Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog Action Day - Our Neighbors' Desperate Poverty

I worry about the economy. Our retirement and the girls' college tuition bills are years and years away. My worries are in another place. I worry about the current economic crisis because of the corrosive power of fear.

I worry that we will let our economic fears tighten our hold on our wallets, spur us to retreat to our bomb shelters, and harden us to the severe needs of the least of our brothers and sisters.

Haiti is so close to America, only 600 miles from Florida. The island of Hispaniola on which the country lies is also home to the Dominican Republic. The two countries are a study in contrasts. While the Dominican Republic is lush with verdant rain forests and the coastline is rimmed with luxurious resorts, Haiti's forests have been decimated, largely to be burned for charcoal. Most of its arable soil has been eroded away. Learn more in this brief article from National Geographic.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere was in a desperate state even before the recent hurricanes.

In the picture above, the woman, Yolen Jeunky, of Port-au-Prince, is collecting not clay bowls, not some form of fuel, but food. The poor of Haiti have been reduced to subsisting on mud mixed with salt and shortening, then dried.

Haiti's life expectancy is a mere 51 years. The mortality of infants less than a year old is 75%.

Don't look away. Please don't be hardened. If you believe in prayer, please offer them, but do not stop there. Partners in Health, led by the visionary doctor Paul Farmer, has established a hospital and medical program in Central Haiti that serves the health and well-being of hundreds of families. PIH's philosophy of "whatever it takes" extends beyond crisis care to long term rebuilding of hopeful and healthy lives. You can find ways to help here.

Please don't be paralyzed with fear of our economic woes. Please don't rationalize away the crisis of our brothers and sisters that is far beyond our own. Please do what you can to help.

Thank you!!!


Aloisio Milani said...

Here a post about #haiti food crisis after hurricanes and the absence of strategy to really help haitians.

Ronald Fey said...


Wow! Your blog looks great!

I have installed lots and lots and lots of new-construction windows. Not too many remodelling replacements.

Pellas seem pretty-much first class, regarding materials, fit and finish, etc. - other top brands include http://www.andersenwindows.com/ and http://www.marvin.com/.

A real top flight outfit I worked for in the Wilmette area was James Clarke Builders of Long Grove. Mr. Clarke is a genuine-original-Classic personality - old, very, very classy and charming etc. and very nice.

We remodeled an author's kitchen in Glencoe.

Hey, I invented this pretty neat machine. The purpose is to generate electricity from small-elevation-drop fluid flows in either natural or man-made (industrial) setting.

I call it a "hydrostatic pressure motor" - it uses hydrostatic force primarily (some minor hydrodynamic force also), for the generation of power. I came up with the idea calculating some values for some other inventions, where I saw that, for say, a 4 ft. x 4 ft planar panel, (for example, the side of a swimming pool 4ft deep) the force held by the panel is very large. I put this force to work in a sequenced manner - driving a crankshaft.

I built a semi-photo-realistic 3D animation of the operation of the invention and have it posted on the internet at my old blog site at: http://ronaldjfeyjr.spaces.live.com

There, (in the Pulic Files Folder) you can download a quicktime movie of about 20 MB of the assembly. If you need to download a quicktime player, you can download one at this URL: http://www.download.com/QuickTime/3000-2139_4-10002208.html

Let me know what you think! The power output I think would be pretty good, depending on the unit dimensions, (with the environmental impact negligible).


Regarding the Hatii poverty issue of your blog - if you look from the perspective of: what needs to happen is an improved standard of living, and thus a requirement for $$$, and thus how would you start an economy -- here are a couple of ideas:

Tobacco is about the highest yeilding cash crop - it built NationsBank of the tobacco region of the US, and which became Bank of America, and is the largest United States bank (I think). I read this in a Nat'l Geographic article - that yields are on the order of $1300/acre - and that no other crop comes close - possibly more with recent prices and/or a longer growing season. Nearby neighbor Cuba is famous for its cigars, etc. etc. Here is a short, partial, unreviewed list of tobacco seed companies:


The seed are notorius for being super-tiny and are very cheap. Warren Buffet says in the 1980's - they make 'em (cigarettes) for a penny, and sell 'em for a dollar.

For other ideas, regarding Haiti's economy - see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Haiti
and: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/index.asp
and: http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/myb.html

Another obvious conventional income generation sources is the production of sugar from sugar cane:
In prime growing regions, such as Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Ecuador, Cuba and Hawaii, sugarcane can produce 20 kg for each square meter exposed to the sun. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_cane
Again, Cuba is very near Haiti.

Furthermore, curiously, I thought of a potentially lucrative venture in that general area recently, as follows: An important component in Cement, and in some other important commercial/chemical processes is crushed limestone. Within a couple hundred miles of Haiti looks like what might be a vast free resources of a better equivalent - pure calcium carbonate coral sand ( see my attached map from google earth, and also http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/caribb/bs.htm) Looks like a great commodity potential - production from the vast sea of the submerged coral sands of the Bahamas. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate.

Thank you for your time!

Ronald J. Fey, Jr.