Nothing will change the way you see the world and your place in it like going to a country like Haiti for the first time.
There is not a video or photo album available on the internet that will really prepare you for the complete and utter devastation that the people of Haiti live in day after day, year after year.
My husband and I got to go earlier this year, and we will never see our home in Boulder, CO, or how fortunate we are in America, the same way again. Together, we have been inspired to change the world we live in.
I am a wellness advocate for the essential oil company, doTERRA. They have partnered with farmers in Haiti to grow Vetiver, one of the plants they use in their oils, and Wes and I were given an opportunity to travel with doTERRA to visit, meet the farmers and see where our oils come from.
I have traveled to many places around the world, but I have never experienced anything like Haiti. Four years after the big earthquake, the entire country is still in ruins, but not just because of the earthquake. The devastation, the poverty, will take your breath away.
The company chose Haiti as the place to grow some of its crops of Vetiver for two big reasons: the soil and climate are perfect for growing the plants for longer periods and the people of Haiti needed an industry to grow from.
A partnership was formed with the farmers of Haiti, a promise to create a sustainable relationship. doTerra prepaid them, created five year contracts with them, and the farmers were taught how to grow the crops and keep them in the ground longer to create a more natural life cycle for the plants instead of over-harvesting and depleting the soil. What did this do for these Haitian farmers?
Now there is money for their families to send their children to school which didn’t even really exist before. And even more profoundly, through doTerra’s Healing Hands Foundation that my company created and manages, we have been able to raise enough money to fund building a well that brings running water into the village so that its inhabitants will no longer have to trek two hours a day to bring clean water back to their families.
Clean water. Food. Clothing. Schools. Birthing Centers. Hospitals. These are all things that so many take for granted in America. We just assume that we will have these things, that someone will provide them for us, even if we don’t have money.
The trip to Haiti really changed Wes. He internalized the struggle of these people, saw firsthand how important it is for us to take care of each other and has been more invested in the success of that side of my business since we got back. He and I together came back more grateful and motivated to make more of a contribution to the world around us.
The biggest message I took away from our trip was that saving our planet doesn’t have to be as big as trips to Haiti to build a well…but there’s no mythical someone that’s going to do it either.
We have to take action. We have to take better care of each other. We can save our planet right here, at home, every day, and make a difference. The buck stops here, with us. We are the someone.
So, what can you do? Take your pick! There are literally a million ways to get involved. Here are just some ideas:
An Ounce of Research
Before you grocery shop, do the research on the companies you’re buying from. Do they have an outreach program? A foundation that supports communities? Do they make eco-friendly products? Do a little leg work and then buy their products. It may seem small or insignificant, but the more people that support what they’re doing, the more encouraged they are to continue and expand the support. It is just amazing how far a dollar can go. That’s how I first discovered doTerra, now I am proud to use their oils and be involved in their business ventures because I am supporting their global efforts.
But you don’t even have to leave your couch to support these organizations. Amazon has a feature called Smile, where they donate a percentage of the proceeds of purchases you make to the non-profit organization of your choice. With just a little research, you can find these retailers, pick the organization you want to support and start buying all the stuff you buy online through them. It’s as easy as that.
Take Action at Home
Get your kids involved in thinking about how they can make the world a better place. If being environmentally friendly is a bigger concern to you than saving families in developing countries, teach your kids about recycling—not just how to put the plastic bottle without its top on in the recycle bin, but what recycling and picking up trash actually does to benefit our planet. Grow a garden in your backyard or even just a flower pot and show them what plants need to thrive.
I was at the grocery store and a woman there was asking me about a product that I sell. Her husband has ALS and while I obviously can’t cure his ALS, I knew there was an essential oil protocol that would help to alleviate his pain and I offered to do some aroma touch therapy for him. I realized that there is a need there, that there are hospitals filled with patients longing for the caring touch of another human being.
Can you imagine how restorative that can be for those in such a helpless position? How good it would feel to provide comfort to someone in a time of pain? Hospitals are looking for volunteers to help them all the time. A website called Idealist.org is dedicated to connecting volunteers with opportunities to volunteer. Heck, you can even find paid job listings working for non-profit organizations. The organizations are as easy to find as typing the word volunteer into your browser, and they definitely need your help!
Sometimes, I get these big ideas for things I can do and I realize that I can’t follow-through on all of them because they don’t fit my life, or I get too busy with my own work or my children, but there are always little things I can be doing. There are so many ways to help, to be a part of the change that require next to no effort. And if you want to roll up your sleeves and get more involved, there are just as many opportunities to do that too. Just because you’re not experiencing poverty or climate change or a life threatening illness in your face every day doesn’t mean it’s not happening around you or that you can’t be of help to those who are. It is happening, whether you’re there to witness it or not. Being a part of the change feels good and it is good.
When we were standing in front of these little children in Haiti with their hair in bows, wearing their Sunday best clothes, promising to keep the crop in the ground for an extra year because we’ve educated them about the quality we need for our oils, I knew in my heart that we were changing peoples lives forever, for the better.
You can sit around and wait for the world to change, or you can get in there and be a part of the change. My husband and I weren’t actively engaged in what life is like for people outside of our comfortable home until we saw what a difference we could make if we supported the right company. We get it now. We know it starts with us. It starts with me. And it starts with you.
So, tell me your stories. What efforts do you make, large and small, to save, change, improve our planet? Share your ideas here or on Facebook.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s Own