Today is a holiday in Haiti, so I'm working from home (work easily justified because we leave on R&R on Saturday!). I was just struck by one of those moments when I again realize how lucky I am so I thought an early list of all that I am thankful for is appropriate:
My thanksgiving list in no particular order:
#1: All morning I have been glancing out the patio doors of our apartment watching all the different birds and geckos on our patio and in the trees around our apartment. I just read an article last night about how Haiti's remaining birds, frogs and animals are heading towards extinction at a faster rate than any other country in the world due mostly to the fact that there is only 1% left of Haiti's cover of trees.
My Thanks-giving: How fortunate are we that we (a) regularly have birds and frogs to watch in our own backyard here (b) someone somewhere is working to slow and hopefully stop the extinction and (c) that we have an apartment and it has a patio!
#2: One of the projects I need to finish is a draft of a Livelihoods project, meaning that my organization will be looking for funding to do a training and work integration program to work towards solving Haiti's economic crisis and incredibly high unemployment rate.
My Thanks-giving: Based on my most recent knowledge, almost all of our friends and family that would like to be employed currently are - it might not be in a dream position, but at least it's an income and an opportunity to work.
#3: Another project I am working on is trying to find partners and funding for a teacher / tuition assistance (education program). In Haiti, with 90% of schools private education spending accounts for 40% of family revenue yet 52% of Haitians are illiterate, perhaps because 79% of teachers have no formal teacher training.
My Thanks-giving: With one of our kids graduated from college two more are deep into it and will hopefully have the perseverance to finish - at least they have the opportunity to even attend.
#4: I may not always agree with the direction the U.S. government takes but compared with what I witness here every day I will take it.
My Thanks-giving: I am a citizen of a country with a true democracy and citizens that, for the most part, understand the power of their role in it.
#5: Watching others diagnosed with typhoid, anthrax, hepatitis, malaria, dengue fever, now a horrible Cholera outbreak which is sometimes difficult to discern from the diarrhea that is everyday life here...
My Thanks-giving: Health and access to preventive medicine and, when needed, quality health care.
#6: Above all else, My BIGGEST Thanks-giving: Friends and Family - Thank you for being there to support us along this amazing journey! And for Al for alternately enjoying, enduring but ultimately appreciating every moment we have together.
#7: Oh, and I also have to give thanks to Pasha, the owner of the amazing French Bakery in our neighborhood that feels like a combination of New York and Europe and provides a little normalcy to the day AND has the most amazing Almond Croissants that are second only to an actual Patisserie in Paris. Really!