When I was 16 my grandparents took all 13 grandkids on a cruise. We had started this tradition years before however this cruise was the one I would always remember. And not because I wasn't drinking. Believe me I was. That's besides the point. This cruise would forever gone down in history where I witnessed first hand abuse on children by authority. And it all went down in Haiti.
The cruises our family went on were always enjoyable, hitting up sparkling islands with stereotypical island personalities serving us our sex on the beach (in my case 7 & 7's). When we got off the boat in Haiti we knew something was different. It looked the same, umbrellas in our drinks, bikes with giant wheels in the water, and steel drums a blare, however it felt different. My cousin and I being the rebellious ones in the family headed off the safe beach in search of something not so safe. We found ourselves lost in the woods. We saw what seemed like a person in the distance so we drudged forward in search of help. We came about 500 ft away from the man and realized it was not one man. No, it was a line of men guarding a fence with big fucking machine guns.
We turned around and ran.
We ran past the beach as fast as we could, our family calling our names. We ran up the ramp of the cruise ship and headed directly to our favorite bar. Seeing armed men can make one very thirsty. After loading up we headed up to the smoking deck, parked ourselves on some chairs, and started to relax with our ocean view.
But Haiti wouldn't let us. Haiti wanted to continue it's introduction to us, two teenagers who lived in the suburbs, two kids who never saw the devastation of the real world. No sooner had my 7 & 7 disappeared then a boat of children rowed up to our side of the cruise ship. My cousin and I waved and watched the young boys laugh and splash in the ocean water. Moments later their expressions changed. We saw fear in their eyes. We followed their gaze and saw a police boat in the distance. They immediately began to row towards the shore. The police boat, having an actual engine, caught up to them quick. A battle ensued. One boy was thrown from the boat. The other boys yelling back were soon left in the ocean without their oars. The police boat left them. Three boys under the age of 10 with no way of getting back to the island.
My Haitian experience changed my view forever on third world countries and authoritative abuse. My views and beliefs would be moulded by my experience in Haiti. An experience that I would never forget.
On Tuesday Haiti was ravaged by a 7.0 earthquake and multiple after shocks. I watched in horror as children died on the tv screen. When the Chef came home last night I approached him with an idea. How could we help the Haitians? How could we help the people of an island who have long been persecuted by an unstable and authoritative government and now were the victims of a terrible natural disaster?
This weekend at The Greenhouse Tavern we are having a Haitian Food Drive. For every 5 non perishable items that you bring in, the restaurant will give you some FREE pomme frittes. That's right bitches, I said free. Some come into eat some delicious food, bring 5 non perishables for the people of Haiti and enjoy some free fritte deliciousness.
And if you can't bring in some food items this weekend then consider donating in another way.
The Red Cross has set up a text line for $10 donations. (text HAITI to 90999 & a $10 donation will be charged to your cell phone bill)
Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund has also set up a text line for $5 donations. (text YELE to 501501)
Tom's Shoes (who I adore) is giving $5 to Partners in Health for every pair of shoe bought this weekend.