2015-Apr-17 - y white kid walking the street
Aaron Jackson tries to cure a country
Rainn Wilson points at a gigantic pink worm walking in his direction. Yes,
Dwight Schrute from television's The Office. And yes, a seven foot tall, star
shaped parasite, with arms and legs, is walking toward the small stage where
"Wait a minute," Wilson says to the crowd seated in an ivy lined second story
courtyard at the W Hotel, on the edge of Beverly Hills. "It seems to be an
actual intestinal parasite."
"Gimme this!" the guy in the worm costume says in an exaggerated New York
accent. A cartoonish grin is plastered on the worm's face, and toilet paper
taped on looks like feces. "It's a party! Hey! Parasites gotta live too,
"Get off the stage, buddy," Wilson orders as he grabs the microphone stand
away from the giant talking worm. When the worm rebuts, Wilson drops the
microphone and pushes the worm against the stone wall behind the stage. He slaps
the Cheap Nike NFL
Jerseys parasite's pointy head and knees him in the foamy groin. Then he
turns the worm around with a headlock and takes him down to the ground.
As they jostle, the afternoon crowd of well dressed television and movie
stars cheers. Wilson calls out: "Aaron! Come up here!"
Seated at a table just left of the stage, Aaron Jackson looks out of place.
The rail thin, scruffy 27 year old from Broward County wears an oversized T
shirt, baggy jeans, and Pumas. party.
Wilson kicks and punches the worm as Aaron approaches the stage. Jenna
Fischer Pam from The Office is laughing and clapping. Legendary metal guitarist
Slash smirks and nods, his mirrored sunglasses still over his eyes. Everyone
hoots, cheering Aaron on. Wilson holds the worm's starfishy arm, and Aaron
launches himself into the parasite's plump gut.
When Aaron gets off the worm, Wilson goes back to the microphone. "You're
done here, joker," he tells the worm. "Boooo!"
The audience starts booing along, and the worm limps toward the door past the
cast of The Office, past the stars of Reno 911! and Heroes, past Slash and Win
Butler, lead singer of Arcade Fire.
Aaron makes his way back to his seat, but before he can sit down, the Cheap NFL Jerseys CHINA crowd stands to applaud. Some folks go
over and hug the young man.
This event, called Cure a Country, is a fundraising party conceived and
organized by Rainn Wilson. The goal www.wholesalejerseybiz.us.com is to raise enough money in a
single day to help Aaron with a goal he has: to rid all 10 million people in
Haiti of intestinal parasites to cure the poorest country in the Western
Exactly how this shaggy, disheveled, community college dropout ended up
bringing the cause c to a posh party full of Hollywood stars is a tale of saint
like deliverance and self sacrifice with a touch of serendipity.
Aaron Jackson doesn't sleep. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but just barely.
When he's in the United States, Aaron is a ceaseless geyser of emails, phone
calls, and text messages. and continues far into the next morning.
When he does happen to nod off these days, it's on an old mattress in the
corner of an $800 a month, microstudio apartment in Hollywood, Florida. The
place doubles as the central office for his nonprofit organization, Planting
Peace. Through this ever expanding international aid organization, Aaron has
opened orphanages and shelters in Ecuador, Guatemala, Cambodia, and all across
Haiti, where his work began. He has initiated efforts to conserve the Amazon
rain forest, planted trees on depleted Haitian hillsides, and organized
environmental cleanup programs across the United States.
The project that draws the lion's share of his time, however, and the issue
to which Aaron has brought the most awareness, is intestinal parasites. The
worms cause those bloated, distended bellies associated with Third World
countries where there's no access to clean water. The parasites absorb up to 20
percent of a child's nutritional intake and, if left unchecked, cause brain
damage, crippling physical handicaps, and eventually death.
Aaron has avoided the traditional foreign aid routes like the Red Cross.
Instead, he started five years ago by bringing deworming pills to Haiti in his
backpack. Since then, he has distributed more than 3.5 million treatments, which
cost about 2 cents each in bulk, and he's done it all without a single
Ordinarily, as he's traveling through the most impecunious countries in the
world, he has few requirements about where he'll sleep. Mostly, he tries to
sleep near fans. "To a mosquito, a little fan is like a gigantic hurricane,"
he's fond of saying.
The mendicant lifestyle is a long way from how he grew up, living on a golf
course in the quiet panhandle town of Destin, Florida. His stepfather was a golf
pro, and young Aaron's life was all about hitting the links.
While taking classes at a community college, Aaron had an urge to get away
from the sheltered life. On a trip to Costa Rica, Aaron witnessed real poverty,
children living in squalor, infants so malnourished in the womb that they were
born with deformed, weakened limbs.
When he got back, he looked for "a job where I could really help people." He
found one with Sean Cononie, who runs the Homeless Voice shelter on Federal
Highway in Hollywood.
He first went to Haiti with Cononie in 2004. It was then that he decided to
start his first orphanage with a Haitian man he had befriended. Aaron got a job
as a caddy on a Miami Beach golf course and sent the money he earned to keep the
orphanage going. Soon, he felt like the money he was spending on rent should be
going to Haiti too, so he gave up his apartment and started sleeping on the
floor of Cononie's office.
It wasn't until 2008, when he returned from a trip to Cambodia, that Aaron
moved into his tiny apartment/office near the beach in cheapnfljerseyscenter.us Hollywood.
His one man charity was gaining momentum. After a New Times cover story in
July 2005 ("Saint Aaron," Eric Alan Barton), Aaron was featured on CNN's Heroes
project in September 2007.
"When you meet these kids, when they have a belly full of worms, they're
lethargic, they're in like a daze you can see," Aaron says. "Their eyes glaze
over. And their bellies are swollen, and they're just sick all the time."
Within a day, the pills begin working and the children pass the worms. "You
can see the children come to life. They start running around again and playing
like kids are supposed to. It's unbelievable how much difference it makes, for
less than 2 cents. I tell people for the price of a cup of coffee, you can
deworm an entire school."
People connected with Aaron's story. They saw the CNN videos of sick children
and this pale, scraggly white kid walking the streets of Port au Prince, handing
out the medicine to cure them from his backpack. Donations, sometimes as much as
$20,000 a day, poured in.
By the end of 2008, Aaron had distributed more than 3.5 million doses of
deworming medication worldwide, with pills going to Sudan, Cameroon, the
Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
With more money coming in the charity brought in just over a million dollars
($1,175,608) in 2008, according to tax records Planting Peace was able to do
more. The organization sponsors a homeless outreach center in Guatemala, a home
for teenaged prostitutes in Ecuador, and four programs in Haiti, including a
home for children with AIDS in Port au Prince's gritty Cit Soleil.