Mavericks Impact Haiti - February 2011

with Yanik Silver and Frank McKinney
Hosted by the Caring House Project Foundation
by Douglas Doebler

Maverick Frank McKinney, well known Real Estate Artist, 5x bestselling author, prior Maverick celebrity guest and founder of Caring House Project Foundation (www.frank-mckinney.com), was our host for our Haiti Maverick Experience, and had this to say about our February trip.

"Having lead many donor excursions to Haiti since building our first of what is now fifteen villages there, I clearly believe the Maverick trip will prove to be the most impactful by a significant margin. Why? Of course we had 14 individuals who are action-takers and what I call “loop closers” on this trip. Sure there will be the culture shock and personal struggle with the emotions experienced by witnessing the rawness and suffering most saw for the first time. However, what most excites me is that these individuals will quickly digest what they experienced and rally their myriad talents to seek immediate solutions to the challenges Caring House Project Foundation and our partners are experiencing in Haiti right now. With clarity it is my belief that there will be some form of brand new “Maverick/CHPF village” before the end of 2011, and that village is sure to contain some form of free enterprise and capitalism. That’s right, you Mavericks will be responsible for the creation of an entire village. I can’t wait to participate as the momentum and relationships grow! A special thanks goes to Maverick extraordinaire and CHPF Board member Doug Doebler who was the catalyst for making the February trip possible. From what I understand, Doug’s trip was oversold by 5 people, so who knows, we may be scheduling a 2nd trip soon! Thank you again Doug, Kim, Kimberley from CHPF and Yanik for making this happen.”

After a year of logistical planning and potential trip cancellation due to an upgraded and very strong US State Department warning against travel to Haiti, Frank McKinney, Yanik Silver and Doug Doebler completed their mission of making a Maverick Impact in Haiti. As important was making a major impact on the 14 Mavericks and guests that were brave enough to travel to Haiti in February.

The trip went off perfectly (ok except for when our flight home from Port Au Prince Haiti was cancelled). The updated State Dept warning was no joke and we took the safety of our group very seriously. The State Dept Warning Stated:

"The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Haiti unless essential and only if travel is fully supported by organizations with solid infrastructure, evacuation options, and medical support systems in place. U.S. citizens traveling to Haiti without such support have found themselves in danger in the past. The number of victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, continues to increase in Port-au- Prince. Some kidnapping victims have been physically abused, sexually assaulted, shot, and even killed. No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender, or age. In a number of cases in the past year, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince on flights from the United States were attacked and robbed shortly after departing the airport. At least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in such incidents. Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts or prosecute perpetrators. In addition, beginning last year, protests, demonstrations, and violent disruptions have occurred regularly in Port-au-Prince and in cities throughout the country. During these demonstrations protestors threw rocks, burned tires, damaged vehicles, and blocked traffic. In several cases, U.S. citizen missionaries and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers were trapped in their compounds with limited supplies of food, water, and medicines. During the most recent disruptions, airports throughout Haiti were also closed for several days, making it impossible for U.S. citizens to depart the country once they were able to leave their shelters."

This was my 5th trip to Haiti - it won't be my last!
These are some of my best photos of this trip.

We started our trip all meeting at the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel. In true Maverick Style Frank McKinney sent a Hummer Limo to transport us to his ocean front home in Delray Beach Florida. Of course we had to stop at a convenience store so Yanik could get some beer and beef jerky for our 1 hour ride.

Frank and Nilsa McKinney shared their beautiful Ocean Front home and a fantastic meal with us. Frank updated us on what to expect on our trip to Haiti. Everyone got to know their fellow travelers from around the USA.

Each Maverick had some one on one time with Frank McKinney in his famous tree house -where he as designed the beautiful ocean front mansions he builds and has authored his 5 best selling books. Mike Filsaime and Frank Chat on the tree house balcony.

A 5 am meeting in the hotel lobby and early flight to Haiti and before you know it we were there -just a 2 hour flight from Miami, We had a local Tap Tap open air bus pick us up for our transport to our Port Au Prince Haiti hotel and tour of the city.

Yanik, Mike Filsaime and Jim Spano taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Port Au Prince Haiti. Destruction from the earthquake is everywhere. So many people living in tents and under scrap tin shelters propped up against fallen buildings.

We visited the fallen Haiti National Cathedral in Port Au Prince Haiti -our 1st experience seeing the small kids rub their belly's asking for food. Mike Filsaime was especially taken by seeing this. Contrary to the State Department warnings we felt safe on this tour. We did have a couple armed Haitian private police guards in a chase vehicle with us at all times.

