Answer the call

The Day Seven Bracelet

"What Can I Do?" Meeting Jan 22

Food Packing at FMSC Feb 10

"What Can I Do?"

On January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered a massive 7.0 earthquake just ten miles west of its capital, Port-au-Prince, a city with a population of 3 million. Current estimates have the death toll approaching 200,000. This is one of the worst catastrophes in human history and the trajedy is still in the early stages. Infection, starvation, and exposure are the battles that Haitians must fight now. Our neighbors need us more than ever.

The biggest need that relief organizations have right now is financial resources. If you can write a check to aid in this effort, do so. If you can't write a check or you want to do more, this is the place for you.

We have added several bits and pieces to the website. The charter is an ongoing project as is the What Can I Do? section. We have adopted a definition for justice that is at the focus of Certain Trumpets. The About section clearly defines Certain Trumpets as a secular organization with no religious message and with justice for all at the heart of what we do.

We are still seeking a good waterproof glue that is available in small enough packages to be cost effective for shipping with the bracelet-making kits.

Much of this will hopefully be useful in creating a broad curriculum focused on service issues with an emphasis on current events such as the earthquake in Haiti. We want to show people how their actions impact others in their community and around the world and vice-versa. We also need to discuss and develop the idea that we may have an obligation to act responsibly with regard to this impact (Do no harm? Are we obligated to go beyond this?).

Debe is still trying to get us registered as an official non-profit corporation.

Creating universal coherent instructions continues to elude us. One version of the bracelet-making instructions is perfect for a certain type of person and completely confusing to someone else. Kate is working on a video version.

Pawel has a friend that works for the UN. He is going to discuss our efforts and seek feedback.

Seth will be flying to Atlanta to take part in Deltaís effort to augment Habitat for Humanityís work in Haiti. Check back for an update on this experience.

Today is day 11. Today Rismond Exantus, 24 was pulled alive from the rubble.

The Haiti ďWhat Can I Do?Ē Relief Meeting (part II)

Again, thank you to everybody that could make the meeting. We are making rapid progress and I am very optimistic about our path and our ability to have a real and significant impact. The next meeting is going to be on Thursday morning at 8:30 at the same place. This may become our regular meeting time. The rest of this are the notes from yesterdayís meeting.

Notes from meeting 1-14-10
- Haiti past, present, future
- Greatest need is money
- What else can we do?
- We need to stay informed
- Keep Haiti relevant (6 days of headlines)
- Fundraising
- Micro-loans
- Letters to editor, elected officials
- Shipping is not a practical option
- Haitiís immediate needs and long term goals
- Introduction of
- Day Seven Bracelet for Haiti idea
- Scheduled Feed My Starving Children event (Feb 10, 8-9:30pm)

Progress: Day Seven Bracelet
We are now accepting donations on behalf of Haiti Outreach at Each donor is shipped a Day Seven Bracelet no matter what their contribution level. The website is up and running and we have successfully shipped one bracelet to somebody we donít know. Yay! She chose to donate $5.
We will be shipping one bracelet kit, also to someone we donít know (Yay!), but that was not through the website, it was through email correspondence. The bracelet kit is coming soon to the website. The contribution amount for the kit is $25.

Stones into Schools
- For some perspective on what the Haitian people are experiencing and some kind of idea of what is required over the next several weeks, months, and years, Greg Mortensonís Stones into Schools (the sequel to Three Cups of Tea) follows his team throughout Central Asia in the wake of the massive earthquake in Kashmir during 2006(?). There are a lot of parallels and this story really makes the current disaster hit home.

Goals (yours, mine, and ours)

Relief vs. Development (timelines for aid)
Relief is a temporary solution imposed on a desperate situation from sources outside of a catastrophe Relief is what the people of Port-au-Prince need now. Relief satisfies an immediate need such as food, water, and shelter. It is targeted at saving lives and bringing about stability. Relief is brought in from outside. Relief is what most people think of when they think of aid to impoverished countries. It can foster dependency. Some believe it is choking Africa. Over the last few decades, relief has been the principal industry in Haiti. It is not a long term solution. Haiti cannot become a developed nation through relief work.

