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Kemy Joseph Pitches Tent in the Green for Haiti Awareness

Senior Dana Warshauer stops to talk to senior Kemy Joseph during his camp out for Haiti. Joseph is selling his own stuff to raise money for a second trip back to Haiti, but initially to survive the week and buy food. Rachel Steinhauser // The Miami Hurricane

Out on the Green, near the path to Richter Library, stands a rather large tent. Scattered  few feet away are some glow sticks, a deck of cards, shoes and stuffed animals. On a cold Miami night, wearing a blue bathrobe over his clothes, senior Kemy Joseph tried selling these items to pay for his meals.

“The hardest thing for me to do is set prices for this stuff,” Joseph said, laughing after haggling with a woman for one of his blankets.

Joseph planned to spend a maximum of 10 dollars per day on meals. A percentage of the money he earns from selling personal items will go towards buying flipcams for citizen journalists to record the devastation in Haiti.

Kemy Joseph, the founder of UR Awesome Inc. and former president of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK), pitched the tent to bring awareness and insight to the UM community on what is really going on in Haiti. When RAK led the Haiti donation drive, Joseph predicted people would begin forgetting about the tragedy by March.

During spring break, Joseph took the initiative to spend eight days in Port-au-Prince.  When he came back he decided to pitch a tent and live like many of the now homeless Haitians. Gustavo Lang Jr., president of RAK, was inspired by Kemy’s initiative and sense of action.

“If you set your mind to it, you’ll find a way to make it happen,” he said.

Joseph saved up money and went on his own.

“The first two days I went to the provinces and those days affected me the most,” Joseph said.  “It was hard to sleep.”

He witnessed the tent cities, which were rows and rows of tents are surrounded by trash on top of trash.

Though many people think all of Port-au-Prince must have been destroyed, a significant amount of structures still stand. Many homes are still intact with running water and electricity like Joseph’s family home, where he stayed during his trip. Some pharmacies, restaurants, banks and even radio stations are open.

“Port-a-Prince is a very poor Miami,” he said. “It just sucks that the beauty is overlooked and blocked by the amount of sadness.”

He found that the best aid to give the Haitians was not donations, but rather, the chance for work. Ninety percent have no jobs. Many times mobs would form where officials gave job contracts.

Throughout the trip, Joseph filmed his experiences. Tod Landess, a School of Communication staff member, who leads a group of student media organizations and volunteers trying to keep the idea of Haiti relief alive, will post the footage on the group’s Web site, kozeayiti.org. Koze means conversation in Creole and Ayiti is the Creole spelling of Haiti.

“It’s so easy when you’re in this environment to forget the innocent living in hell on Earth,” Landess said.

Due to school regulations, Joseph can only stay in the tent until 2 a.m., but he’ll keep going, until the end of March. He will return to Haiti on April 3.

Andrea Concepcion may be contacted at aconcepcion@themiamihurricane.com.

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March 25, 2010

Reporters

Andrea Concepcion

Contributing News Writer


4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Kemy Joseph Pitches Tent in the Green for Haiti Awareness”

  1. Andi says:

    Maybe if he spent a little less time trying to be in the spotlight he could actually do some good in this world! His only reason for existence is to get attention…it’s sad really…he cares about NO ONE as much as he cares about himself. I pity him and his pathetic attempts at validation. You would never find him at a soup kitchen without a TV camera there, would you???

  2. Vero says:

    How exactly is Kemy helping Haiti? All his “efforts” seem to me like attempts to get attention on himself. It’s one thing to do charitable works; it is yet another thing to announce to the world CONSTANTLY that you are doing charitable works. It becomes narcissistic. Also, not everyone want to be hugged or high-fived. If he sat behind a chair, no one would approach him so he has to go out and forcefully annoy people. How much of a difference does he REALLY make? Well, at least he’s in the newspaper…again. If he spent all this time actually working at a job and then donated the money, that would make more of a difference; but that’s nothing to write about, right?

  3. Lynn says:

    I am trying to get in contact Kemy. I think I can help…

  4. sam says:

    I’m aware of Haiti, thanks though.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.