Yanik and Mike Cline in front of the fallen Presidential Palace in Port Au Prince Haiti. Across the street there is a beautiful park that has been turned into a refugee tent camp for thousands. We walked into the center of the camp where we had more interaction with the children. Once again no fear or security issue here. Our visit was on a Sunday therefore the calm in the streets. On Monday there was a big protest in this same location.

Haiti Presidential Palace fell in the January 2010 earthquake (comparable to our USA White House). We continued our tour of Port Au Prince viewing all the devastation caused by the 2010 earthquake that killed over 300,000. Many of the buildings and homes still lay in ruins. There seemed to be some minimal clean up effort but we didn't view any rebuilding efforts. Tent camps were everywhere. Some with real tents and some with sheets and tarps and cardboard. Women were selling rice, beans, fruits and vegetables along the streets.

We settled into our comfortable hotel in Delmas 19 near downtown Port Au Prince -Big gate at the entry with a shotgun armed guard and armed guards wandering the grounds. We were shocked that this hotel still stood after seeing all the fallen buildings on the way there. Out of our room windows we could see back alley's full of tents and little shacks made from scrap metal and wood. This hotel was a true oasis amid all the rubble and devastation. Our Sunday Host Scott Bonnell director of Hope To Haiti and partner with the Caring House Project Foundation had arranged for an orphanage and neighborhood to be fed on behalf of the Mavericks. We were to visit and assist but security concerns kept us at the hotel. The Mavericks made additional impact this day by feeding over 300 children in Port Au Prince Haiti. Scott's organization feeds 3500 kids per day and runs multiple schools and orphanages around Haiti. The Mavericks enjoyed meeting Scott (from Talahassee Fla) with some expecting to support his work in Haiti. This photo shows a business panel discussion with some of Scotts Haitian associates and the Mavericks. We heard how difficult it is doing business in Haiti. Most of these panelists are attending a University in Haiti. Seems like everyone needs a small business of some sort to survive.

We happened to be in Haiti on Super Bowl Sunday. The Hotel provided a great pre Super Bowl dinner and even brought in a big TV with Satellite hookup so we could watch the Big Game. Frank McKinney on the left and Maverick Brett Fogel on right ready for the kick off.

By Half Time many had gone to bed (it was a very early am flight) but not Yanik and Ryan Deiss who hung in there till the end. We had an open Bar from arrival at the hotel at noon till the end of the game. Luckily the Haitian Beer was cheap and tasty. Maverick Scott Marlow in the background.

An early Monday AM ride to the domestic airport for our Maverick Charter to Jeremie. Jeremie is a 10 hr ride through the mountains, a 14 hr ferry ride or a one hour plane ride -we opted for the plane. They call the bus above a Tap Tap because when you want to get out you tap tap on the roof and the driver stops to let you out.

Jim Spano with his back pack full of toys for the kids (nice pink back pack Jim). Ready to take our Charter Flight to Jeremie Haiti. Caring House purchased and packed full backpacks for each maverick to carry from florida to Haiti and deliver to the school kids we were to visit.

Yanik and Lionel Filsaime (Mikes Dad) are shocked at the living conditions in this seaside village in Jeremie. When it rains these streets and homes fill with water and raw sewage. Small Children, Pigs and goats wander freely and scavenge for food. The people were friendly and happy to see us. Caring House has been funding new homes to be built in locations like this. Each traveler donated $2500 of their trip cost to building a complete new home in a location similar to this. A huge impact!

This little girl is walking around in her bare feet among all the trash. She rubbed her belly to show us she was hungry. As expected we stood mostly in silence as we took in the sights, sounds and smells of this location.

Our Monday Host was the Haitian Health Foundation. A $3+ million per year organization run by Dr. Lowney and his family from Norwich Ct. For over 30 years Dr. Lowney, his wife and daughter Marilyn as well as their 100's of employees in Haiti have been serving the people of Haiti. It was a special honor for the Mavericks to meet Dr. Lowney and see and here about the work his Foundation does. We visited and stayed right at the main health clinic. We slept in the double rooms the visiting dr's and nurses stay in on the 3rd floor of the clinic while patients were being seen on the 1st and 2nd floor. Once again a very comfortable spot for us to rest. Not your typical Maverick trip 5 star resort but certainly a very comfortable location. Dr Lowney, Marilyn and Sister Mary Ann took us to a women's clinic where pregnant women stay before and after birth. Was funny to tour the facility and see all the pregnant women walking around the beautiful clinic and property. After a day in Port Au Prince viewing all the devastation and poverty and visiting the first village in Jeremy it was a true change of scenery to see the grand scale of Hope being offered by the Haitian Health Foundation. Frank McKinney has been working with the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) for years building self sufficient villages, new homes, schools and a Fishing cooperative that we visited.

