In late July, I visited Haiti along with Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren and Martha Stewart. Invited by Fairwinds Trading, we went to Port-au-Prince to explore business opportunities with Haitian artisans. The main purpose of the trip for me was to be able to help provide employment for women.
I kept a journal entry of my day and I hope it inspires others to continue to support the empowerment of women and children in third world countries.
4:15 am: Snooze button until 4:40.
4:40 am: Got out of bed. Unpacked from my L.A. trip to make room for my Haiti needs.
5:30 am: Yuri is downstairs to pick me up.
5:55 am: I dash into his SUV. I’m on the road to Teterboro. I take this time to let my Tweeple know what I’m doing today & where I’m going and take this time to reflect on everything I hope to accomplish today. I send out office requests & commands for the day, so things to continue to run smoothly while I am gone, before I board the plane.
6:40 am: Have 10 min to spare so I make a quick stop at Starbucks before pulling up to Teterboro. (Skim latte – Grande)
6:45 am: Pull into Teterboro and greet Terry & Martha and — wheels up!
7:00-9:30 am: As we fly into Haiti, I catch up on the past 10 WWD’s for the last 10 days I was on the West Coast. I still prefer reading the paper as opposed to reading it on a computer…
10:00am: Wheels down — full armed car security to each stop with a guide that had been chosen just for me – super chic Keith – who downloaded me on Haitian religion – Voodoo - on the way to the first stop…
10:30am: (Artisan Village) Jean Baptiste - Possibly my favorite artist who beads- also Voodoo priest. Voodoo actually being a positive force. Over the years it has gotten a bad rap (‘black magic’). Well, really, it is no different than other religions that offers hope-provides clients and provides dietaries and substance - for a nation … learn something new everything minute … I love to learn.
11:00am: Meet all of the FairWinds artists and shop shop shop! I try to spend as much time as I can explaining what I truly believe will SELL the best to each and every artist. My point in doing so is that the more sellable the product, the more wanted the artist will be … I could have stayed here for hours. I am in my element.
12:30pm: (lunch in car)- Served in the car as to not offend the locals- sooo much food- too much- not much app today! Presented in a straw basket with a beautiful hand sewn napkin- the designer in my will always appreciate a beautifully presented meal…time to check emails-57 new in the inbox.
1:00 pm: Tweet time! AND NOW headed to the “We Lead” Women’s Center -Hardest stop of the trip…! Kids-these are just kids- raped- by their brothers, fathers, neighbors, no food, no parents. One million in the tents- I can’t bare it. I walk out. Feel Helpless. (I hug the girls and leave in tears – can’t speak in the car ride to the president – not even to chic-Keith – my heart is broken.)
1:47 pm: (Meeting President Martelly @ Palace) Wow- I HATE going through security - for politicians especially – I don’t trust anyone… he comes in and small talk ensues… Terry and Martha are impressively, strong and encourage the President greatly!
Five minutes before I know we are to go, I address him – I am here only because I want to provide jobs for women- so he asks me to come back – I will only come back if you can pledge that the women will be as safe when I leave as they are when I am here… he looked me in the eye and promised me that if I come back he will make sure it happens ... CHANGE!
3pm: On the way back to the airport as we pass the tent cities I wonder what I can do that will actually make a difference in the life of the women and children … hiring and providing as many jobs is a must and a first option.
5pm: Wheels up — Martha and Terry and I huddle in the back of the plane, sharing stories, a bit of cheese and lot of memories that we all promise to do our best to continue to make a difference for what we believe in … PROVIDING JOBS for people to care for themselves.