Project Haiti
Collaborative Effort to Bring Therapeutic Yoga to Haiti

Sounds to me like they needed tools!

Greetings Friends! I can not seem to write fast enough to keep all that has gone on updated on this blog! The most recent and perhaps greatest news is that we made contact with an organization in Haiti that is a fabulous fit for our program!  AMURTHaiti is a community development organization which is exactly what we were planning on doing, but we weren’t exactly how we were going to do it. Well, we don’t have to because they already do! I spoke with Hannah this evening over Skype but the connection was about as good as my Kreyol and we ended up instant messaging.  Even that was touch and go. In addition, she was in the dark (she said there was no electricity. Not sure how she was skyping me) with crying babies in the background and mosquitos feasting on her arms. We said enough to one another to really determine that we are a great fit. Our intention will be to place ourselves there and teach the community leaders of Haiti how to use our trauma informed programming for men, women, children and caregivers. If I don’t sound out of my head jubilent it’s just because I am completely brain fried from a 2 hour conference call.  I’ll be speaking to Hannah again in the next couple of days, but our next step is to plan our reconn mission. Maggie from Sprout Yoga (my wingman) has offered to go down and we’ll see who else can. Steve Gross of Project Joy has been a complete godsend! Steve has done this kind of work before and it was his wise and seasoned words that helped us move our focus to AMURTHaiti. Steve so eloquently stated, “If you have to chase down your partner and convince them to have you down, then your relationship will always be that. You will always be needing to prove your worth. If you partner with someone that finds you and wants you, that will be a beautiful and fruitful relationship” (oy. Where was he when I met my ex husband?)

As far as the local program and where we are with PIH, here’s the recap of the weekend. Jenn Cohen of Little Flower Yoga came up over the weekend to meet with some people from the Home for Little Wanderes, a facility here that offers programs for traumatized and at risk kids (In all my spare time I have been facilitating this union as well). Together Jenn, myself and my son went to the Symphonic Relief for Haiti which was a beautiful concert. I would barely keep it in when the Boston Children’s Chorus was on! The concert is on webcast at One of the speakers at the concert was Suzanne Battit, the Director of Development at PIH. I locked my focus on Suzanne as she took her seat just a few rows down from ours. (what luck!) After the concert I approached her and had a little chat, did a little name dropping and she handed me her card. During our little huddle, a couple of women from the local Haitian Community overheard and chimed in with regards to our proposed local program. They suggested the Trauma Center that Mayor Menino has set up at the Mattapan Library and we are pursuing that. PIH is a huge organization and we may connect with them eventually, but AMURTHaiti wants us and they want us as soon as we’re ready to come down. After my phone conversation we will know more. We are working towards doing a thorough needs assessment to determine what they need and how and when we can give it to them. This is crucial.

When I was in New York last Wednesday the friend with whom I was staying was cautioning me about getting too enthusiastic and optimistic about bringing yoga for trauma to Haiti. “These people are completely closed. They don’t want anything. It’s the hardest place on the earth to exist”. On the contrary, Hannah (the woman who is currently in Haiti) could not tell me enough how open these people are. Full of joy and love and light. She explained to me that she had never met more joyous and loving people on earth. My friend in New York (to illustrate the point he was making) told me about a man he knew that was sent down to Haiti by some big organization. His mission was to help the people of Haiti learn a certain task (of which I can’t quite remember) that involved a lot of tools. My friend was getting worked up as he was telling me of how the Haitian people were horrible to his friend. I simply stated, “It doesn’t sound like they wanted to learn what he was teaching”. My friend replied, “But this was something they needed to know! ” I replied, “They may have ‘needed’ to know it, but if they didn’t want to know it you’re friend wasn’t doing any good at all and was just wasting his time.” My friend became agitated. “They were horrible! They stole his tools!!”

Later, when Jenn was up visiting I related this story to her. She looked at me and smiled. “It doesn’t sound like they needed to know how to fix stuff. It sounds like they needed tools“.  Needs. Assessment.

Lastly, I have officially been named the Project Coordinator of Project Haiti. We have a leader 🙂




One Response to “Sounds to me like they needed tools!”

  1. Hi Sue, great post. Haiti isn’t a problem to be solved, it’s more like an overwhelming possibility that just busted wide open to a huge audience. I love your insight that they not only needed those tools, they wanted them. When ‘needs assessment’ is based on someone else’s idea of what I need, it’s often not helpful!

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