It has been surreal to see the pictures of the devastation of Haiti. Normally when these disasters happen and circulate around the internet I don't feel much of a connection to them. This one is different to me.
I spent a few days there last year and really had an amazing experience. I knew that it was the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and was a bit scared to go. I thought it might be dangerous. My fears were unfounded... I felt safe there, even walking the unlit streets at night. No one so much as asked me for a dollar, which blew me away. The people were poor, but they were warm and generally seemed pretty happy. Everyone was so friendly to me, from the people that hosted me and suggested that I stay for a month or two, to the dancers at a random dance practice, who came up and invited me to see their show when it was ready.
Despite only being there for a couple days, I loved Haiti and felt a connection to it. I spent a bunch of time at an orphanage and a kids school, running around with the kids, playing with them, taking pictures and letting them see themselves on the screen, and letting them (try to) braid my hair.
It's one thing to hear a news report about a disaster, but it's another to see photos of buildings I saw just a few months ago that are now crumbled. I saw a photo of some survivors and one of the kids looks like one of the kids I met at the orphanage, although I'm not totally sure it's him. But what really struck me is not being able to get in touch with the people I stayed with there. They check their couchsurfing profiles every day, but they haven't logged in since the earthquake.
Hopefully they're okay, but with the high death and injury tolls, it's very likely that at least one of the very kind and generous people I met didn't make it.
I waffled on donating money, not because I don't want to help, but because it seems so insignificant. Really, I'd like to fly down there myself and do what I can. I donated a small amount of money, didn't feel any sort of satisfaction, and thought about what I could do to leverage what I have.
So here's what I've come up with: pre-order a signed copy of Life Nomadic in the next week and I'll donate 100% of the money I receive to the Haitian relief charity I think is best (I'll do research before donating).
Now, I'm not actually ready to release the book. It might be a few more weeks until it's ready. I was planning on waiting, but I figured this is worth jumping the gun on.
Order any time before midnight PST on January 20, and I'll donate the money to a Hatian relief charity. When the books are ready I will sign yours and mail it to you at my cost. If you want something specific in the inscription, put it in the comment section of the Paypal payment.
To buy the book, click the Buy Now button. Feel free to buy a bunch of copies and give them away, and send your friends here if you think they'd like the book. For more information on Life Nomadic, click here, but buy the book through the link on this page.
EDIT:US only, please. I will honor international orders before I added this, but the shipping is too much for me to cover if a lot of people order outside the US.
Also, to see some of the photos I took in Haiti last year, go here.