Olivia Wilde Writes about Her Experience as a Volunteer in Haiti


Actress Olivia Wilde, who has spent time volunteering in Haiti, writes about the scenes she and her business partner found there, their experience bagging bodies in a morgue, helping arrange proper burials, and how it changed them. The article also speaks about their founding of the company Conscious Commerce [described as “an experiment in living (and shopping) with a conscience”]. Wilde and Burchfield say, “Many people feel they are useless if they can’t afford a seat at an expensive gala, and yet they thirst for a more meaningful life. There are thousands of nonprofits in need of financial support, yet the pool of donors is relatively small. We felt the need to build a bridge between the good intentions of folks at home who had no extra cash to spend on fundraisers and the desperate needs of those in the toughest places on earth.”

Writing in the spring issue of Darling magazine, Wilde and her partner, Babs Burchfield, explore their experience, which led to the founding of their company, Conscious Commerce. “We stood next to each other, cigarettes dangling from our mouths, rum burning our throats, hazmat suits covering everything but our sweaty faces, clutching a handful of rosaries each,” they write in one section.

“We were aware of the unlikelihood of the moment — two white American girls working to bag bodies in a morgue — but this was Haiti, and we had come to expect the darkly unexpected. We were among a group of local volunteers who made this gruesome journey weekly, giving a dignified burial to the city’s discarded poor. The cigarettes were to mask the retched smell, the rum to ease the shock.”

Haiti, which is still suffering from the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake, has been the focus of several celebrity efforts to help with its recovery. Wilde and Burchfield returned home determined to invest in an alternative way to raise funds for good causes. Thus, Conscious Commerce, which they describe “an experiment in living (and shopping) with a conscience. This is our attempt to be useful humans, and we’d like to share what we’ve learned so far,” the two write on their website.

“Along with pointing you in the direction of cool, ethically sound businesses, we have paired some of our favorite brands with small, locally run organizations, to create limited edition products. These exciting collaborations are our way of bringing together consciousness and commerce, and making them make sweet, sweet love,” they write.

Darling, which is sold at retailers such as Anthropologie and Nordstrom, is an ad-free magazine that touts itself as “artisanal” and is aimed at reshaping the way that media represent women and girls. [. . .]

See Darling preview of the article here: http://darlingmagazine.org/issue-no-7-preview/

For original post, see http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2014/03/12/olivia-wilde-writes-magazine-essay-about-burying-bodies-in-haiti/6331831/

For photo and more information, see http://www.getmilkshake.com/where_the_wilde_things_are

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