On January 3rd, our church gathered donated supplies such as children's clothes, diapers, formula, bottles, vitamins, etc. to send off with Mandi, a super-sweet friend who was making a 10-day humanitarian mission to Haiti, leaving the following Sunday, January 10th.
Of course by now you'd have to be living in a cave to not know the rest of the story...
In previous natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Indonesia, I was deeply saddened by the loss of life and imagining the trials people had to go through, but I was distanced somewhat from the problem. Somehow, though, it's much worse when you actually know someone who is there, dealing with the realities.
As soon as I heard about the earthquake, I immediately got scared because I knew she was somewhere near Port-au-Prince. It wasn't until the next day that another friend from church was able to track down family who had luckily heard from her. The orphanage she and her friend are in has damage (they are having to sleep outside), but they and all the babies made it out safely with only minor injuries - Mandi has either a broken or severely sprained ankle and some cuts from broken glass. They have been kept very busy providing medical care to people in their area. Several peoples in the building right next to theirs were not so lucky and died.
Several years ago my aunt Lois had traveled to Haiti to cover the building of a medical clinic set up by a group of doctors and nurses in Salt Lake. I remember when she returned, looking at the photos and hearing her stories, and just being incredibly touched. That is how I'm feeling again. Never before have I felt so helpless and wishing there was something I could do (beyond monetary donations to a legitimate source, which I have done) to provide help. I've been praying non-stop for Mandi and her friend Carol, and for their families, but it just doesn't seem like enough.
Even though there's nothing physical I can do to help, I find that I'm becoming extremely irritated with people who aren't focused on this tragedy. Watching the news last night and tonight, hearing the "battle" going on with Conan O'Brian and NBC, all I could think was "WHO REALLY CARES?" Same thing for Oprah and her "upcoming interviews with Adam Lambert!" probably one of the most useless people I can think of. These are our heroes? They are nothing compared to the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who are struggling to give help to those who are desperately in need of it.
There's much more on my heart, but I guess I should quit where I am. I hope that everyone will just continue to pray for ALL the people in Haiti.
Here are some links to recent articles you might find interesting
Here's an article from KSL about Mandi and Carol:
Here are links to recent articles that Lois wrote for the Deseret News:
Here are links to the archived articles from when Lois travelled there in 2000 which really highlight the struggles Haitians faced when life was "normal." I can only imagine how they'll continue on now...
August 13, 2000:
Bringing hope to Haiti
Island visit opens eyes and hearts
August 14, 2000:
Hard times a constant of Haitian history
August 15, 2000:
Mending bodies, building a legacy
Finally, a great response about the flap created by Pat Robertson who earns the award for most misguided and mispoken "Christian" out there.