Project Haiti
Collaborative Effort to Bring Therapeutic Yoga to Haiti

serendipity and social networking

When I joined Facebook two years ago I had no way of knowing that it would become my place of solace for an entire year. After the crushing blow (note: understatement) of discovering that my husband had been living a double life for the better part of 14 years, and the subsequent disintegration of my marriage, I leaned on Facebook for support, guidance and let’s face it: distraction. Like spices on your spice rack, I added one friend after the other. One at a time they’d be added to the mix and  and before I knew it I was lousy with network after network of current and long lost friends!  It was a true refuge of an ever growing populace.  Now though, I am seeing the real and very potent potential of Facebook and the heretofore rejected Twitter. (140 characters?!? Come on!!) Because of social networking (in the new fashioned and the old fashioned sense of the phrase) I find myself in the middle of this amazing project, fueled by a collective sense  of love, compassion, care, healing and all made possible by contacts. The blitz-Kreig speed with which Project Haiti is coming together is nothing short of awe inspiring. I guess if you take the time to collect enough spices, you’ll be able to pull together any recipe in the book! Facebook lead to so many amazing yogis, the Yoga Service Council gang and long lost High School and RISD friends who have already committed to help (see Project Haiti logo for evidence. Courtesy of Dan Banks of Project Design). A contact of Maggie’s wrote a nice article for Elephant Journal and of course Dave Emerson (who I met with for no particular reason a few months back) of the Trauma Center is our contact to JRI Health without whom none of this would be happening!  Deepak Chopra, who I  kind of “e-forced” myself upon over Twitter, was kind hearted enough to notice and has given us much help in spreading awareness, not to mention some inroads to folks that can really help us! I’m trying my same not-so-subtle forcing technique on Oprah and Obama with no luck. What gives? Some other amazing contacts are yoga teacher Chanel Luck‘s student who was slated to start a yoga project for kids in Haiti but the program was held up (she was due to fly down there on the day the earthquake struck). She is in Port-au-Prince right now and keeping her eyes open. She has made a two year commitment to be there so she should fit in to our program somewhere!  Also, a fellow yogi, yoga teacher and second grade mom, is good friends with a board member of Partners in Health. This board member is friends with Paul Farmer so we hope to make contact there. In addition, another yogaHOPE contact (who also happens to be a good friend of my accountant in Maine’s daughter. confused?) has a friend who is Paul Farmer’s grant writer. Hello? My head spins.

So, here is the latest. In my unforeseen car trip to NYC for the funeral of a dear friend’s father, I was able to catch up with several members of the team. Maggie sprout yoga Julianno and I had a nice long chat this morning and we gave her some focus and intention! Her job at the moment is to collect as many resumes from interested teachers and program leaders so send them in to Our team will be carefully selecting our program leaders, teachers and coordinators so get them in now. I was actually able to meet with Jenn little flower yoga Cohen and we did some serious brainstorming around program organizational structure. Jenn is also leading a training in Boston (for a program I’m helping establish for traumatized kids here on local soil at the Home for Little Wanderers) so she decided to come up for the benefit concert this weekend and meet the Home folks too. Awesome..she is truly a love. On my way back to Boston I caught up with Dave Emerson of the Trauma Center and together we agreed that getting the Executive Director of the JRI and Paul Farmer in conversation with one another is of utmost importance. With lightening speed, Mark Streetyoga Lilly put together a beautifully crafted Executive Summary and we’re ready to for our action plan which includes: Outreach for qualified teachers and program leads as well as publicity for growing awareness, Getting program heads together to congeal program and choose date/place for local programming, and start laying out organizational structure, timeline and budget, and of course getting the big dogs talking!

Lastly, I want to mention that on my drive to NYC I was able to finally catch up with my mother. So happens, that in the year that I spent as an exchange student in England and  was traipsing  around with my fellow “catholic school-girls gone bad”  (if you can qualify getting drunk on pernod and pimm’s cups as bad), my mother was caring for 400 Haitian farm workers in 5 different farms in Northeast Pennsylvania! She told me stories of working side by side with the medicine man, treating one of the first aids patients, parking her butt in the dirt and dressing the wound of a young Haitian man while he continued to pick tomatoes (picking = $$$), and helping a young Haitian woman get an abortion. I told her she should write a book. I’m thinking of sharing some of these stories on this blog but for now, let’s just say my mother is not the same person to me after that conversation. In addition, I was able to see the real need for secondary trauma care. Through the years my mother has seen some horrific things and heard some very tough to swallow stories and when she passes them on to me I feel their weight in my like a stone in water. I know from my own personal experience that this heaviness is only alleviated by a mind body practice and I am so behind that aspect of our programming.

thanks for reading everyone. I will continue to share, update and inspire..

peace to all




2 Responses to “serendipity and social networking”

  1. hi there.

    this is exactly what we are doing with MANDALA HOUSE. our focus is on survivors of gender-based violence in post/conflict regions–using yoga/meditation as methods of self-recovery.

    while i haven’t worked directly with PIH (totally amazing organization), we are partnered with similar organizations working in-country. this helps us provide the logistical framework in which to provide our program. it’s a good model!

    be in touch, i’d love to help how i can.

    ms. lenny williams
    mandala house

    • HI Lenny,
      It would be great to speak to you, hear more about your program, have you share with us what works and what doesn’t and anything else you think would be good for us to know! I’d love to year more! you can email me at we are all, greater than the sum of our parts 🙂

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