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28493: ClayKilgore (wondering): 2nd Annual Haiti Summit (fwd)

From: clay kilgore <clay@kilgore.com>

Hi Everyone,

Just rejoined the list, and it's been a long time - I never said much in the three or four years I lurked here and learned so much - Thanks for all of your contributions.

After reading over the extremely valuable konbit pou Ayiti/KONPAY/Melinda Miles's "Haiti Report", June 18th edition, I was struck by the possibilities of this weekend's "2nd Annual Haiti Tourism and Economic Summit", of which I had not previously heard. So struck that I dropped everything and decided to arrange to go and check it out.

Here's what I'm wondering:

Is anyone from this list going to be participating in the Summit in Miami this weekend?

Can we meet?

I'll be staying at the Deauville Resort - that's where the event is taking place.

I invite you to start a conversation with me about what CAN be done to transform the situation for people in Haiti. I remember a few contributions that appeared on this list  in the past that were absolutely INSPIRING!


Not many of you know me, but I can share a few things now to give you an idea of why I am here...

I fell in love with a painting from Haiti in 1982... and then sat back and watched the news...

No longer willing to accept the media's version of what Haiti was, my first visit was in October of 1999 - I was a "tourist," and knew nobody, but still, the life and the love I experienced totally got under my skin. What I got out of that trip was that I wanted to take on trying to "do something." I had begun to think of the possibility of helping create a better situation for the people who were struggling there, but had NO idea how to do it... (does that make me a TYPE?!)

The following year, 2000, I went back to INDEPENDENTLY observe both the May and November elections. Funny to me now, but the main reasons I think I was invited to do that were that I had been there before, already had a fair understanding of kreyòl (I studied before trip #1 because I prefer a chance to be understood and to understand over complete bewilderment!) and that I wouldn't be suffering from culture shock!

I got culture shock anyway! People in Haiti powerfully vote, NOT like where I come from! What I got out of my experiences was that Haitian people were very committed to taking a stand (or "standing in long lines" could also work here...) for change in their own situations. There was no way out for me - I have continued to think, "what I can do?"

I've been back since the elections of 2000 only once, mostly for "vacation time" reasons, and that was to be the best man/parenn in a wedding in December of 2003. I stayed on through the bicentennial, and took great pride in being invited to share soup joumou at the family's home. Now that I have friends AND family there, it means even more that I take a stand for the people of Haiti, to empower them to determine their own futures.

For most of my life, I've been typically shy about most subjects, but since returning from my first trip to Haiti, I have been "on fire" in my sharing about how cool I thought Haiti was, and how I felt there was so much misunderstanding about what's been going on there and who the people were.

Of course, I haven't met every single person in Haiti (yet!) and I am still not clear about ALL the histories, maybe just because I've been super busy doing a life of an overworked advertising artist in San Francisco. But now I am actively crossing over and creating something that will get some great things started over there, completely original Haitian in design, even though I STILL have no clear ideas about how it will actually all get done!

One way to start is for me is to get rid of that shy thing... it no longer serves ANY purpose! Another thing is to let as many people know what I'm up to as I can, because you never know where the next great idea or powerful partner is going to come from...

What I'm up to is creating a foundation that will empower people in Haiti to create for themselves abundance, community and self-expression, because they'd do it for me if they could!

I look forward to every good thing that is going to happen as a result of your reading this all the way to the end!


Clay Kilgore

P.O. Box 40567
San Francisco, CA 94140