Warning: This is a serious, and disturbing subject, and if you're in a bad place, or are feeling very sensitive at the moment, I seriously suggest that you don't read it.
So, now that you’ve been warned:
I have been overwhelmed by the stories coming out of Haiti. I think I truly allowed it to sink in, for the first time, this morning, as I read the paper, on my way to physical therapy. I nearly broke into tears on the bus, as I took it all in, and began to truly comprehend the totality of what’s happened there. I don’t know anyone in Haiti, or have any family there, but my thoughts and prayers are with all those effected by this tragedy. Those who are suffering, and waiting in desperation for help to come, and those who are desperately waiting for word about their friends, loved ones, and co-workers…
I read this morning that Children’s Place Association (a Chicago based agency) has seven workers stationed in Haiti whose whereabouts and condition are still unknown at this time. These staff workers had gone to Haiti help those afflicted with HIV and AIDS, and all efforts to contact them have, as yet, proved unsuccessful.
That seems to be the story for a great many people, right now. Waiting, hoping, and praying…
I am a certified rescue diver, and a trained Red Cross disaster relief volunteer, and when I’m no longer in outpatient, and all health issues are resolved (hopefully sometime before summer), I intend to update my training, so that if I am called upon, I can volunteer to help those in need. I doubt I would have been called upon to do hands on work in this disaster, but I think we should all do whatever we can, which is why I am donating money to support relief efforts. Money is far more helpful than any donation of goods (even foods and essentials), because it does not require relief agencies to pay for shipping or storage. These agencies also know what’s specifically needed, and can allocate funds accordingly.
I know money is tight for everyone, right now, including me. But, consider the circumstances.
Right now, there are people lining the roadsides of Port-au-Prince, with wounds that will quickly become infected, laying amid bodies, and the sounds of the other survivors, praying aloud and crying for help. The maimed and wounded are laying in the streets, hoping and praying that someone will come for them. That someone will help them… let’s do our best not to let them down.
Too many of these people will be lost before relief efforts are properly mobilized. The destruction of an airport, and crumbling roads have made it very difficult for relief workers on the ground to get aid to those desperately in need.
If you want to help, you can simply text “Yele” to 501501 to make a donation of five dollars to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (the five dollars will be charged to your phone bill), or to give to Red Cross relief efforts, text “Haiti” to 90999 (ten dollars would be charged to your phone bill). I would encourage anyone who can afford to make larger donations to the Red Cross to do so, but the text donation is something that nearly all of us can afford.
Nearly three and half million dollars have been raised through these text efforts, so these small donations will add up, and could make a significant difference.
Personally, I am a starving artist, and I blow almost five bucks on a frappacino on a fairly regular basis. Why not skip a couple pricey coffee drinks, or cocktails, or whatever else, and help the Red Cross to save some lives?
We are all connected, and a part of something greater than ourselves. I firmly believe that. These people may not be your brothers or sisters by blood, but that’s just happenstance. We are all tiny threads in the fabric of humanity, which is but one thread in the fabric of the universe.
We are all undeniably connected.
In our hopes…
In our fears…
In our love, and our devotion…
We should do what we can for each other.