A Lil Positivity

- By Bossip Staff

“106 and Park” host Terrence J recently took a life changing trip to Haiti and wanted to share his experience with BOSSIP Readers. In addition to over a dozen stark images, he also sent us a long letter that details his personal journey.

While life continues to go on as usual for most people in the U.S., Haiti is a completely different story.

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Terrence J’s letter:

Her sweet voice was originally what caught my attention as she walked by us on a Port Au Prince street singing Justin Beiber’s “Baby”. In the midst of such destruction and chaos, here 15-year-old Sophia was, plowing forward, taking odd jobs to support herself and her four year old brother and providing them shelter and food. Never could I have guessed that just six months ago she had lost both of her parents, and had been trapped under rubble for three days in the January earthquake that rocked Haiti.

Meeting Sophia last week made me realize just how blessed my life really is. And while I talk about issues on TV and preach to others to go out and make a difference, lately I’ve been asking myself, what am I really doing to make the world a better place?

I just got back from a three day trip to Haiti with four of my friends to see firsthand the hardship compounded by the devastation from the earthquake, lend a hand where we could, and figure out what we could do on a larger scale going forward.

The trip was nothing short of life changing. I thought I had seen poverty before, but what we saw in Haiti was on a whole different level. In a country of 9 million people, over 1.5 million (that’s 17% of the population!) were displaced by the earthquake, and the widespread damage has not much improved in the last six months.

Close to one million people are now living in extremely cramped conditions called “tent cities” all over Haiti without basic human needs – shelter, food, clean water, and the ones we take for granted – bathrooms, showers, clothing and beds.

The stalls in the cities reserved for bathing are hotbeds for rape and there are no outhouses so people just go to the bathroom right out in the open next to where they sleep. According to the directors of the tent cities whom we spoke with, there has been no food and water relief from the government and many people are starving. One of many heart breaking moments came when a pregnant woman approached us for food and we had to turn her away because we had passed out all the granola bars and trail mixes we had brought from the States. The look of defeat in her face will stay with me forever.

We drove to a plot of land three hours outside of the capital to help a private citizen named Annie from California to build two model homes, and teach the people in that tent city to build their own going forward. Like the old saying goes, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for one night, but teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life” However, the building supplies she shipped were being held at a port in customs. The main boss at the port was looking for a payoff and whatever she was offering clearly wasn’t enough. As a matter of fact, a lot of the supplies and aid that people have sent down for relief is being held in containers in customs, basically for ransom. As if an already poor country getting hit by a major earthquake wasn’t enough, on top of it many well intentioned relief efforts aren’t even making it to the people in need because of the blatant corruption.

There is so much to be done and I’ve been asking myself what some bigger next steps can be. So next week I’ll be taking some time off 106 to travel back to Haiti and also to Europe to meet with UN leaders and ambassadors to better understand how we can help from a global perspective. One thing I can do in the interim is reach out to people via forums like this to challenge you to try to make a difference in your own communities. With a roof, food, clean water, and clothes on our backs we are more fortunate than millions. If you are reading this online you are one of the privileged. Please ask yourself, what are you giving back to the world for your blessings? You don’t have to be Oprah, Wyclef, or Angelina Jolie to make a positive impact on others. If it’s making an extra sandwich and giving it to the homeless person you always see on the subway, or volunteering with children whose parents can’t afford tutoring, you and your friends can create your own personal missions if you just try.

And take my word for it, whatever you give, whatever you donate, your interaction with people less fortunate than you will make your life that much richer. I went on this trip to help the people of Haiti, but came back feeling like they helped me. I am a better person today than I was last week. Before I did things for money, I did them for fame, I did them for the “look.” Today, I’m doing this for the Sophia’s of the world. Join me…

T.J. should definitely be applauded for taking that trip. The people in Haiti still need our help.

If you’d like to help, please contact http://www.twitter.com/thehaitiproject or @thehaitiproject, @deirdremaloney or @terrencej106

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Comments

  • Black MYstory

    Would have been better if he did it and we never heard about it.

  • Black MYstory

    You could easily mistake him for one of the starving haitians. The brotha needs to eat, man! Just sayin.

  • Ali

    @blackmystory..yo thats not funny.i live in haiti and believe me,i know what it is to starve so pliz,act civilized

  • Myhairparadise

    I hope that everything works out for haiti

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  • Martinigal

    Beautifully ritten Terence. I often wonder what happen to the millions of dollars donated to Haiti. Curruption in politics will never end. Politicians are only looking out for themselves, and to hell the Citizens of Haiti. Hopefully one day Haiti will rise up out of poverty and become a great country in the western hemisphere.

  • Sanriobaby =^.^=

    I’d love to go and volunteer but as a woman, my husband and I just don’t feel it’s safe for me to go. It’s disheartening to know that all the donations of food, clothing, medical supplies, ect are being held for ransom. What more can we do? If you travel there to help, there’s no liability if you’re injured. If you send supplies, they don’t get to the people. Outside of donating $$$, what else is there to do? Anyone have any better ideas? Once again, don’t make light of this or make it about race. It’s a humanitarian issue.

  • Cammy

    Dont be greedy and turn a cold shoulder guys, help them out. How can you let us whites come and show more support for a dark nation better than dark people? Help em out guys.

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  • http://www.yahoo.com liline

    They are going thru hard times right now but, they still have faith in God.

  • I'm Just Me...Keeping It Real Since: 1983

    That is a good look Terrence.

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  • ilovelove

    Be the change you want to see, this is extremely inspirational…keep the positive energy flowing guys!

  • http://yahoo myshel

    Start with BET…you only took four friends? All those black folks work there. LUDACRIS!!!! ALL the mega churches we as a people are really pathetic when it comes to helping our own people. REALLY SICKENING and we wonder why 51 percent black males are in the prison industy. Let me tell you why. WE DO HELP!!!

  • mjs fan

    I wish the situation to improve for all my haitian people. I wish this country to be The Pearl of West Indies as it used to be !! God help them !

  • Human Racist

    and when he gets back to the states he will be peddlin’ that self-destructive garbage called music on EBT… man, GTFOH and go find another photo op!!!!

  • Human Racist

    the only positivity about the story is the young sista who is still overcoming adversity while opportunist exploit her country’s suffering… God Bless Haiti!

  • AMillionMinds

    @Human Racist So true and lol at EBT! I wish I could do more for Haiti to, and it really is a sad thing. God Bless them.

  • MoMo

    He looks yummy : )

  • http://Bossip.com Eddy

    If supplies and aid that people have sent down for relief is being held in containers in customs, basically for ransom, how can we help the Haitians get supplies?

  • compashun

    why r people hating on a brotha tryin to do some good in the world? While i agree about the ‘ebt’ comments his point is 4 people to help out if possible. That’s y he is sharing his experience.

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  • Inglewood Hustle

    God bless him and the people of Haiti

  • http://www.twitter.com/Jus_LC LC

    I had to say something wen I seen Terrance J was in Haiti. I’m in the Navy so I was sent down there wen the earthquake happened. It was crazy but a good life lesson. I feel like US (well military) is doin 100% to help down there because it happened in January and I was just in Haiti again last month. We still have every branch down there helping. But like Wayne said “One time fa Haiti” they gone make it thru…

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