Tue 2 Feb 2010
A fundraiser at Cavallo Point Sunday for Haiti’s earthquake victims brought in $15,345. The restaurant and lodge are at Fort Baker in Sausalito, and 120 attendees from East and West Marin filled a second-floor dining room to capacity.
The magnitude 7 earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12 was, as most of us realize, a disaster beyond comprehension. Virtually every multi-story building around the capital Port-au-Prince collapsed, and an estimated 200,000 people died. (By way of contrast, Hurricane Katrina, the worse natural disaster in US history, claimed 1,800 lives.)
So many hospitals fell down that the few remaining have been overwhelmed by thousands of seriously injured survivors. Food and water are scarce throughout much of the country. Public utilities and government facilities are in ruins.
All the money raised Sunday is going to two nonprofits, Partners in Health run by Dr. Paul Farmer and DG Educational Services Haiti project founded by Myriam Kaplan Pasternak of Nicasio.
Kevin and Nancy Lunny of Drakes Bay Oyster Company contributed oysters on the half shell to the fundraiser.
Myriam’s project teaches Haitians how to raise and breed rabbits for food, and she and her family happened to be in Haiti when the earthquake struck.
Luckily they were riding on a rural road. If they had been in the school where they were headed, they might well have died because the school collapsed, as can be seen in this photo by Myriam. Some students in the school were killed, she noted during the fundraiser.
Myriam on Sunday told the gathering about the immediate aftermath of the quake, as well as about the days that followed.
The scenes on television of desperate Haitians in Port-au-Prince struggling with each other for food and water were not typical of the nation, she said.
In much of the country, the disaster brought people together.
How Sunday’s event came to be is a story in itself. It was the brainchild of reporter Andrea Blum, who worked for me at The Point Reyes Light six years ago and now reports for The West Marin Citizen.
Andrea invited Myriam and her husband Mark Pasternak to attend, and Mark (right) used the Internet to encourage others to take part.
When Cavallo Point chef Joseph Humphrey received word of the fundraiser, he volunteered to host a larger event and provide food, a dining room, cooks, and formal serving staff.
Cavallo Point’s restaurant, by the way, is the only Michelin-rated restaurant in Marin County, and Sunday night’s elegant dinner showed why it got the rating.
Also contributing to the fundraiser were: La Tercera Farms, Star Route Farms, Rustic Bakery, Acme Bread, Della Fattoria Bakery, TCHO Chocolates, Straus Creamery, Tartine Bakery, Cakework, Good Earth Market, Whole Foods, Cow Girl Creamery, Gale Ranch, BN Ranch, Mariquita Farms, Kendric Vineyards, Schramsburg Winery, and (as emcee) Doug McConnell.
Children, some of them covered with cement dust, huddle in the aftermath of the earthquake in this photo by Myriam Pasternak.
Every seat in the dinning room was quickly reserved notwithstanding a minimum $50 donation, and Andrea sent out word that anyone who couldn’t attend should notify her because there was a waiting list.
Her disappearance came two weeks after Katherine Truitt, 37, of Alameda disappeared while also hiking alone in the park.
Andrea (right) said Lange “signed up for the dinner at 10:21 a.m. the day she disappeared.”
In short, Sunday evening was a rush of mixed emotions. It was an uplifting event organized to help Haitians recover from a disaster, and guests came away with a greater understanding of that island nation.
However, in the background was a missing guest who may have just died under mysterious circumstances here at home.