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Man Camps in Washington Streets to Promote Haiti Relief Awareness

  • Chris Simkins

Jesse Sullivan has been camping out in the cold near a busy intersection in Washington to raise awareness for people in Haiti

Jesse Sullivan has been camping out in the cold near a busy intersection in Washington to raise awareness for people in Haiti

With the country's raining season fast approaching, one man in Washington is trying to raise awareness and additional aid to Haitians in need

This tent has been home to Jesse Sullivan for nearly a month. He's camping out in the cold near this busy intersection in Washington to raise awareness for people in Haiti who don't even have a tent over their heads.

"If I can give myself for 30 days to camp outside in the cold no matter how bad the conditions get I know they are unimaginably worse down there," he said.

Sullivan came to Washington from Illinois for a job interview for a development position in Afghanistan. But after speaking to a cousin who was doing medical work in Haiti, he discovered a new calling and offered his services to the Haitian Embassy. The embassy accepted, but he turned down the chance to live and work out of a hotel room.

"I thought about it and I thought how can I be staying in a luxury hotel room when the million people I am trying to help down on the ground [in Haiti] don't have shelter and are living out in the streets," he added. "I thought maybe I can live out in the streets to be in solidarity and to also raise some funds to help bring some extra shelter down there."

Sullivan says he's gotten an outpouring of support from people in Washington. Lola Joseph, the wife of Haiti's ambassador to the United States, says she's thankful for his efforts.

"He might be going a little bit too far to stay in the cold like that, but he is bringing attention to the need for shelter for Haitians," said Joseph.

Sullivan says he hopes to raise money to help pay for some of the 250,000 tents that officials in Haiti say are needed.

"If I can stay out in this tent and be in solidarity and help bring shelter or maybe a tent to one more family down on the ground then it is worth it. I would be out here for a year if I needed to," said Sullivan.

Sullivan says after he finishes living in his tent for 30 days he plans to travel to Haiti to set up a Webcast on the Internet to link the people in Haiti with their relatives in the United States.

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