Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So I am so overwhelmed..but in such a good way! Over the past few weeks myself and my friends have been working hard (I am currently running on 2 hours of sleep..but will head back to bed soon!)to put this event together and its now happening! And I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I am at the response we have gotten. Now I know my friends are generous...generous with their time, friendship and funds but the past few weeks have blown me out of the water!

I want to take this time to personally and publicly Thank Barbara Berney, without whom this even would never have gotten off the ground.Not only has Barb has used her 20 yrs in the biz to solicit more donations then I know what to do with (other then auction off for a good cause)she (along with Rob Scott!) found us a venue (the Empress) when our other choice told us we could not have it at their establishment! She is truly a wonderful person and someone I am go grateful to have in my corner!

I would also like to Thank Ann Freeman, Patti Hack, Ginette Bettiol and Sherri Birdsell all of whom have contributed time, donations,ideas and guidance! You ladies are the best!

I must say I am so excited for Friday! Not only because we are raising money for a great cause but because (selfishly so..) different groups of my friends are getting to meet for the first time! You have all heard me talk of the others so now you will be able to put faces to names!

Thanks again to everyone who has donated to this cause...I will be putting together a formal list for on the night but here's a sampling of the donations and thus items up for grabs at the fundraiser! So bring your cheque books, loonies and your party hats (geez I need sleep!)

Raffle/ Silent Auction Prizes (they just keep comin..Thank You Edmonton! You truly are the most caring city!!)
GC'S: Copper Pot, Culina, Earls, Cineplex (movie night out), Ric's Grill, Pagan Tattoo, Packrat Louie,Megatunes, Russo Hair Salon

Gift Baskets: Bath and Body Works, wine and cheese, Starbucks, Rebo (Haitian Coffee)

Other Wicked Items: Professional Teeth Whitening Kit ($200 value), Eden Salon (Sheri Anger: Cut and Color $200 value), Hoodies (Empress and Black Dog), 3 Photographs (Tammy Hale Photography), Delicious Baked Goods (The Half-Baker Baker) 3 Haircuts from Propoganda Hair Salon and much more!!

Can't wait! Hope to see those of you residing in the vicinity there on Friday...and for the others I could check airlines..although I don't have any friends there!
(Empress Ale House 9912-82 Ave 7pm!)

Any questions please feel free to call me 780-278-7186 but give me a few hours to catch up on sleep right now :-)

LA Times - Opinion

LA Times - Opinion

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yesterday my best friend Sherri's son had his 7th birthday. A couple of weeks ago Sherri talked with Noah about my trip to Haiti (she always educates the kids on what I am doing and Why). After the conversation Noah told Sherri he wanted to help Rose build a house. He decided to not ask for presents for his birthday instead he asked for money to put towards the housing project...A hard thing to do for a 7 year old I am sure (I'm 35 and I still like birthday presents!!)

So the party was yesterday and Noah announced to Sherri that he wanted to also donate his change that he has been collecting (thus the above picture!) What a kind Little guy! He and his friends collected $285.

When I told Noah how much he had raised he asked me "Auntie Lise is that enough to build Rose a house?" I told him that it was the start and that he had been the one to kick it off...He smiled his little sheepish smile and went back to building his lego motorhome...

"maybe one day I can go see Rose's House"

"yes Noah, I am sure one day we you can come with me to see Rose's house"

For all that is bad and wrong with the world these days there still are some pretty amazing people doing kind things for others....

and they come in all shapes, sizes and ages...

Thank you Noah and thank you Sherri!

Love Auntie Lise and Rose!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Show Goes On!!

So with the help of my friends (who says working in the service industry for 20 years isn't without its perks right Barb!?) we have been able to find a new venue for our fundraiser next week! So the party will go ahead.

Friday July 2 2010
The Empress Ale House 9912 82 Ave.

There will be raffles and a silent auction as well as other games and prizes.
Thanks so much to Sue Kiernan and the other owners of Empress for stepping in and helping us out in this matter!
For those of you that need to eat the Empress is a pub and they do not serve food but they do serve a wonderful arrangement of beverages!!
If you have any questions feel free to call me at 780-278-7186 or email me at

Saturday, June 26, 2010



I just found out that the little boy in the picture with me in the blog titled Sunshine is dying...for lack of *%&#ing food...What is wrong with this world that a 5year old boy dies because he has never had enough food... I sit here and the tears come because its so unfair. I know I cannot make the changes that need to be made on the grander scale so that stuff like this doesn't happen and at times I feel hard pressed to think that the things that I do do will ever make a difference...

