Eugene Cho

5 reasons why i’m in haiti right now

As you know, I’m now in Port-au-Prince Haiti. You might be wondering, “Why are you in Haiti right now?” – especially since nearly two months have passed since the devastating Haiti quake on January 12, 2010.

There are 5 main reasons why I’m here:

Personal Learning. I don’t ever want to be someone that learns through just books, blogs, and newspapers. We have so much self-acclaimed experts. Through my travels to developing nations and speaking with local leaders about their communities and countries they love, I have learned so much. And whatever you do, don’t forget that it’s never going to feel “right.” It’s messy.

Partnership. Quest Church is partnered with World Concern and they are the org that’s hosting me during my short time here. I’m here to develop that relationship. Recently, the folks at Quest also helped put together over 270 Healing Kits for some of the children and families of Haiti. It’s good to meet some of these families.

Q Cafe also donated 10%o of their February sales to the relief efforts in Haiti and also hosted a great benefit show to raise additional funds and awareness.

One Day’s Wages. In response to the devastating Haiti earthquake, our team at ODW set up a “Haiti Relief Fund” and gave $5K from the org’s “Giving Fund” in hopes that donors would match it. And to be honest, I wasn’t even sure if people would give that much.

Wow, we were really surprised and humbled. Thus far, we’ve raised $94,523.91 and we’ll likely hit our “current” goal of $100,000 this weekend or the next. I’m here to see how some of those funds were used through our partners in Haiti – which includes World Concern.

What’ next? The dire importance and necessity of the initial relief work is done. And while there’s still need for the distribution of food, water, shelter/tents, medicine…the slow and more difficult work of rebuilding is here.

Don’t forget Haiti. Nearly two months have passed. While we’ve driven around Port-au-Prince, I’ve heard from numerous Haitians that have commented this sentiment:

“The media is gone. Even the military presence is smaller. But we’re still here. Don’t forget us…”

Without creating dependency, how do you create opportunities for people; maintain or restore their human dignity?  Relief work in the developing world is always complex but we should all agree with this:

Don’t forget Haiti.

I shot this video the day I arrived in PaP. I felt so disrespectful shooting this video and another person shot the photo above…because I was standing on top of corpses.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for a great post, PE and the reminder.

    By “standing on corpses” do you mean that there are known to be bodies beneath the rubble you’re standing on that folks can’t get to?

  2. […] there with World Concern and is staying right in the mess of it all. He has been updating us on his blog and the bottom 2 pictures below are recent ones from his twitter, the car being right next door to […]

  3. Eugene Cho says:

    blake: yes, there are known to be bodies. in fact, there are still thousands of bodies under the rubble.

    when we arrived at this site (which is where world concern started some work), they had just discovered one of the bodies.

  4. jmylander says:

    hey pastor eugene,
    what are your thoughts on “disaster tourism”, and have you seen much of that in Haiti? working out of the DR, this has been a hot topic as groups pass through on their way across the border. everyone wants to help, but outside the development/relief circles, is one’s money better spent as a donation than on a $1,000 plane ticket? i’ve wanted to go check it out myself (and being so close it wouldn’t be too hard), but reconsidered when i realized i’d probably just be in the way.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      jmylander:

      good question. i wrestled with it as well.

      i’m not sure if i saw much of it there. meaning, i saw tons of westerners but i have no idea in what context they were there. of those that i briefly spoke with, they were all directly involved in the aid work in some capacity or had direct relationships with NGOs, CBOs, or churches there.

      the money better spent WILL always be a HOT topic. i don’t have any easy answers but as you know, there’s a great amount of need in Haiti (and even in DR) but hopefully as the relief work transitions into development work, everyone is really carefully considering HOW we do our development work. creating a culture of dependency – in the long run – can create damage that will impact generations.

  5. […] been an eventful couple months already with a trip to Haiti and Guatemala but each year, my church’s Elder Board graciously allows me to travel a certain […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

my tweets

  • To support both the equality of women & the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but we're not alone. May we press on. || 15 minutes ago
  • Going to the Women's March in Seattle bc as a Christian, I believe women are fearfully and wonderfully made and are to be heard & respected. || 3 hours ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 3 hours ago
  • God bless America...so that we may be a blessing to the hurting, poor, vulnerable, immigrants, oppressed, marginalized. God bless America. || 1 day ago
  • Hope arrived. Not in a politician, system or "great" nation. Rather, hope arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. Place your hope in Christ. || 1 day ago
  • Whatever our political inclinations, may we have courage to both genuinely pray for our leaders and to speak prophetic truth to their power. || 1 day ago

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