Amazed by tout moun…Julie Colombino
Lately I have met some people who blow me away. This world, this life…it’s so inspiring. Since I have been in Haiti I have had many opportunities to meet many people who live and work here. Weather it is people who visit for a week on a mission or service trip, or people who have given up their life to work in Haiti in some form or another; it is comforting to know there are people in this world with hearts of gold.
Last week I was at lunch in Port au Prince with my friend Les, from Medical Teams International (MTI) he introduced me to his friend Julie Colombino who has been in Haiti since 10 days after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Like so many others, Julie knew she wanted to help in Haiti…so she did. Julie left her life in Fla; her fiancé, her home, her job. Now over a year later, Julie has started REBUILD Globally http://www.rebuildglobally.org/ – a 501 (C) 3 no-profit providing employment and educational opportunities for Haitians. On Friday July 9th, 2011 Julie had her official shop opening celebration. Julies goal with REBUILD Globally is to improve the quality of life and create healthier environments for people in distressed communities by using new and innovative techniques that promote recycling, eco‐friendly development, gainful employment, agriculture, and education (Taken from www.rebuildglobally.org).
Julie’s two partners have left Haiti, but she has stayed strong. Julie is a woman who believes in what she is doing and will not give up until her shop can be sustained by her Haitian staff. There is a staff of eight that make the ‘rebuilders’, the shoes are sold here in Haiti as well as on line (http://www.rebuildglobally.org/store.html)
Haiti is a country that will swallow you whole if you fall behind emotionally. When Julie was having a hard time here a few months ago she decided to go to ballet class. This week I had the chance to see Julie in the Haitian ballet company! It’s safe to say the girl who traveled as an aerialist for six years in a Cirque du Soleil show was also the star of the Haitian ballet. No matter if it is shoes or Ballet, every time I encounter Julie I am in awe of her.
I have met some pretty remarkable people here in Haiti, but Julie seems to be at the top of that list. Her courage and dedication are inspiring. She knew the Haitians are more than capable of doing for themselves and getting back on their feet. I find myself inspired by Julie and once again inspired by Haitians.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I am not afraid, I was born to do this”
-Joan of Arc