Over the years of my careers I have spent a lot of travelling to third world countries.
One of most difficult countries to work in was Haiti. The politics there was and is very difficult as different factions had their own agendas and those agendas did not necessarily reflect the true needs of the locals.
I recall a point where associates and I were attempting to deliver used clothing to the rural areas’, only to have the containers retained in a government warehouse and never ever delivered.
Now today Mayor Gwen Gilbert, you know the lady in Wiarton that according to some, ” can’t get along with anybody” or “only thinks of herself”, is in Haiti delivering services and medical attention to local Haitian orphans.
I refer you to the Owen Sound Sun Times of Wednesday, January 7, 2010:
Gilbert helps in Haiti
Posted By Don Crosby
South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Gwen Gilbert is headed to Haiti for the next couple of weeks to do volunteer work at an orphanage.
Gilbert and her husband Ernie Farrow were to leave today. They are part of a team of 50 members of the Sauble Christian Fellowship Church and friends who will assist the Mission of Hope, an organization that operates a school, church and orphanage and provides medical help to several hundred Haitian orphans. The mission is near the town of Aubry, northwest of the capital, Port au Prince.
“The United Nations soldiers are located down the road from us so we feel pretty safe and also our compound has armed guards 24 hours a day, so we don’t have to worry,” said Gilbert.
The Sauble church group is the first of three teams that will volunteer at the Mission of Hope over the next six weeks. Churches in Kitchener and Niagara Falls are also taking part.
Gilbert expects to accompany medical teams on their visits to neighbouring communities in the mountains near the orphanage.
“They set up little clinics there and people come there or bring their sick children . . . I’m not experienced in that, but I hope to help out in whatever way I’m needed,” she said.
The rest of the time she’ll help at the orphanage, which was home to 26 orphans when the couple went there for the first time two years ago. The number has tripled since then.
“Remember there were a lot of hurricanes right in the area where we were working in the past couple of years and now there are a lot more kids without parents . . . it’s a devastated country. It’s difficult because they have such little hope but that’s why we go to help out and maybe give them hope for the future,” Gilbert said in an interview from her home in Wiarton.
Volunteer work is a Gilbert family tradition. In 1995 she worked on a project that helped 3,000 children and their families who lived at a municipal dump in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
“That was their home. They were families and couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. Even though they live at the dump they still have to pay rent and taxes just for the right to live there,” said Gilbert.
Her daughter volunteered in Costa Rica and Guatemala. One of her sons spent about a year in the Philippines on a mission ship and another son has been to Mexico and England.
Thumbs up to Gwen Gilbert and her significant other for making the world a better place!
Perhaps the Council of South Bruce should take a lesson from the people of Haiti and learn to capitalize on the efforts of Gwen Gilbert as opposed to whining like a bunch of spoiled brats.
Or maybe we should follow the example of Haiti and place armed guards in Council Chambers to force the “Whining Brats” to perform!