When do things change, where is the light at the end of that long, never ending tunnel. I know that it's hard to convey what it feels like to hold a starving child in your arms...The morning I left Cazele (where the center for malnourished children is) I woke up at 0530 to the voice of Ojean asking for water. I got up, gave him water, changed him (because at 5 he is still wearing diapers that would fit a 2yr old) and took him outside with me. We sat and I talked to him. I am sure he could not understand my English but he sat and looked at me I am hoping, happy to be being held...He was able to sit up on his own, feed himself and drink water himself.. But now, and such is the cycle for children suffering from malnutrition from birth he is too weak, he has no reserves to fight off even the mildest of he will die and leave me to wonder how many children like him are out there...not only in Haiti but in the whole world...

So very sad...

Sunday, June 20, 2010



Let me give you some stats as food for thought!!

Canada: Average weekly income: $844= aprox $3000/mo
Haiti: 80% of the population lives below the poverty line, 54% live in abject poverty

Canada: life expectancy for women is 83 yrs and men 76 yrs (born in 2006)
Haiti: life expectancy for women is 59 years and men is 54 yrs

Canada: 37% of 20yr olds are in tertiary education
Haiti: 47% of Haitians are Illiterate.

Heartline is helping the people of Haiti rebuild..they were there helping before the Earthquake and will be there for years to come. They have raised over 50K USD towards housing for the people of Haiti. On my last trip I asked John how I could access some of this funding to help Rose and her grandma…he just looked at me and said “Lise they have been a part of your life, you have been a part of our life so we will help them..” and that was that! I can’t explain to you how it felt that day talking to John or the day that I spoke with Rose’s grandma about them getting a house…there are no words.

I have long struggled with feelings of inadequacy in the help/assistance that I can provide when I look at the whole “big picture”. What this trip and my time in Haiti has taught me ( a lesson I so needed to learn!) was that to help one is just as important as helping the many. So that is what I, with the help of Beth and John and Heartline am endeavoring to do.

The cost of a house in Haiti, land included is approximately $5000 USD. The average salary of a Haitian, prior to the earthquake was $500/year. You don’t have to do complex math to figure that one out…the idea of “giving” a house to someone has weighed on my mind since deciding to do this and here’s what I have come up with (not sure if you will agree but here goes). For the most part the people of Haiti were going about their business, living their lives (ones very different from you and I ) when everything changed in the matter of 45 seconds. Not only were lives lost and/or altered, livelihoods were taken away from those who worked every day to squeak out a living, people lost all their worldly possessions and were left literally with the shirts on their backs…How do you rebuild a career when you are 50 years old and find yourself instantly the primary caregiver of 2 infants? A new reality, one I could not imagine.

Many found refuge in tent cities which have provided limited security and safety up to a point. Now the rains have come and Haiti is preparing for one of the worst hurricane seasons in 50 years..where in that do you find the time to rebuild? How do you rebuild when you don’t have a safe place to put your head at night? When you don’t have both your legs anymore…

Its not wrong to what for another the peace and security that comes with a home..shelter from the heat, rain and winds..a door to lock , a place to call home…$5000 is, in my mind a small price to pay for all the goodness that comes from helping just one individual who comprises but 1 piece of that “big picture”. Rose and grandma are part of that picture..a part I can help in the here and now..$5000 doesn’t seem that much…

So this year for my birthday, the day I came into a privileged part of the world I ask you to help me make life a little more secure for just 1 person! Heartline will, with our help continue to help the people of Haiti live everyday a little better!

Below is Heartlines website if you would like to donate. Unfortunately Heartline is not registered in Canada so they cannot give tax receipts..sorry! And if your around Edmonton on July 2nd join us for the fundraiser at The Next Act pub (and to celebrate my birthday too…you all know how I feel about birthdays )

Love Lise

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Near and Dear...

I have long been a supporter of Doctors Without Borders. And as those of you who have been following my blog know I have just recently started becoming more involved in the area of Childhood Malnutrition...soo imagine my thoughts tonight as I jumped onto the MSF website to find that their latest campaign is an attempt to combat that very thing...I have spent the past few hours scouring the site and learning...

If nothing else please watch the following videos about the campaign and if you are so inclined please feel free to support MSF (Medicines Sans Frontiers= Doctors Without Borders) programs that provide the types of nutrition required by the children of these developing nations.

More to come on this in the near future!

Love Larger

I read this on the Livesay Blog (a truly wonderful family!!) and it brought tears to my eyes..tears...

Love Larger

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hardening Up..

“how does one not harden up in the face of such sadness and seeming despair?”

