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[Editors note: This essay was written in October 2012 for a different purpose. We have left much of it untouched, making minor changes to make it appropriate for this venue.]

Who I am

My name is Carlos Antonio Suárez Pérez. I was born in Mexico City 51 years ago. I am a graduate (1986) of the Anahuac Mexico Sur University, a Catholic university. I have lived in and visited various countries around the world – the Americas, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. Since 1986, I have been an active member of the Sathya Sai Organization of Mexico, where we follow the teachings of the spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who placed great emphasis on unity, respect for all religions, and service to humanity.

I lived in Cancún, Mexico, for over 30 years and worked in different places. My life had few complications because I am single, with no children. I practiced my favorite hobby, surfing, almost every day, and I did some maintenance work to support myself. I took part in different spiritual activities in the Sai Baba Center of Cancún.

I want to share a little about how I got to Haiti, where I coordinate a program for the Sathya Sai Organization to feed children who live in very difficult conditions.

How I got involved

At the First Regional Sathya Sai Organization meeting southeast of Cancún on 15-16 October 2011, I talked with some of the Sai Organization Central Council members about their experiences living in Haiti since the earthquake that had happened there in January 2010, almost 2 years before. They told me that the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation was sponsoring a food service program for Haitian children who live in difficult conditions. They suggested recommending me for this special program, because some time ago I had been the National Service Coordinator for the Sathya Sai Mexico Organization. I automatically agreed, because I felt it was something I could do without inconvenience.

My life changed immediately. Every day I could think only about this Haiti program. So, they started the paperwork to help me go to Haiti, and in November 2011 I began receiving e-mails from the people in charge of program. They told me I could join the program in December or January. I flew to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January 2012, thanks to the help of different friends from Cancun.

An eye-opener

The people in charge of the service program met me at the airport. The trip to the operation’s volunteer residence was an eye-opener for me, witnessing the conditions in Port-au-Prince for the first time. Most of the streets had no pavement or lighting. Then, my first day, walking from where I lived to the service site, I saw even more of the real conditions of the place.

Sister Rosa Santiago, from Mexico, gave me intensive training on supervising and coordinating the feeding program, and I am very grateful to God for putting her in my way. She was about to return to Mexico, after having done a great job in Haiti.

Two weeks after my arrival, I began to coordinate the whole program. It was not easy, because the Haitians had different ways of thinking and doing things. I had a lot of problems trying to understand their language, Creole, which is a badly-spoken French. From the beginning, brother Shanty Podel, who is a Nepalese reporter, was very helpful.

After nine months in Haiti, I believe I have finally adapted.

Our work

Each day, except Sunday, which is our day of rest, we start preparing food at 6 am, and we end by 4 pm. I got accustomed to waking up before 6 to do my meditation and morning reading of Yoga Vasishtha (a sacred book recommended to spiritual aspirants). At 6 am, I meet with the team and check that they have all they need to start cooking (vegetables, grains, cooking instruments, gas, etc.). The work includes shopping for food, going to the bank, keeping the books, and sending messages to all the people involved.

The food is cooked by noon, and we start distributing the food to the different camps and places where we feed the children. For me, this is the most important moment, when I see the face of these children. Their happiness gives me strength to do everything it takes. Every day we change the menu. In the late afternoon and evening, I keep the books and reports.

We prepare about 3,000 meals every day. Things work in miraculous ways, with Divine Grace, because is not easy to find everything we need to prepare the food in this place. Sometimes, there is a shortage of gasoline, gas, or water, and continuously there are electrical blackouts, all of which affect the price of food – if we can find the food.

I mention a few examples of the problems we frequently face: (1) I have to send volunteers to buy vegetables because the market is in a very dangerous area for foreigners. So I have to trust the people I send to be honest about how much was spent. (2) Every place has its own price for propane gas, and there are often shortages of propane and gas. (3) I am in charge of a truck provided by Sai brothers from the Dominican Republic, and every month and a half I have to go to the border to renew the license, for US$90.00. (4) When it rains, it is most difficult to deliver prepared food, because of the street conditions – most roads are not paved and have large potholes. (5) I learned my way around those parts, but I must always be accompanied by a Haitian, so that I have no problems and so that the language is not a problem.

I make sure all these problems do not affect my service. They are all worth the effort. Just seeing the children happy when they get their food – that is my salary. The childrens’ thanks and smiles are more than enough for me to get up for every day and to continue this work.

Please look at the video “Narayana Seva Haiti Carlos Charley” (click on PLAY VIDEO at the top of this article) to get a good visual picture of what we do. Also, you can see the youtube video, “Tropical Storm ISAAC Sai Service Narayana Seva Haiti.” Many people see these and encourage me; others criticize me. But no one really knows what is behind every picture or video. So many things one cannot imagine until one lives here personally, coexisting with these children and hanging around taking photos with these little angels.

Anyway, I am very happy to help these people, who really need it, despite the sacrifice of being in a different country, with no family and with a population that is so different from me. Because of Shanti, a reporter and also a collaborator, we have continuous contacts with many people at the UN Mission, mostly with those from India and Nepal, which provides brotherhood. They are in the mission for the stability of the Haitian people.

Meeting other Mexicans

On 30 April 2012, I was invited to a dinner for the Mexican community, at the Mexican Embassy Residence, organized by Ambassador Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno and his wife, Cristina Pages de Lopez. I had to explain to the Embassy the reason for my presence in Haiti, in case something happened. The event was attended by very important people who live in Haiti, as well as by collaborators from the presidency of my country. I was happy to hear that the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón had visited Haiti, even for a short time, and helped reinforce the image of Mexico as a helpful neighbor, which has always been characterized as doing activities that help this country of Haiti, one of the poorest in the world.

At the dinner, I had the opportunity to meet some of the people and exchange interesting points of view, and I would be happy to support them more and help them to see the reality in which many Haitians live, so they can do good things for the Haitians in the future. I think what happens in Haiti illustrates that the future is uncertain unless we start to change our consciousness and always help people that are really in need.

Additional Info

I would like to thank the Anahuac Sur University for teaching me every day to be a better human being.

A brotherly hug to all who have the chance to read this humble message. I am open to your comments, suggestions, and recommendations.

Here is the youtube video “Tropical Storm ISAAC Sai Service Narayana Seva Haiti”

Carlos Antonio Suárez Pérez.



Here are two other stories of selfless Sai service in Haiti:

Sathya Sai Center of Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Sathya Sai Center of Des Moines, Indiana, USA


Sathya Sai Center of Cancun, Mexico | Haiti Earthquake of 2010 | humanitarian service in Haiti | Sai Organization of Latin America | Carlos Antonio Suárez Pérez

Project Details

Project start: 01/01/12

Project completion:

Stage of development:

Zone name: Latin America and Puerto Rico

Lat/Longitude: 21° 9' N -86° 50' W

Affiliation: Sathya Sai Center of Cancún

Service category: Meal preparation/delivery

Author: Carlos Antonio Suárez Pérez

Project leader: Carlos Antonio Suárez Pérez