’s good intentions.  (sidebar comment – that seasoned guy in this picture is Mike.  He’s been working his butt off for two straight days to get this room sorted out.  He has become one of my favourite people in the world.)

In one room alone, I came across boxes of supplies from Korea, Israel, Spain, the United States, and yes, from Canada.  The staff here are overwhelmed with what shows up on their doorstep and much of it is not needed, expired, or not organized in a way that can be retrieved easily.   Those who have spent a great time in “the field” tell me that the need to manage supplies effectively is common across the developing world.  It was a mundane concept to me four days ago.  Today I need no further convincing.

For our program here at La Paix, at least there is a solution in sight.  We’re in the process of building a 3,500 square-foot warehouse where we can store needed supplies in an organized manner and train local staff in the art of inventory management.

But we still have to collectively deal with our Western predilection for sending “stuff” to the developed world just so we can feel good about it.

6 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. Isn’t that the truth. If we send ‘our stuff’ we can turn a blind eye and feel we have truly helped out. Maybe Peter you have a suggestion on what we can do here in ‘the East Ward’ to get our hands dirty and truly help out the Haitians……….any ideas???

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  2. yes, that’s what people do – send stuff. They do want to help but just don’t understand that often stuff is not the best way contribute. Since I’ve returned from Africa, my response to “what can I send?” ………money.
    Everyday is a gift, sounds like you’re experiencing that in a big way….hope you continue to gain a deeper understanding….it will be good for all of us when you return and share. Stay well
    L

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  3. I can’t believe the amount of boxes in that room! Everyone loves to send “stuff” but it would be nice if someone could provide a list of items needed in the various countries. We do have a missions box at work but we need to educate people what to and not to send. I feel for you all sorting it, but keep up the great work! Your efforts will pay off for the staff and the volunteers at the hospital.

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  4. Peter – really enjoying your blogs – Wow!! What an experience. Great learning for our kids. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your colleaugues.
    Shelagh, Tim Kate and Aodhan

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