Developmentís goal revolves around ending the poverty cycle. It often means weaning communities off of relief. Haiti Outreachís development program in Haiti seeks to empower communities so that the people of Haiti can lift themselves out of poverty. Development is far more complicated than relief. Solutions can rarely be imposed by the outside world and must be developed over time through relationships with the communities in need. 90% of successful development is listening.

The mission of Haiti Outreach is to work themselves out of a job by helping Haiti become a developed nation. This month they are drilling wells as fast as they can to bring life saving relief to the people of Haiti. But long term their mission remains one of development. They are doing this by creating community representative committees that are empowered to accomplish specific projects. For example:

Haiti Outreach has been working in the north central town of Pignon in Haiti. They began as a one man operation drilling wells in the late 1980s. When a community needed a well, this very generous man raised the money, drilled the well, and installed the equipment necessary to bring clean water into a desperate community. After a few years of this straightforward process, the wells began to break down. When this happened, the generous young man was the first to be contacted to repair the pipes and pumps. He was always quick to help out again. After several years, he had no time to drill new wells. All of his time was spent maintaining the old wells. This was relief. It delivered clean water, but required an ongoing resource commitment from an outside source and community progress stopped at clean water. Something had to change.

Today, Haiti Outreach finds out about the need for a new well when a community asks for one. Haiti Outreach sends them home with an assignment: form a committee. The committee must be representative of the community (men, women, religious representation, etc.). The committee must also commit to the long term maintenance of the well. This means collecting fees from the community on a regular basis to be saved for the eventual maintenance of the well. Community members are assigned or employed to allow access to the well during certain times of the day. The committee determines rules and qualifications for users of the well. And so on. Once this agreement is signed, the well is drilled and the pumps installed. Haiti Outreach monitors the well and the bank accounts to ensure the agreements are being honored. On occasion, Haiti Outreach has gone back into a community and removed their source of clean water when a community has failed to deliver on their promises. Clean water is the byproduct of empowerment, not the other way around.

The result has been dramatic. For these committees, there is a giant learning curve at the front end. These are a people where aid has been the main industry, the main source of income for decades. The idea that they could do something for themselves does not always make sense at first. Once the project is largely completed and things settle into the routine of collecting fees and scheduling hours of operation, the committee (and the community) finds that they have a lot of excess empowerment on their hands. They have gotten used to moving toward the goal of having a well. With the well in place, they begin to look for another goal to move toward. Schools have been built. Community buildings have taken shape. Partnerships with other communities have been formed for larger projects.

Haiti Outreach is creating empowered community entities that are developing into effective municipal organizations that may one day rise to the level of a robust national democracy.

The Bracelet
(Below is largely from the Thank You letter to contributors)
A tragedy of the magnitude that befell Haiti on January 12 stays in the headlines for about six days. Once media attention falls off, the publicís interest and support follows. Day six has come and gone, but the struggle for millions of people in Haiti has just begun.

Basically, the Day Seven Bracelet is a visible sign of our support for the Haitian people and a physical reminder for us to continue to work on their behalf. The red and blue beads represent the red and blue flag that flew over the Haitian capital on the day of the earthquake. Though it is only a short distance from the coast of Florida, most of us will never be able to stand on Haitian soil and help our neighbors with our own hands. Wearing these colors is a way to put our hands to work for the people of Haiti.

The world in general and Americans in particular are struggling to put this disaster in perspective and figure out just what we can do now. Money is still the fastest and most effective thing that anyone can add to the relief effort, but a quick financial donation can often fail to fully engage the donor. For many the writing of a check is their get-out-of-jail-free card. Once theyíve written the check, they feel like their moral obligation is complete and they check out.

