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Ballard woman heading back to Haiti to help

Posted by Geeky Swedes on February 24th, 2010

Last year, Ballardite Tracey Higdon volunteered at a medical clinic in Haiti through the non-profit Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH). This was long before the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. Now, she tells us, “They more than have their hands full there.”

Higdon is on the left with a line of incoming patients behind her.

“Since the earthquake I have been racking my brain, trying to figure out how best to be of help to the people of Haiti,” Higdon wrote in a letter to her friends. She’s a business owner with a background in exteriors, not the medical help the clinic could traditionally use.

The clinic does some work outside because of the air-borne illnesses.

“On March 26th I intend to head in-country to manage the repair and re-painting of the clinic. One of the last standing in clinics in the region, this 10-year old concrete building will soon deteriorate if we don’t properly seal and repaint it now,” the letter continues. A photo of the clinic when it was first completed is here.

“A blitz of patients,” Higdon says.

Higdon is trying to raise $6,000 for the trip. This money will cover Higdon’s travel, supplies, and hire labor in Haiti. The head of FOTCOH, Dick Hammond has given her the green light to hire a team of workers to help get the building back into shape, which will give a little boost to the economy. Higdon knows the team of workers she will hire and tells us that each one of them has lost their home.

Red hair is an early sign of malnutrition.

You can make a donation to help Higdon get back to Haiti through this PayPal account or attend the upcoming fundraiser at The Leary Traveler (4354 Leary Way NW) on March 8th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can contact Tracey through this email: tracey2haiti@gmail.com (Thanks Noele for the tip!)

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19 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Renai // Feb 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I just made a donation. Thanks for sharing this!

  • 2 diarama-boy // Feb 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    what is a business owner with a background in exteriors?
    sounds mysterious.

    looks like she's doing some great work down there.

  • 3 cllois // Feb 24, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I was wondering if anyone would catch that diarama-boy:) Tracey has owned her own painting & wallcovering company for many years. That is why she is going down to work on the repairs/painting of the clinic.

  • 4 Bark more, wag less // Feb 25, 2010 at 1:36 am

    Wouldn't it be better to use the money to hire Haitians to do this work?

  • 5 Name // Feb 25, 2010 at 2:47 am

    “Higdon is trying to raise $6,000 for the trip. This money will cover Higdon’s travel, supplies, and labor in Haiti.”

    Excuse me? She's soliciting 'donations' to cover her “labor” costs? I'd like the owner of this blog to make a post doing the same for me. You can title it “Create a Job.”

    Don't get me wrong, the supposed intent is noble. But forgive me if I don't open my wallet just so some business owner can keep her income stream running why she follows her heart.

  • 6 Ballard Guy // Feb 25, 2010 at 2:59 am

    True Dat, next job will be in costa rica. LOL

  • 7 beckyselengut // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Okay, the comments people make are so telling. How do people think their donations to relief organizations get spent? They are spent hiring people to coordinate repairs and medical services. They are spent on medical supplies, and building materials, etc… If you think Tracey will be profiting from this trip, you are smoking something I wish I was. This is a grass roots effort for one woman to donate her services to get this clinic repaired. It's a donation! I applaud her desire to go help.

  • 8 ChefMS // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:37 am

    SERIOUSLY, some People's Kids…
    She's hiring local labor!
    At a time when only a few buildings stand and fewer of them are able to offer medical services, a woman with an expertise in plying and training a trade is going to 1) refurbish an aging medical building, 2) give and immediate economic opportunity and 3) offer entry level job skills to a few locals.
    Not to mention that she's ferrying needed supplies, clothing and foodstuffs as well.
    The nerve to suggest that someone (taking time away from her own economic interests) was going to try to swindle as little as 6K?
    You're obviously small thinkers, lads.

  • 9 Freelie // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:40 am

    How does raising money to pay for Tracey's flight to Haiti, her expenses and her pay, help Haiti? Take the money and hire a Haitian, or even better, several to do this rather simple of job of managing a rebuild. That's money directly into the Haitian economy. Her flight alone is probably equal to the average annual salary of a Haitian. That's money that should be used to develop the skills of Haitians, not send an American. Are you telling me there is no one in Haiti who can manage this project?

    I worked with NGOs overseas for many years and this is exactly the kind of self-indulgent waste of resources NGOs are famous for.

