Sunday, January 17
People who make a difference...
It is with great sadness that we at Kaiteriteri MTB Park acknowledge the death of Emmanuel Rejious. Emmanuel was killed, along with two of his three NZ-born daughters, in the recent earthquake in Haiti.
I came into contact with Emmanuel via a colleague's fortuitous encounter with Jeffrey Kohen, President of Now and Zen, a US-based t-shirt manufacturing company. Jeffrey's company operates a subsidiary company called NonProfitees (www.nonprofitees.org) that offers at-cost printing of tees for non-profit organisations.
As we at Kaiteriteri saw the merchandising of t-shirts as a valuable way of both promoting the Park and generating some track-building revenue, we leapt at Jeffrey's offer to print our tees for us.
Jeffrey put me in touch with Emmanuel, NonProfitees' Program Director, and there began a long exchange of emails whereby he sought to help us clarify and finalise our order. In the context of NP's usual non-profit or charitable clients, our minimum order of 300 tees was small-fry. In addition to that, our order involved international p&p and customs clearance, both of which lay outside of NP's usual operating framework within the domestic US market.
Nevertheless, Emmanuel was unfailingly helpful and patient throughout this process. He always responded promptly to emails and invested them with a warmth that made the exchanges become increasingly personal. I had a sense that Emmanuel was determined to do all he could to accommodate us.
By the conclusion of the order, we were expressing our enthusiasm at meeting each other on his next visit to NZ.
Throughout this period, I had no idea that he was based in Haiti with his wife Emily, caring for his three daughters, and working for the UN while engaged in several other roles. In the wake of the Haitian tragedy, I have had the opportunity to read more of Emmanuel and Emily's work in many of the world's poorest countries. Their whole-hearted commitment to helping those in need was, and for Emily no doubt remains, their guiding passion. I feel privileged to have briefly intersected with Emmanuel's life and, for those of us already wearing the t-shirts (http://kaiteriterimtbpark.blogspot.com/2009/12/teeing-up-for-summer.html), we can share in a special link with his life and work.
The above photo was placed by Afke on http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=250861649126, a fund that has been established to assist Emily Sanson-Rejious and her daughter adjust to life without a devoted husband and father.