Sunday, July 12, 2009

Haiti trip proves need for recycled soap

Humbled … and hopeful.

Those are the two words that came to mind as I listened to William Lowry describe his experience delivering our first load of recycled soap to Haiti. William is the founder and executive director of Central Care Mission in Orlando, the organization with which we formed a deep partnership to handle our sterilization and packaging operation.

William rode along in the Missionary Flights International DC-3 that departed Fort Pierce, Fla., on Tuesday, July 7 to deliver 2,000 pounds of soap to Cap Haitien, Haiti – the poorest city in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Once there he met up with Pastor Julio Brutus of the First Haitian Church in Winter Haven, Fla. Pastor Brutus is a native of Haiti and he is our man on the ground in Haiti.

Actually, Pastor Brutus is THE man. This guy knows all the right people … how to get around … how to work the system … and he served the very important role of interpreter.

With Pastor Brutus, William was able to visit and bring soap to two orphanages, and to an estimated crowd of more than 10,000 at a four-hour, mid-week worship service at the Tabernacle of Praise church.

In a country that has suffered a near total collapse of government, the poverty and hopelessness is inconceivable to most of us in the United States. When people barely have any food to eat, many live in homes without proper roofs or walls, and there is an absence of garbage disposal or a proper sewage system – things like personal hygiene tend to fall by the wayside.

People are living in filth, and they don’t have soap. That is a recipe for disaster.

William said that in the three days he was in Cap Haitien, he never saw soap in a public restroom. He didn’t see soap on the shelves of the one small store he found. The desperate need for soap was illustrated by the thousands of people who mobbed the distribution team at the church service. “It was what you imagine it would be like if you delivered a truck full of food to an area where no one had eaten in a month,” said William. “You hope to have some sort of order and an organized distribution, but it just doesn’t work because everyone wants to make sure they get theirs.”

After his visit, William is convinced there is no question about the importance of our mission to distribute recycled hotel soap in places where it is needed most.

“If we can get soap to them, not just once, but over and again, we will have a major impact on their lives,” said William. “Soap can save lives. It’s not just a concept, it is today a reality. It is fact.”

See the entire photo gallery from last week's Haiti trip.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard this on tv the other day & I thought this was so great. Are you only doing this in Fla? Is there any way I can contribute?

Jackie

October 13, 2009 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like so many people I saw your excellentinterview on "60 minutes". Do you have anyone working for you in Maryland? I am actively seeking work in an area of making a difference in the WORLD, through non-profits, outreach, charities...stc Most of my career have envolved the business for profit...wholesale and retail buying, marketing, advertising, human resoucres etc. I have experience in the wholesale markets of "body care" ...SOAP. Please let me know if there is any postisiton for which I could apply.
Positively Brilliant!

Jane Crawford
deChantal.frances@gmail.com

October 14, 2009 at 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too,am interested seeking work in an area of making a difference in the WORLD, through non-profits, outreach, chatities...etc. I have a question....is there a need for unused soap? When I stay in a hotel I use my own products, but I take the soap, shampoo,etc..I feel that these products are paid for in the hotel rate I pay. I have wanted to donate them to a place like Haiti, but I just haven't quite known how to do it. What about whole bars of new unused soap....If we could collect one bar of soap from the people around us....Could this be another option...or maybe someone is doing this already?...so I need direction some direction SuzanneMathieson bsm101064@gmail.com

October 15, 2009 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Dr. David said...

I live in Mexico and would like to start the same program in my home state, Guanajuato. As this state is a popular tourist destination, there are many hotels. There are also many rural communities (540 in my municipio, or county, alone) which range from very poor to extremely poor, and where many people, in part due to globalized agriculture, can no longer afford either soap nor shampoo, two popular hotel give-aways.

Any help you can offer in terms of details of your excellent and innovative program will be most welcome. The town in which I live has more community organizations per capita than anywhere else in the world, so non-monetary support will be no problem. We are ready to go.

Dr David Stea, david.stea@gmail.com

October 16, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually think this is a bogus, racist PR stunt by well meaning white folk. Haiti needs economic development and the same opportunities the West has given to the Europeans and other countries. Giving soap is a slap in the face of these proud African descendants. They are not ignorant, backward, dirty, diseased people. Why does the white man think in order to colonize he must first convince the indigenous population they are not white man clean or white man educated. After all, even when most people of color obtain a post grad education and wear the most expensive perfumes, you swallows still see us as dirty and undesirable. Keep your soap, we know how to wash our behinds . . . thank you kindly.

November 10, 2009 at 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOAH! I honestly cannot believe what this last person wrote. Millions of people around the world die because of diseases spread by poor sanitation. Handwashing saves lives, black or white or mexican or whatever. I think accusing someone of racism without knowing any facts is completely racist in itself. So I work in a hospital - should I not wash my hands between patients? The hatians are so poor that they cannot buy soap - so are you not going to help them obtain soap because you don't want them to be offended?

January 13, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger I'm just puzzled said...

I think this is great! I work for a homeless shelter in San Francisco and I do the same thing here in our city. I have a few of the high class hotels that allow me to come in a pick up hundreds of pounds of soap. I really would like to do more as far as donating just for my shelters. There is nothing wrong with recycled soap. We also get shampoo and conditioner..This is a helpful way of going green..lolivencia@gmail.com

February 7, 2010 at 4:50 PM  

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