For many more, there is still a desire to be involved even after our monetary contribution limit has been reached. The Day Seven Bracelet for Haiti is a way to get people involved and keep them involved, people that WANT to be involved. Furthermore, it encourages others to join the cause.

By wearing a Day Seven Bracelet, we are making a difference. We are showing the world that we remain vigilant. We are the call to action. The bracelets remind us that rebuilding Haiti will take years, not days, and as long as we wear them, the work remains unfinished.

But wearing the Day Seven Bracelet is just one step. It is a conversation starter; it is also the next comment, the next question. It keeps the conversation going.

For me, the bracelet is an introduction. It is a handshake between Americans and the rest of the world. It is part promise, and part cultural connection. It is the start of a relationship, convoluted and one sided though it may be. The Day Seven Bracelet for Haiti gives people a way to take the first step.

And it helps raise the money that is so desperately needed right now.

We are continuing to progress with the bracelet. People can get bracelet making kits on the website so they can host bracelet making events. We are developing relevant literature and someday a video to go with these kits eventually.

Kate is starting work on a student curriculum and an adult curriculum so that we can bring the bracelet into schools. We talked about conforming to state and federal education guidelines, so that teachers can integrate the bracelet and its message into the classroom, and so that kids can grow up with a more complete world view.

Discussed potential lobbying efforts. Kate has recently completed a lobbying workshop, so this may be possible sooner rather than later.

Starting from scratch with this organization, we realize that we may not be able to have the immediate impact we desire for our neighbors in Haiti, but we are working toward creating a well organized multi-national movement that will be ready to go the next time there is a tragedy of this size.

What Can I Do?
- Wear a bracelet and tell people about the red and blue Haitian flag
- Give bracelets
- Write letters (newspapers and websites, elected officials)
- Stay informed, engage others (read the news and talk about it with people you know)
- We need help developing programming to go out with the bracelets and along to bracelet making events (pictures, video, text, other?)
- We could start working on a curriculum for schools
- Any other ideas?

Before we meet again...
(Time commitments)

We need to get cracking on bracelets.
Researching not-for-profit status (Debe, Kate)
Grant possibilities for our work (Debe, Kate)
Begin curriculum development for St. Paul Public Schools' Discovery Club (Kate)
- Development of 2 day curriculum
- Development of 25 minute lesson
- Development of youth targeted curriculum and adult targeted curriculum. - Haiti before and after the earthquake (After meaning aftermath and long term development reality)
- Idea: day one is teaching junior high kids about Haiti and bracelets, day two is jh kids teaching younger kids about Haiti and bracelets.
Tailor bracelet program for service projects for confirmation candidates and high-school kids with service requirements
Plan relief trip with St. Thomas (Kate)
General research and literature development (Seth)
Investigate Joseph Bartlet contact (Pawel)
Find a good waterproof glue for bracelet kits (Debe)

A tragedy of the magnitude that befell Haiti on January 12 stays in the headlines for about six days. Once media attention falls off, the publicís interest and support follows. Today is Day Seven. The people of Haiti cannot survive without help.

Certain Trumpets has endeavored to create a personal reminder for everyone who wants to do something more.

The Day Seven Bracelet for Haiti helps keep our Haitian neighbors in our hearts and on our minds. It is a visible sign of our support for the Haiti people and a reminder for us to continue the work on their behalf. The bracelet is a call to action for those who wear it and for those that see it on our wrists.

We will be talking about (and possibly making) the bracelets much more at Fridayís meeting (7:00 at 2625 E Franklin Ave #LL-7, Minneapolis). Answer the call.

We are schedule to pack food for Haiti relief at
Feed My Starving Children. The date is Feb 10, 8:00 to 9:30pm. We will be at the Coon Rapids location. If you would like to attend, you must register, so please get in contact with me We will be carpooling since this is a bit of a drive for most people.

