I have Haiti on my mind. I was a young girl when I first heard of Haiti. My parents were discussing their plans to visit the country and I ignorantly asked, Where's that? When they returned from their trip, they spoke to me of incredible poverty and beautiful people. My father looked down in thought, shook his head, said, such beautiful people, such a troubled country.
I've done what I could in the immediate. I texted HAITI to 90999, which is the text fund-raising campaign launched by the Red Cross. I did some research to see if there was anything I could do there. Was there a group I could join? Did I have anything to offer if I went there? I learned that my skills are not the ones that are needed. I don't have medical training or grief training or any emergency response experience. I learned that a person going to Haiti would need life support, a place to sleep, a way to eat, a place to dispose of waste. My heart was in the right place but I don't belong there, I belong here. Yesterday, I prayed. Today I'm packing a box of gently worn clean clothes and a couple of sleeping bags that I will take to a center gathering such items for distribution in Port-Au-Prince. It doesn't seem to be enough but then again, maybe a clean shirt will land in the hands of someone who needs just that and maybe a sleeping bag will provide a bit of comfort through the long nights.
Estimates I've read say that one third of Haiti's population has been affected by this earthquake. That's one million people. Hard to imagine.
Earlier this morning I stood outside in the rain while Cheyenne took her time doing her business. I was moving my feet back and forth, impatiently waiting while she selectively sniffed here and there for the perfect spot. It was chilly, I was getting wet, and I shivered in my discomfort. And then I laughed. How convenient, the inconvenience I was experiencing. Just a few feet away, my warm and dry house, electricity, clean water, food, anything I could possibly need or want. Everything I take for granted as being there.
As I've been writing this, I've also been tuned in to the news, watched planes arrive in Port-au-Prince. A plane from Cuba with 70 doctors, a plane from France with water, food, chainsaws, emergency supply packs, a plane from China with medical supplies, one from Finland, one from Spain, Canada, the US Air Force. As I watched, I was struck by the amazing way that humanity answers a need, how we come together for our neighbors, how we are able to set aside differences and lend a hand. In the worst of times, the best of humanity is always among the first to arrive.
I hope they know: we hear your cries, we grieve your dead, and help is on its way.