A Giraffe in Haiti

If you could do just about anything you wanted to do, would you choose to assist the people of Haiti in achieving their dreams? That's what John Engle decided to do in 1991, and he's been on the job ever since.

It hasn't been easy. There's been a military coup, a dictatorship, public corruption, random violence, an earthquake, epidemics, the day-to-day strain of living in an impoverished and dangerous place.

"The legacy of violence, brutal exploitation, slavery, colonialism and the hatred that it all breeds, coats the fabric of this society," Engle has said. "I know it. I live it. This is a place where giving one person a job and not another can lead to death."

But in and out of Haiti, Engle is on the case. He's started service non-profits there and introduced democratic community processes, all with the goal of assisting Haitians in doing what they want to do: build and run good schools, stop inhumane actions in prisons and violence against women and girls, end child slavery, construct safer buildings, and make society fair and efficient for all.

He's a voice for Haiti in the halls of power, championing the nation to the World Bank, USAID, and to the world-wide public. And he wants you to know that it's not some joyless struggle. He describes himself as blessed by the people of Haiti, by their courage, humor, and their drive to make life better despite all odds.

Keep up with his work at www.haitipartners.org and at www.beyondborders.net.