Jan 13, 2010

How are we helping?

The aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti brings up the same twisted feelings I get after every news-worthy disaster.
  • Pity.
  • Thankfulness (that my family is safe).
  • Guilt.
  • Concern.
  • Anger.
  • The need to vent words that I might regret in two days.
I've read a couple of stories in the paper, I've seen tragic photos. I donated some money. That's about all I can do right now. [edit #1: a friend has convinced me to start donating blood again. No argument there.]

The real question is: Did you care about Haiti before? (These people were not exactly pre-ordering iSlates iPads last week.) Will my money help anyone? I'm praying it does, and I actually think it will. I just hope people won't forget. The media will, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

How are those tsunami victims doing, by the way? I certainly don't know. How sad is that?

I tell you what I'm not doing...
  1. Changing my Twitter avatar to something that shows "I care". I did this wholeheartedly before (to support the Iranian people, who are choking under their government), and guess what? One day, like almost  everybody else, I sheepishly changed it back. To all appearances, I gave up on the cause. Been there, done that. Even a bumper sticker has more shelf-life. Bottom line? I'm pretty sure no one in Port-au-Prince gives a crap that I am "aware" of their problems [edit: or if we redecorate the CN Tower.]
  2. Flying to Haiti to help out. You want to help in a much bigger way? Donate your airfare (and the two weeks salary you'd be forgoing) to charity. Yes, it's hard to know which agency to trust, and probably not every single cent of your money will be helping those who need it most. But at some point, you just have to give something. Or not. It's your call.
  3. Taking more photos. The best guys are on it already. Don't let me dissuade you from a life-changing career-path, but it's true. [This is not to say you shouldn't use your camera to change lives, but maybe keep it local, and donate the profits? Also, you'd also be drinking water and eating food that that the Haitians need for themselves.]
Just venting, remember?

If you're looking for a way to donate, WorldVision is a good a place to start as any. If it's too Christian for you, there are plenty of others, like the Red Cross or Red Crescent. After that, we all need to make out own peace with it. There's always enough death and suffering to go around, and if you think about it too hard, you will be crippled with despair.

Is this blog helping? Just me. From the standpoint that I have a place to try to collect my own thoughts and reconcile why terrible things will always happen.

Maybe someone will write something that helps. Until then, maybe open your wallet and hit the blood clinic.