The question is one that has been asked not so directly to me in the past few months but I guess around me. My friend Brian wrote about it on his blog and its something that I have thought a lot about the past few days. Even now as I try and get a little rest on the last leg of my epic journey home, eyes red and sore, stomach rumbling from I’m not so sure what, I find I cannot stop the question from bouncing around in my head…

I’m not sure I have any real answers to the question…knowing that the only answers I would have would be mine alone and therefore only apply to me…and I am not convinced that I have found the real solution for how to remain soft and open when it would be so much more beneficial to harden up. And I think more for me the better, more appropriate question is “how do I remain soft, open and loving?”

And I’m just not sure how to do that but I feel pretty confident that I will find the answers. There is too much that love can accomplish… for me the question is akin to probably my favorite quote

“And the day came that the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful then the risk it took to bloom”

To harden up would be to remain safe and comfortable in the bud not daring to open myself up to the pain that could come with remaining open…

Just some thoughts....

Saturday, June 12, 2010


After a pretty intense posting I thought I would lighten it up a bit with a few more pictures! Enjoy!


Funny how we end up in situations that seem so natural at the time but when reflected upon just seem surreal…the other night was like that for me… I found myself lying in bed at the foot of the mountains of Haiti with 2 other women and 3 severely malnourished children…of course I was...why wouldn’t I have been….

I’ll give you a bit of background on how this situation came into being… Many things affected me on my last trip to Haiti in March but none so much as the severely malnourished boy that was brought into our clinic. After that encounter I knew that working to assist those aiding these children needed to be my focus. In what capacity I have yet to figure out but I am exploring..thus what lead me to the mountains of Haiti the other night. Now there are many malnourished children in the big centers of Haiti, children hungry on the streets, in homes but some children have been fortunate to have found a way into rescue centers like the one run by the amazing people of The Real Hope for Haiti. I have at time caught myself saying things like “I’m starving to death” we all do and in the context it’s a harmless comment but what I saw the other day was literally children who had been starving to death!

Now there are many thoughts that people have, myself included that center around why people have children they cannot afford to care for etc but that is a topic I won’t address here. That’s a discussion better had in person. But the one thing that I have learned is that it is a mixture of education (and the lack of), poverty and lack of access to appropriate healthcare and I will leave it at that for now…

The reality of the situation, the reality that I saw time and time again is this…there are children dying each and every day of malnutrition, lack of access to clean drinking water and preventable illnesses. Children I saw the other day were up to 5 years of age but looked like they were 1-2. 5 year olds that weighted 12 pounds, expressionless unable to interact due to lack of energy required to smile. Could you imagine not having enough energy to even smile?

Children looking at me their eyes hollow..lacking the light that illuminates the eyes of the children I know in Canada. In the Real Hope for Haiti rescue center there are approximately 55 children with differing levels of malnutrition. Some are able to walk, some unable too, some too weak to sit let alone walk, some too weak to cry. I watched as The little boy in the above picture tried to bring a piece of bread to his mouth, his hands trembling so badly because he just didn’t have the strength…

The majority of these kids have parents who just can’t afford to feed them…I cringed at the thought of how much food I alone throw out on any given day (which I will never again do!) I only took 1 picture…one of the little boy who spent the night in my room, the little boy who spoke so clearly because he’s 5 although he looks like he’s 2. I didn’t take pictures of the other children…It just didn’t seem right…they didn’t need me snapping pictures… what they needed was to be held, to be interacted with, someone to lie on the floor beside them when they were too weak to even sit up, they needed Medika Mamba syringed through their NG tubes…they needed to know that hopefully one day the suffering would end….so that’s what I did instead.

That morning I watched as a severely malnourished boy tried to catch a sunray in his hand…It was all at once so beautiful that it stopped me right in my tracks.

There are many things in this trip that have brought tears to my eyes…tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of frustration and tears of amazement for all that is good in the world. Just glad I can be involved in it…Like the little boy I am just trying to catch the sunray for the light it can bring me…even for the brief moment that it exists…

Check out the link to see more about Real Hope for Haiti and pictures.

The work this family does with not only the feeding center but with their medical clinic (that sees over 300 pts a day on average with 4 nurses and no drs.) is essential and amazing! I hope to return soon


Friday, June 11, 2010


I just wanted to share with you the beautiful view from my hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale this morning...nothing like a comfortable king size bed, warm shower and the sun breaking in the sky to make me smile....

“Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. She gives most who gives with Joy.”

—Mother Teresa

I hope you all find a bit of joy in your day today....I know I already have!

Look for more posts soon...I seem to have a lot to say these I'm off to get my latte :-) !!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Business as usual....

I know that I posted in my only blog from Haiti that I was feeling uninspired to write anything..well as I am 35000 feet above the ocean my mind is racing…racing with thoughts and ideas I want to share, victories I want you to know about, dilemmas that are floating around in me…maybe I should catalogue them before I start but I know that they will return to me as they are needed….

