I just donated money to Oxfam to help their efforts in Haiti. http://www.oxfamamerica.org/ Every little bit helps, right? I’m hoping it helps someone. It certainly doesn’t help me feel less helpful.
It’s such a horrible feeling, not being able to help people. I’ve always had a romantic vision of Haiti—what it once was. I always told myself if it ever was able to pull itself out of the poverty and despair that now defines it, I would go there and stay, permanently. It was once so beautiful, so exotic.
And there’s a part of me that thinks, perhaps, just perhaps, this terrible, horrible, devastating event could be the catalyst that will turn it all around. Perhaps the rebuilding efforts that are mandatory now will help bring Haiti and her people up to a better place, a happier place, a more beautiful place.
But when you see the video and photos of the people in the street, the mothers and fathers wailing, the old and frail with bloodied bandages, such sentiment coming from a white woman in a nice suburban neighborhood sounds pathetically cliché. After all, isn’t that what I tell my children when they get off the school bus ranting about the latest injustice? Only two kids made it to the final round of the spelling bee! They told us it would be 5 and they only took 2! I didn’t make it!
What’s my response? Let it be the grit in your oyster. Now you know what to expect next year. They usually give me a look of disbelief, something more akin to a “dirty” look, and probably vow to themselves not to complain to me again (of course a vow that’s forgotten as soon they shout “that’s not fair” about something).
Yes, Pollyanna to the rescue. And I can’t help but think that way now, about Haiti, though I’m sure if I were able to say something like Let it be the grit in your oyster to one of the people suffering there, they’d spit in my face, or worse. And it does make me feel guilty for hoping something good comes out of the earthquake’s destruction. A guilt I only now understand—to hope something good comes from something bad suggests you’re a little glad something bad happened, right? But that’s not how I feel at all. I’d rather have not needed the earthquake to make change, but since it happened, I’ve a choice: succumb to the despair, or hope for the best.
Selfishly, I admit it’d be easier to feel hopeful if I knew the people in the midst of the tragedy felt the same way.