"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." (Psalms 118:22)
“You need strength and faith to do this in Haiti. The country is made to stop you.” (an unnamed Haitian official to Susan Scott)
Susan "Susie" Scott Krabacher was living comfortably in Colorado (pretty, in her 30's, a lawyer husband, friends and a church) when a series of synchronous events led her to visit one of the worst slums of Haiti. Something about the children of the place echoed with her own memories of abuse, foster care and orphanages, and she dove into the mess without a pause. Her first night she stayed with a family of 17 and has so far contracted lice, scabies and mange from the discarded children she hugs and pets and washes off and feeds. Hugs not being enough, she scavenged food and medical care wherever she could find it, and started by cobbling together a school with $10,000 and cinder blocks within three days of her arrival.
In the salad days of 1983, when I was openly interested in photographs of women without their clothes on, Susan Scott posed for Playboy magazine, and for a while her face was an advertising icon for the magazine. While she did not tug at my heartstrings like the crazy/bad/good and lost girls of my own social circle, or invoke the inner anima like Justine Greiner or Tinkerbell, still one remembered "Susie" Scott's wide cheekbones and those waves of blonde hair. [The 1980s were the last gasp of humanism at Playboy, when personality (and a wider variety of body types) was creeping through the photography, in spite of make-up artists', plastic surgeons', and digital retouchers' efforts to make every model look the same, as if eroticism were processed chicken. Playboy has long since given up this fight, and Suicide Girls.com, a web magazine featuring pin-up girls of every shape and size, is making money hand over fist.]
Susan Scott's husband Joe got her Mercy and Sharing Foundation organized as a 501(c)(3) charity. She started using her beauty and cachet as a "Playmate-Angel" to open doors for fund raising. She spends about half the year raising money, and half the year in Haiti. Almost half of the budget comes out of the Krabachers' own pocket.
As with most hard core charities, things are always one step forward and two steps back: they once lost 7,000 dollars worth of rice, milk and wheelchairs to looters, but then American Airlines lent an airplane to deliver 39,000 pounds of rice, beans, and milk, and reportedly flies her to and from Haiti for free.
I remembered Susie Scott's example while watching a television program on the emergency room at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. There was an 80-year old nun, there was a balding doctor with a big nose, there was a goofy respiratory therapist with a mullet that would do Pennsyvania proud. They were all quite beautiful, because every face was filled with kindness and character, hard as nails, soft as a kitten. As the staff crowded around a life they had saved, I noticed the profile of a pretty nurse who might have been Susie herself, smiling at the recovery of a gunshot child. The light that was coming from her eyes was a lesson in religion sorely needed.
I have encountered several strikingly beautiful women who long ago entered the animal shelters of Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo who rolled up their sleeves, barely paused to tie their hair back and started shoveling shit without hesitation. The critters don't care how they're dressed, what their background is, they only respond to the love and care, and would show the same affection even without the food and the clean cage. A friend's daughter, with every advantage an American teenage girl might have, dives in with both feet to the work of Planned Parenthood, sex education for teens, and basic rights for gay teens, not because of any vested interest except that it pisses her off when people are bullied.
Another incident from the 1980's: a Grand Rapids club that featured male strippers raised a big chunk of Christmas money for charity. None of the prim, respectable charities would take the money-- so it all went to the Humane Society, with honest thanks. Critters don't care if you drop your drawers, and are probably rather puzzled by our nudity taboos.
One reason why the left is failing? Ever since the death of King and Bobby Kennedy, the left in this country has done nothing but whine about the things we're against. Once upon a time, Joe Hill and Dorothy Day could tell you what we were fighting FOR, not against. I hear all kinds of things about what makes Wal-Mart bad (I spit on the milk of their mothers, ptooey! Let us speak of them no more), but almost nothing about what makes Costco worthy of praise. I am sick of hearing excuses from George Will, the WSJ, and the entire Bush administration (with the exception of the Scotty dogs) about why we must all be shitheels like them; companies like Costco take those excuses away from them.
If we truly want to win the country from its adiction to the selfish right, the left is going to have to stop fighting a holding action against shit like the Patriot Act and hold up examples like and Susan Scott to show what it is we're for: Honesty. Honor. Fairness. An economy where the deck isn't stacked against us. Food. Shelter. Safety. A hug for the least among us.
Mercy House Orphanage, Tabarre 16 Rue Pierre, Cazeau, Haiti, takes care of 34 Orphans.
The School at Cazeau has 200 students. The address is Tabarre 16 Rue Pierre, Cazeau, Haitii.
Mercy House Home for Terminally Ill and Handicapped Orphans has 62 children. Address: Tabare 16 Rue Pierre, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Gode School, with 220 students at National #2, Merger Gressier, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, wants to provide primary education, one meal per day, clean water, and could use some schoolbooks. Taint Saint School, with 240 students at Merger Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, could use some of the same. Cite City Soleil School has 75 students at Bellecourt District, Cite Soleil - Port-au-Prince, Haiti
The Mercy & Sharing Abandoned Infant Unit is taking care of 10 to 30 infants. The Haitian government won't let them have a doctor on staff, but there are 5 "house" mothers, a runner and a nurse supervisor, and they've gotten a Cuban neurosurgeon interested in performing surgery on 5 of the hydrocepahlic children.
Mercy and Sharing could urgently use the following:
- One ambulance,
- Thirty computers,
- One transportation van for handicapped kids,
- Office furniture,
- One dump truck,
- One pick-up truck.
If you can help with any of these items, please email firstname.lastname@example.org