Today I found myself sitting in the airport waiting to leave Haiti, many thoughts going through my head when a small group of business men started to chat me up. It turns out that they were a group of developers who had come to Haiti to pitch a development project. They were supposed to be attending a conference set up by a group of expats for the redevelopment of Haiti. Now I say “were supposed to be” because as it turns out the conference had started this morning and they were already leaving….they had had it with Haiti they told me, had it with the lies and as one in the group put it “that’s where the adjectives will end before I become too, well let’s just say more descriptive”. As it turns out they had had somewhat of a “Haitian experience” in the 3 whole days they had been there. They had experienced behaviors that permeate Haitian culture (behaviors that were unbeknownst to me prior to my first visit to the country)… non-truths, mistrust, secrecy, events occurring on Haitian time or not at all…
As I(yes me…?) tried to talk to them about the utopia of redevelopment they were seeking not existing in any nation requiring redevelopment they basically expressed their disgust and contempt for the people “not wanting their help”. Business as usual I guess depends on your usual?!

The reason I tell you all this is because it really got me thinking…was it all helpless? Is the nation of Haiti a lost cause? Should I just turn my back..walk away back to the peace and serenity of my life in Canada? Until January 12 Haiti didn’t really even exist for me…it could be easy to walk away right? I mean really if you look at it it really is hopeless…things will never change…Right!?

Wrong….because for me life isn’t as easy as changing my return flight so I can make it back in time to watch game 4 of the Lakers/Celtics series… because it will never be that easy for little Rose to find shelter from the rain or little Emmanuals mom to forget about the 3 children that are still buried under the rubble of her home, unable to dig them out, give them a proper burial and have some closure or easy for Rosemon to live his life without his parents and not feel like a burden on his aging grandma and I could go on…
So for a millisecond I thought about walking away..saying “sorry Haiti but you’ve got this one, let me know how it turns out. I’ll be watching….” A millisecond where the frustrations of dealing with a culture new to me would have been easy to walk away from, where the potential to have my heart broken is huge, where my guilt for a life easily lived could be too strong…but and this is a big but I (and you along with me) CAN make a may be small and it may only affect a few people but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And that’s a step that I am willing to take…
And because to me sometimes life isn’t about walking away just because you don’t understand or agree with the way things are done or because things seem hopeless…To me that’s when life gets good..when it get to be worth living..if I can make just one person’s life different, if I can just help ease the suffering of one person then its worth all that goes along with it!

I guess in all fairness the development guys are talking about larger steps and I think it’s the small bits of hope that were lost on I guess it just wasn't business as usual...oh well I think eventually Haiti will do just fine with us and not the development guys..but that's just me!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweet ones....

There are a lot of bad things in Haiti but I thought I would share a few sweet ones....Enjoy!!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010


I know that I said I would kept up with this blog while away on my second trip to Haiti and I have been negligent in that..I am not so sure why. Each time I have sat down to write I have felt uninspired and I guess I don't want to disappoint...I'm not sure. So tonight is my first night shift and I have committed to myself that I will at least write something so my apologies even before we begin!

After 30 hours of travelling I again arrived into the warehouse that is the Port Au Prince airport the heat and the humidity more intense then I have ever felt before...then waiting an additional hour and fighting the masses (of same colored t-shirt groups..."Hope for Haiti" being my favorite!) for my baggage I made my way outside to be greeted by a familiar face...(I wonder how the Hope group fared)
This time around I am staying at the Heartline guest house and although a wonderful place I can't help but feel immense guilt..especially when the rain clouds role in and I sleep soundly..dry and cooled by the power of 2 fans....
As I sit here and write the beautiful voices of the "patients/family/friends" of the Heartline hospital are singing out with such conviction and hope...its a beautiful thing...

The other night I started to write about what my trips to Haiti have taught me and instead of writing a crazy long blog I think I will just list them here..maybe I will elaborate at a later date but for now the heat and my 4 days of babysitting sweet Rose have kicked me in the butt...I wonder how I will survive this night shift( maybe the thought of the rat that scurried its way into the treatment center about 1 hour ago will keep me awake!!!)

So here goes:
People are resilient and hopeful even in the worst of situations

My heart may be big but there is always potential for it to get bigger

I can and at times should shift my thinking, be more open to others and their situations

Life is really hard for some and really easy for others but...
both have their struggles even tho they may not always be apparent to us

More can always be done and we must not keep from matter how spent we are...

and speaking of giving..i think i am going to go and sit in the doorway and watch sweet Rose sleep and listen to the rest of the that heart a little more...understand a little more and give a little more of my time to the people here!