  • 10 beckyselengut // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Freelie:

    First of all, why are you commenting anonymously? If you feel strongly about what you are saying, why not put your name behind it?

    Secondly, if you don't support the idea of Tracey going down to Haiti to offer her expertise in the area of exterior maintenance and management, then don't give her money. I am supporting her because I believe in her skill set, trust her relationships with Haitians she built last year and honor her generosity in sharing her knowledge for FREE. She is not being paid, you seem to be missing that point.

  • 11 LBB // Feb 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

    It says, “This money will cover Higdon’s travel, supplies, and hire labor in Haiti.”

    HIRE labor – not “her” labor.

  • 12 NAME // Feb 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    “It says, “This money will cover Higdon’s travel, supplies, and hire labor in Haiti.”

    HIRE labor – not “her” labor.”

    That's an edit, and an extremely dishonest one to boot. I read this TWICE last night (as did my housemate) and the word “hire” WAS NOT present. It clearly stated that the expenses would cover “HER” labor.

    Where's the owner of this bolg? In the blogosphere you DO NOT EDIT text without leaving evidence or an admission.

    I'm done with this blog unless we get an honest explanation. This is deplorable behavior in the world of journalism.

    This blog just lost all credibility with me. It's author is obviously tweaking text AFTER THE FACT to support a friend.

  • 13 diarama-boy // Feb 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I've never heard of red hair being an early sign of malnutrition.

    Is that particular to this ethnic group?

    Which particular missing nutrients cause this to happen?

  • 14 Geeky Swedes // Feb 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Yes, I did tweak the story, but only to clarify the sentence. The original text did say, “Higdon is trying to raise $6,000 for the trip. This money will cover Higdon’s travel, supplies, and labor in Haiti.” I added “hire” after it was brought to my attention that the sentence was confusing. The edit did not change the accuracy of the piece. It is our policy that if we make an edit to a story that changes the meaning, we will make a notation. That's not the case in this instance.

    Although the sentence could've been written more clearly the first time, the rest of the paragraph goes on to explain that she is hiring local labor with the money that is raised.

    “The head of FOTCOH, Dick Hammond has given her the green light to hire a team of workers to help get the building back into shape, which will give a little boost to the economy. Higdon knows the team of workers she will hire and tells us that each one of them has lost their home.”

  • 15 beckyselengut // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I have one last thing to say here: Kudos to all people who donate their time and give freely of their skills to help others. My greatest respect to all who have done something, either through a donation, or through skill-sharing to help people in less fortunate circumstances as our own. Have a wonderful day everyone and good luck to Tracey on her trip.

  • 16 NAME // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for the clarification. I think it was needed.

    “It is our policy that if we make an edit to a story that changes the meaning, we will make a notation. That's not the case in this instance. “

    Not to harp on about this since it is, after all, a kind gesture but the meaning was most certainly changed.

    The original text used the possessive apostrophe ( ” 's” ) clearly implying that the donations were to cover Higdon's:

    -travel
    -supplies
    -labor

    Again, thanks for the explanation.

  • 17 heatherweiner // Feb 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    To me it makes perfect sense to give money to Tracey's project, which will fund local jobs and train people to properly seal concrete. Concrete quickly deterioriates in tropical heat, salt water and rain — this is one of the reasons the earthquake was so devastating to so many Haitian buildings. Lack of funds and training meant construction crews skipped important steps like concrete sealing.

    It also makes perfect sense to donate money and infrastructure for a small non-profit like FOTOCH. To me it's better than sending money to a huge non-profit like Red Cross, which takes 10% off the top for admin, then another 10% for p.r., and more to get Sean Pean or Angelina Jolie to a camp. A project like this would cost what… $25,000 in the U.S.? Here we're doing it for $6,000 in Haiti where it's so needed.

    Finally, thanks to Tracey for figuring out something she can do. Tracey isn't a doctor or a nurse, so she can't offer medical care to earthquake victims, but she is a trades person who can offer training, her own labor, time, and expertise. I am not a doctor or a nurse either, but I can donate $50 and write comments on blogs — my own way of helping.

  • 18 Name // Feb 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Mainly protein, I think — kwashiorkor (malnutrition specifically involving too little protein) causes dark hair to turn reddish.

  • 19 Your Name // Feb 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Keep an eye out for the aids.

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