This is the one rule they seem to have for participants: Volunteers need to wear closed-toed shoes for safety reasons. Volunteers will be handling food ingredients (rice, dehydrated soy, dehydrated vegetables, and flavored vitamin powder). Volunteers should stay at home if they are not feeling well or if they have food allergies.

We are meeting again this coming Friday and again, everyone is welcome. The more the merrier, so bring your friends.

In the meantime there is lots to do. We are still looking for ideas, but as we put plans into action we are going to need volunteers! Please come on Friday so that we can figure out what resources we have available to us.

This is an opportunity to engage with other people and have a real impact to improve the lives for the most desperate people on earth right now.

Even if you canít make it you can still be involved. Just let me know. I will keep you informed of our groupís needs and direction. Also, let me know if you are interested in coming with us to Feed My Starving Children to pack food for Haiti relief. We can schedule as many slots and dates as we have volunteers.

Thank you to everyone who was able to come to the meeting last night. I feel much better having been able to take some direct action toward helping our neighbors in Haiti. We came up with several great ideas and also some sobering realizations. Here are my notes.

Money is the greatest need right now and is likely to produce the swiftest and most dramatic results. Aid organizations that are used to doing this kind of work can turn money into food, water, shelter, medical supplies, etc. much more efficiently than we can. Especially in this instance, it looks like the shipping costs alone will be higher than the items we are sending.

Having limited financial resources, we have decided to make an appointment to bring a group to Feed My Starving Children. FMSC has shifted their main focus to Haiti in the wake of this tragedy, but they need volunteers. Stay tuned for updates on our group, dates, and times. Please let me know if you want to receive email updates about this schedule.

Furthermore, we would like to turn this into a regular event, perhaps as often as once per month from now on.

Okay, those are the things we can do today, right now. If you can, please go and do them or contact me so that you and I can figure out how to do them. What follows is the rest of our brainstorming session.

Micro-lending is a great alternative to writing a check. Organizations like allow you to loan money directly to the people who need it. Kiva manages all of the administrative stuff and their repayment rates are higher typical bank loan repayments. Micro-lending is one of the keys to changing the world.

We need to understand the situation. It became clear last night how really underprepared we are to address the immediate needs of Haitians. We need to continue to seek out information through the news media (TV, radio, web, etc.) and other channels.

According to an NPR story I heard last night, this kind of event stays in the headlines for an average of six days. And as soon as the media coverage wanes, the interest and effort from Americans wanes as well. Today is day four. Survivors are still being pulled from beneath the rubble. It is critical that our attention not waver.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Keep clicking on news stories about Haiti. Every click is counted and as long as there are clicks to be had, content will be provided. Your mouse clicks are how online content providers pay the bills. Put their money where your click is!

We also need to keep the conversation going and invite as many people into it as possible. Only with a massive and sustained effort from outside of Haiti of the long term (months and years even) will this country have any real shot at recovering. We need to talk to our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. This is a way for us to keep people interested in the relief effort, but it is also a way for us to find out more information. I learned several things that I didnít know before last night just from the conversations at the meeting. Keep talking!

We even discussed creating posters and fliers and going door to door. We talked about going into schools and talking to classrooms full of students about what they can do. There are many channels available for motivating more and more people.

The People.
President Obama has pledged $100 million toward the Haiti relief effort. This is an unprecedented sum of money for a situation like this and it will take a lot of political muscle to insure that this money is approved by Congress and actually makes its way to Haiti. We need to keep the pressure on our elected officials to insure that these resources find their way to the people that need it.

Write letters to your local representatives. Call their offices just to ask for details. If they know that this issue is important to a large number of people, they will keep a better eye on that cash.

If you have anything to add to this conversation, let me know and I will update this page. If you have any questions or ideas, let me know and we will talk about them and update this page. If you have any resources to offer, let me know and I will update this page. Keep talking and stay tuned!
What Can I Do? (the list)