Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Aug 19th
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Home Global Activities America In Haiti, Industrial Chemist Gives Away Detergent

In Haiti, Industrial Chemist Gives Away Detergent

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“Some Taiwanese people have come here to help patients affected by the earthquake in southern Haiti. As a Haitian, I should also do that. I should do my best to help my fellow countrymen,” said James Ocean. The action of Tzu Chi volunteers touched his heart. What could he do for his fellow countrymen? Here is his story.

On September 1st, Tzu Chi’s Haiti Earthquake Response Team arrived in Haiti and immediately started relief work. Among the local volunteers was industrial chemist James Ocean.

Haiti is a country lacking resources in education. Ocean is one of the few who has obtained a university degree, majoring in industrial chemistry. In college, he learned how to make detergents, shampoo, conditioners, perfume, paints, nail polish and hand sanitizers.

His original plan was to produce detergents to make profit. Then he found his expertise was needed after the earthquake. In the areas hit by the disaster, people need detergent to clean utensils, clothes, and floors. He decided to make detergent himself and distribute it in such areas in the south. Each bottle of detergent costs him 35 U.S. cents. He has already spent US$56 and produced 160 bottles of detergent.

Hearing Ocean’s story, Tzu Chi volunteer James Chen (陳健) decided to support him with US$500, so that he can work with local volunteers to produce 20 gallons of detergent or about 1,428 bottles. This can be added to the aid items being distributed to the earthquake survivors in Tzu Chi’s program in Les Cayes.

It is important that Haitians in the disaster area have detergent to wash their clothes and maintain health and hygiene, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It happens that my expertise is what is needed by the quake survivors,” said Ocean. “Sharing is an expression of the spiritual state. So it is important to share. If you contribute, you will gain something -- this is the law of nature.”

Indeed, if we contribute, we will gain something. Although Tzu Chi volunteers give without expecting anything in return, they are rewarded with joy in their hearts.

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" Be careful and mindful when dealing with others, but do not be narrow-minded. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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