Radio Silence…

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. Just because we haven’t been saying much doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing much. It’s notable that this is perpendicular to the typical M.O. in our culture where there is so much inane chatter and so little action. At ropaderelief, we’ve cultivated a habit of saying nothing until the gears are already turning. Because until then, the talk is just talk.

Just a quick rundown of the developments over the past 3 or 4 months:

  • Calen got a job and has been working as a medic/firefighter for a local fire department. If you get your hand mashed in a tractor in his first due, rest easy, everything is gonna be fine.
  • There’s a sort-of-merger in the works. So look for more product sometime in the future. The exact details are still being hammered out. But growth is inevitable. The question is only how much.
  • Josh is about to graduate from nursing school.  This means I lost a bet. As much as it pains me to pay him a compliment, the world needs more people like him entering the medical field. Passionate, competent, free-thinking, and rather hairy. He was even featured in a university article. Just don’t ask him to fix anything on your bike.
  • The Rural Roof Project continues to go strong. So does Chagas disease. Which side are you on?
  • We have a new shirt and stickers coming out shortly. It’s not exactly politically correct. But neither are we. All the political correctness in the world doesn’t seem to be fixing anything. So we’ll continue to take our own approach. Philanthropy doesn’t have to be boring.
  • I’m starting PA school in June. For 2 years I’ll be dead to the world. But if and when I finish (new bets?), Ropa will have whole new scope of medical/human resources at its disposal. Headlines will read, “Tattoo dirtbag makes good: ineffective medical/political bureaucrats put on notice.”
  • The Big One: Permanent clinic being built in Gard Hiram, in the Ranquitte region of Haiti.

Here’s the deal, Ropaderelief is joining forces with Peacework Medical and seasoned humanitarian Pam Burwell to build a permanent clinic in the region where our efforts have been focused. For now, the cholera is gone. But the people there are still a 4-6 hour, expensive ride from the nearest basic medical facilities. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know the story of Amilouise. She died likely because she didn’t get the early intervention that she needed. Might have been an easy fix. And so we’re building this clinic, in the cuts, as an intermediary between health and avoidable death. This is not an incremental improvement on something else. We’re not just adding to a system that’s already in place. We’re creating something out of nothing and the challenges are numerous and lofty, just like the mountains in Haiti.

Pam is the brains behind this whole thing. She has decades of experience and numerous, previously-thought-impossible-successes under her belt. You and Ropa are the muscle. We need to raise at least $14k as quickly as possible to complete the clinic. We’re not the cautious type though. We’re brute force optimists. And we believe in using sunken cost as a motivator to complete a project. So even without full funding, we’re breaking ground. Because we know we can count on everyone who believes in these sort of foolhearted endeavors. That’s you, reading this.

I’m headed to Haiti sometime in the next 45 days for an extended recon mission. There are various objectives that need to be completed to make this whole thing a well oiled machine. Building the clinic is one thing. Staffing it and running it is quite another. And so I will spend a lot of time in country, doing boring statistical analysis, shitting in a (ecologically sound) hole, sleeping in the dirt, and facilitating construction. I’m also going to try and find a way to make the trip from Port-au-Prince out to the clinic site a little more accessible to the average traveler and further engage the local community in the project. Success in the future, as it has been in the past, is absolutely, 100% dependent on their support. To be honest, I wonder if I’m capable of completing that with which I’ve been tasked. But there’s an old saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

Over the next few months we’ll be having multiple fundraising events in the PHX area. Check back here for info. And as always, the Ropaderelief store is open for business. Or if you don’t want to buy any stuff, you can just make a donation.

And just to be clear, we don’t want to be in Haiti forever. The ultimate definition of success in this, and any other project like this, is when the local community no longer needs us for anything. It’s called the long view. And it’s the difference between charity and philanthropy. Charity is self proliferating and perpetual. It has often been described as a “give a man a fish” approach. Philanthropists seek actual solutions to problems. We’re phucking philanthropists, and we’re all learning to fish together.

3 comments for “Radio Silence…

  1. Tracy
    02.15.13 at 17:04

    Good work on many levels!

  2. Karen
    02.16.13 at 19:35

    Real help for real problems in the real world by real people. Yeah, real good.

  3. Karen
    02.16.13 at 19:38

    You guys are the best!

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