# Haiti: A little arithmetic lesson in caring and sharing

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Thursday of this week we showed a few photos from what, in retrospect, were better times for Haiti kids at SOPUDEP School in Petion-ville in December, 2003. Our audience was about 100 second-graders at an elementary school in a nearby Twin Cities suburb.

Kids relate to kids everywhere, and this audience of young persons paid close attention to the photos of their peers far away, and they enjoyed participating in a small lesson in Kreyol words I was able to teach them.

SOPUDEP school is no longer useable; many of its students were casualties of the earthquake. It has temporarily died, but will rise again with the help of places like that elementary school in the Twin Cities which is considering helping SOPUDEP recover with part of their relief efforts. It helps to be able to make a personal connection with a person or a place.

The day we were at the school this past week, they were collecting quarters from whomever wished to participate. It was a small amount, but a very intriguing idea.

The school was devoting a week, I gathered, to participate in some way in relief efforts, and was involved in various efforts to better understand Haiti.

Someone(s) had come up with a neat idea: on Monday, the collection began by collecting pennies; on Tuesday, nickels; Wednesday, dimes; Thursday, our day, quarters; and Friday, dollars. If you do the math, that’s \$1.41 – a small sum, granted, but coins put together accumulate to real money quickly.

The teacher noted that the trip to the bank with the coins involved a bit of heavy lifting, so to speak.

The fundraising strategy has stuck with me, and this morning at coffee I did a little paper and pencil arithmetic.

IF a person did the same routine as the kids were doing at the school, and repeated the routine every five days over the course of a year, that \$1.41 would grow to over \$100 by years end.

Of course, one need not stop at a dollar. How about going to six days, and adding a \$5 bill; or seven days, adding a 10; or eight, \$20? And doing it repetitively, week after week? A seven day cycle would come out to about \$850 a year; an eight day cycle, almost \$1500…all this for
one cent +
five cents +
ten cents +
twenty-five cents +
\$1 +
\$5 +
\$10 +
\$20.

Let’s say that a single percent of Americans – only 3,000,000 people, 1% of a total of 300,000,000 – adopted the elementary school’s five-day plan, and followed through every day for an entire year. That would come out to over \$300,000,000 dollars – all for \$1.41 every five days. That’s serious money that could do a whole lot of good in a place like Haiti where a dollar a day is hard to come by, even for adults.

Give it some thought. And action.

Children at SOPUDEP School, Haiti, December 9, 2003