To be completely honest, these events never resonated with me. Oh sure, I watched the news and maybe contributed a few bucks to the Red Cross, but once the news cycle moved on, so did I. Katrina probably had the most impact on me, but that's only because I visited New Orleans for a conference a year later and saw the city still struggling to recover. Even then, I wasn't really moved to do anything more about it then tell a few people what I saw.
The earthquake that hit Haiti, though, was different. Like most of us, I watched the news coverage--but it grabbed me the way other stories didn't. I saw the devastation, watched the Haitian people scream and cry in the streets for help, and my heart absolutely broke for them. I really couldn't tell you why. Maybe it was a combination of things:
- These photo essays from The Big Picture, which captured the pain and suffering and reality of what happened: Earthquake in Haiti, Haiti: 48 Hours Later, and Haiti: 70 Days Later
- The fact that Haiti is only 600 miles from the U.S. (about the distance from Boston to Buffalo) and yet malnutrition and poverty run rampant there.
- Some of my earliest memories of church involve listening to a Haitian congregation sing, laugh, and pray noisily as their congregation met in a room below the sanctuary in our building.
- A slow realization that I had a chance to really do something to show love and help those in need.
Plans fell into place and I can now let you know that this May (the 23rd to the 29th), Doug and I will travel to Haiti with Adventures in Missions--an organization that's dedicated to helping deliver support and relief to some of the most impoverished areas of the world.
We really don't know what to expect. The country, which was impoverished before, has been completely devastated in the capital city of Port au Prince and surrounding areas. There are so many needs--food, water, medicine, rebuilding, rehabilitation--that we don't know yet what area we'll be helping in. All we know now is that we're going and we're going to help however we can.
But we can't do it alone. We need help. Maybe help from you.
- We need prayer... neither of us have ever done anything like this or put ourselves into a situation like this one.
- We need awareness... not for what we're doing, but that Haiti needs help. Recovery will take years, but the news cycle has already moved on. Please don't forget.
- We need help... again, not for us, but for Haiti. If you want to help support our trip, you can do that by donating through eventbrite or directly. Know that we plan to use any money we raise beyond our own costs to buy supplies to send to Port au Prince in advance. (Other great organizations you may want to support include CharityWater.org, the Red Cross, and Yele Haiti)
Thank you for listening and thanks in advance for helping.
(Here's a video Doug sent me from the blog WhyIsMarko. It was shot recently in Port au Prince.)
(I wrote this post while listening to "Blood Bank EP" by Bon Iver)