Jim Spano handing out toys to the kids at the Caring House Testasse School. We were treated to songs and viewing of the children learning their daily lessons. A beautiful school full of very happy and well behaved children. We spent a couple hours handing out toys and tooth brushes and the backpacks we had all carried from Miami. The children were very happy to see us.

Maverick Sasha Ablitt handing out tooth brushes and toys to the kids. The teacher would ask a question and the right answer would get the next toy. The school was clean, well organized and the children all looked wonderful. The mavericks were visually emotionally taken by this experience.

The Testasse School funded by The Caring House Project Foundation

Sasha handing out toys to the kids that answer the teachers question properly. Sasha enjoyed this as much as the kids.

A new home similar to the ones being funded by the Mavericks on this trip -funded and built by The Caring House Project Foundation with partner HHF.

Doug Doebler

Maverick Doug Doebler in the School yard after School let out. We interacted with the Children here for an hour. They were very friendly and inquisitive. Marilyn from HHF was showing them magic tricks. It didn't feel that much different than a school yard full of kids in the USA. These are the Lucky kids -they get to go to school due to donations from the USA.

Yanik Slver

Next stop - Caring House Fishing Cooperative in Testasse where were had a Haitian Fete (festival). We each introduced ourself via an interpreter to the over 300 gathered to greet and thank us. Yanik gave his thank you and introduction as did each of us. This fishing cooperative was funded by the Caring House Project Foundation. They purchased new large fiberglass boats and motors with GPS so the fisherman could go further out to see and catch bigger fish. This cooperative served as a place to prepare and freeze the fish (big coolers and generator) to feed the village and provide for income to purchase other items of necessity. The village leaders gave long thank you speeches, the village women sang and danced for us and we were fed a wonderful meal. Yanik and Ryan also found some Colt 45 beer in the cooler -someone said they don't make Colt 45 any more? After we ate the villagers were fed and we walked the village.

Frank McKinney

Frank McKinney and the Mavericks toured the Testasse village viewing the old style and new homes that had been built by Caring House.

Maverick Donation

The Maverick Group showing off the large donation that was being made by all the mavericks to build more homes in villages like this. A very proud group photo.

Ryan Deiss

Maverick Ryan Deiss made some new friends as we walked the village. The kids loved our attention.

One of the new homes built by CHPF - note the ocean in the background.

Sasha hanging out at the beach with the kids. Sasha was a magnet to the young girls. Look at the big smiles.

Our last night in Haiti -Ryan Deiss, Marilyn Lowney from HHF and Frank McKinney discussing what Mavericks can do to help.

An early AM sunrise on our departure day -view from the Clinic Balcony where we spent the night.

Frank, Ryan and Yanik waiting for our Charter Flight back to Port Au Prince - many United Nations guards at the airport.

Our charter plane from Jeremie back to Port Au Prince Haiti for our American Airlines flight home. Grass and gravel runway.

Click here for more Photos & Videos of

Maverick Business Adventures Impact Tour To Haiti

A huge Thank You to everyone involved in this successful Maverick Impact Trip!

Mavericks and guests that participated in this impact trip included: Frank McKinney, Yanik Silver, Douglas Doebler, Mike Cline, Mike Filsaime, Lionel Filsaime (Mike's Dad), Sasha Ablitt, Ruth Ann Bowe, Ryan Deiss, Jason Fielder, Tom Puentes, Jim Spano, Ken Spano (Jim's Son). Maverick Friends that made donations but had to cancel were Carrie Wilkerson and John Ferber. Mavericks Scott Marlow and Brett Fogel quickly filled their spots.

Special thank you to Kimberley Trombley Burmeister with the Caring House Project Foundation. Kimberley worked tirelessly behind the scenes with maverick and caring House board member Doug Doebler for months on all the details and logistics of this trip. Kimberley purchased and packed the backpacks with toys and tooth brushes that each maverick carried to Haiti and distributed at the school.

Big Thank You to Kimberley!

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Visit my Haiti Trips Photo Journals - Just click on the Links

My 1st visit February 2007

My 2nd visit June 2008

My 3rd visit June 2009

My 4th visit May 2010

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My Favorite Haiti Charities - Just click on the Links

www.CaringHouseProjectFoundation.com

www.HopeToHaiti.com

www.HaitianHealthFoundation.org

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Click Here to Visit My Haiti Blog

www.ADayinHaiti.com