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A Different Holiday Idea Worth Exploring

Haitian Girl - Photo by Don Miller“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
—Margaret Mead

During the holiday season, many of us feel truly blessed. We contemplate gifts for loved ones, put up bright lights and cheerful decorations, enjoy good food and special sweet treats, spend time with family and friends, and celebrate in myriad ways the sacred traditions in our lives.

While honoring and celebrating the birth of Jesus, some people also thoughtfully reflect upon the message of a man whose life was taken because he spoke out publically for those who were suffering.  His message remains one of love.

For others, the Solstice celebrations, Hanukkah traditions, and arrival of a New Year bring enormous gratitude for all the gifts received throughout the year, as well as thoughtful decisions on how to be of service to those who are less fortunate.

As the year 2013 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about Haiti (our close neighbor).

“Haiti has struggled with environmental degradation for years. According to the UN, Haiti is the most severely degraded country in the Western Hemisphere — once plush mountainsides are now barren and devoid of trees as desertification kicks in. This has not always been the case though — as recently as fifty years ago, Haiti’s forests were thriving and trees covered 60 percent of the country. Today, less than one percent of Haiti remains forested.” — The Lambi Fund of Haiti

I recently watched a YouTube video, “First World Problems,” sponsored by the organization WATERisLIFE. The video features ordinary Haitian villagers reading #FirstWorldProblem tweets. It was made in reaction to affluent western individuals complaining in tweets about their lives. The video is less than two minutes but makes a profound statement about priorities and privilege.

I personally support two organizations working to improve lives in Haiti. The first, Friends of Belle-Rivière (FBR), formed through the outreach efforts of Friends of Awakening, an Indianapolis-based meditation group. FBR helps to alleviate human suffering in the small, rural area of Belle Rivière. This group works directly with local community members to better understand their urgent needs and how best to meet those needs through on-the-ground support. Because a voluntary board takes care of any overhead costs, 100% of all donations go directly to projects in Belle-Rivière. Recent projects include the building of a community center and solar powered computers. Visit the Friends of Belle-Rivière website by clicking here.

The second organization deserving of consideration is The Lambi Fund of Haiti. I became interested in The Lambi Fund while writing my book, Traveling Spirit. This organization addresses health and nutrition issues faced by women and girls and assists with reforestion efforts in Haiti. To learn more, visit their website.

Three Simple Ways You Can Help:

1.  Mail a donation to:
Friends of Belle-Riviere, Inc.
2413 Winding Drive
Longmont, CO 80504
Friends of Belle-Riviere, Inc., is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization.

2.  Donate on-line to:
The Lambi Fund of Haiti 
The Lambi Fund of Haiti is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization.

3.  Purchase a copy of:
Traveling Spirit: Daily Tools for Your Life’s Journey
10% of profits go to The Lambi Fund of Haiti

Gifts from the heart are always the best gifts we can give.

Happy Holidays,

Diana J. Ensign

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