Are we as generous as we think we are?

A couple of interesting graphics measuring giving related to the Haiti earthquake. (Click to enlarge.)

First, considered in terms of sheer amount of money:

(Graphic: GOOD Magazine)

And second, in terms of giving per capita:

(Graphic: Many Eyes; data source: The Guardian)

Taking the US as an example:

  • Gross giving = $114,480,000 ($168,000,000 according to The Guardian’s data)
  • Per capita giving = 53 cents (36 cents according to GOOD Magazine’s data)

Advocating debt relief for Haiti


(Photo: James Addis/World Vision)

Rich Cizik, David Gushee and Steven Martin over at New Evangelical Partnership have written a petition entitled, “A Christian Call for Forgiveness of Haiti’s Debt.” Many people have been advocating for it as a way to assist Haiti on its long road to recovery and stability, but here’s the first actual petition that I’ve come across. Please sign it, and pass it on to others.

The country and people of Haiti have enough to deal with without crushing debt added on top of it all. Let’s do what we can to help our Haitian brothers and sisters back onto their feet.

On Haiti's reconstruction: Obama and Sachs


Photo: Catherine Lainé

Check out these essays on Haiti.

First, President Obama’s Newsweek cover essay, “Why Haiti Matters.” An excerpt:

In the aftermath of disaster, we are reminded that life can be unimaginably cruel. That pain and loss is so often meted out without any justice or mercy. That “time and chance” happen to us all. But it is also in these moments, when we are brought face to face with our own fragility, that we rediscover our common humanity. We look into the eyes of another and see ourselves. And so the United States of America will lead the world in this humanitarian endeavor. That has been our history, and that is how we will answer the challenge before us.

Second, Jeff Sachs’ WaPo op-ed, “After the earthquake, how to rebuild Haiti from scratch.” An excerpt:

Haiti will suffer a quick death of hunger and disease unless we act, and the United States will suffer a slow and painful moral death unless we respond to the extreme distress of our neighbors, whom we have neglected for so long and, at times, even put in harm’s way.

Haiti, again

A couple things. First, a fascinating article tracing Haiti’s journey, including some of the reasons for its extreme poverty.

Second, a prayer by my Sojo colleague, Rose Berger:

Most Holy Creator God, Lord of heaven and earth,
we bring before you today your people of Haiti.
It is you who set in motion the stars and seas, you who
raised up the mountains of the Massif de la Hotte and Pic La Selle.
It is you who made her people in your very image:
Their gregarious hearts, generous spirits,
their hunger and thirst for righteousness and liberty.
It is you, O Lord, who planted the rhythms of konpa, Twoubadou,
and zouk in the streets of Cite-Soleil. You who walk the paths
outside of Jacmel and Hinche. Your people, O Lord, cry out to you.

Haiti, O Haiti: the world’s oldest black republic,
the second-oldest republic in the Western world.
You are a God who answers the cries of the suffering.
You are a God who sees, frees, and redeems your people.
“I too have heard the moaning of my people,” you spoke to Moses. Now, Lord, speak to Chanté, Agwe, Nadege, and Jean Joseph.
Speak now, O Lord, and comfort Antoine, Jean-Baptiste,
Toto, and Djakout. Raise up your people from the ash heap
of destruction and give them strong hearts and hands,
shore up their minds and spirits. Help them to bear this new burden.

As for us, Lord, we who are far away from the rubble and the dust, the sobbing and the moans, but who hold them close in our hearts, imbue us with the strength of Simon the Cyrene.
Help us to carry the Haitian cross; show us how to lighten the yoke with our prayers, our aid, our resources. Teach us to work harder
for justice in our own country and dignity in Haiti,
so that we may stand with integrity when we hold our Haitian families in our arms once again. We ask this in the name of Jezikri, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(c) Rose Marie Berger (Reprint freely. Downloadable version here.)