Back in February, fellow CRC staffer Jalyn Devereaux and I were supposed to embark on the Run Across Haiti for Work, a non-profit committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in Menelas, Haiti. However, the week before we and 28 other teammates were supposed to toe the start line in Cap Haitien, the nation went through a period of widespread unrest that essentially locked down the entire country for about 10 days.
Unfortunately, that period of unrest overlapped with our scheduled cross-country experience and made the logistics of operating the RAH in a reliably safe manner impossible to pull off. Even though it was heartbreaking, and frustrating after having poured so much effort into training and fundraising, postponing the RAH was absolutely the correct call.
The ten-second explanation for the unrest is that the population was expressing frustration in the devaluation of their currency, resulting in ~25% inflation in the past year, and in the disappearance of most of a $2 billion low-interest loan from Venezuela that was earmarked for improving the nation’s infrastructure. While the protests did not result in complete resolution, it did accomplish enough to open up dialogue with the country’s president and has allowed life in Haiti to return to a sense of normalcy. As such, WORK has been able to reschedule the Run Across Haiti for May 23 thru June 1.
Most of us will be in Cap Haitien to start the race, but not all. After a long, extended season of running culminating in the Boston Marathon, Jalyn will be joining the team for the last four days of the RAH as part of our Cheer Squad, a group whose encouragement and energy helps keep our internal fires blazing as we enter the final and toughest stretch of the journey across the island.
"Haiti is not a place to be feared or pitied." This is a phrase that Work trumpets from the mountains in their efforts to end poverty in Menelas, Haiti, one family at a time. My RAH teammates and I have repeated this often in the past four years. This will be my third trip across the island by foot, and never once have I felt like I was being placed into a dangerous situation. On the contrary; as much as we give of ourselves physically, we have received even more in the form of generosity and looking out for our best interests.
But sometimes saying or typing out that mantra is a way for us runners to wrap our arms and minds around the journey set before us. Embracing Haiti and its people with arms wide open has provided so much: emotional fuel to run the 200 miles across the country, genuine friendships that will last a lifetime, and the ability to assist Work to accompany many of those same friends out of poverty through job development, education, and access to healthcare.
Interested in getting involved?
- You can directly sponsor Sam's or Jalyn’s Run Across Haiti fundraising efforts at http://bit.ly/2019RAHSamR or http://bit.ly/2019RAHJalyn
- You already are indirectly helping just by shopping with the Columbus Running Company. CRC has been an official sponsor of the Run Across Haiti for the past three years by hosting crazy treadmill marathon fundraisers and bringing in products like the limited edition Bobson’s Bus Ride Goodr sunglasses. Your patronage helps allow the CRC to pour back into the community, both near and abroad in Haiti!
- If you are really hooked, go to www.dowork.org and you can discover more about the Run Across Haiti, their process of ending poverty, their 1:1 sponsorship, and even accompanying them on a discovery trip to Haiti!