Written by Deborah Duncan
A Burnaby family is walking from Coquitlam to Hope in June to raise money for two Canadian aid groups working in Haiti. The Duncan family has two girls adopted from Haiti and wants to give back to the girls’ home country. Taphatna, aged 12 and Camasiz, aged 11, have both been involved in several fundraisers before, but this walkathon is the biggest family project yet.
The list of problems in Haiti is a long one. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 76% of Haitians live on less than $2.00 a day, and 1 in 5 children dies before the age of 5 years. Haiti ranks 146th of 177 countries on the UN Development index. A series of hurricanes and floods in late 2008 left 70% of agricultral lands, roads and bridges destroyed. The already high costs of fuel and food have spiralled out of reach of the average Haitian due to the world economic crisis. Only private medical care and education are available and over half of the adult population is illiterate. The poorest have resorted to eating dirt cookies made of clay, vegetable oil and salt to stop the hunger pangs. Haitians are descended from African slaves brought by the French to work their plantations, and have a proud cultural tradition of music and art.
Deborah Duncan, the girls’ adoptive mother, has visited Haiti 5 times volunteering in orphanages and has a deep love and admiration for the people of Haiti. The whole family is participating in a June walkathon to raise funds for Canadian Feed the Children and FIDA. The first organization supports an orphanage, a hospital and community development projects. FIDA supports agricultural development and literacy training. You can see details of these organizations and the walkathon at their website: www.tohopeforhaiti.ca your support help people of African heritage in Haiti!.