Jamie and Ali McMutrie first gained attention when they flew 53 orphans into Pittsburgh after a January earthquake destroyed the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The sisters, who have volunteered in Haiti since 2002, returned to Haiti after finding homes for the orphans in their care. They are visiting Pittsburgh this week to raise money for their non-profit, Haitian Orphan Rescue, with the goal of building a new orphanage, school, clinic, and farm in Port-au-Prince.
The sisters have a $4 million fundraising goal, but that is not all tomorrow’s event is about.
”We’re kind of calling it a big party — a thank you from us to this whole city because even though it’s 10 months later, we never really got a chance to express how seriously appreciative we were of the people that just poured out help to us, so it’s affordable, and hopefully a way that everyone can come out and have a good time and help support our efforts,” Ali said.
Right now, Haiti is in the midst of a cholera epidemic. More than 11,000 Haitians have been infected, and hundreds have died. The World Health Organization said today that the epidemic isn’t likely to end soon.
“They’re doing a lot of education, they’re doing radio announcements, there’s groups that go out and teach people, just basic, how to keep yourself safe from it,” Ali said.
“They’re still happy,” Jamie said about the Haitians. “They’re still happy, and I don’t know if, as Americans, ’cause we’re used to so much, I don’t know if we could still smile.”
Ali and Jamie McMutrie are now caring for eight orphans in Haiti.
“We know we’re supposed to be there, you know, and it would feel wrong not being there,” Ali said.
Before the quake hit, the McMutries fell in love with four-year-old Fredo and adopted him. He now lives in Pittsburgh with Ali and Jamie’s parents.
Fredo has interests similar to any four-year-old, including soccer, football, baseball and pre-school.
Mother Diane McMutrie says, “He brings joy and laughter daily with a little bit of stress.”
The McMutrie sisters’ fundraiser, Ti Kanaval, is Saturday night at Whim in Station Square from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.