When Marissa and I venture into the city together, or into the country, or into a touristy place, or simply into the next room over, there’s invariably someone who has suffered the effects of a disaster, whether it be natural, manmade, or some creative blend of the two varieties. I have a feeling that when we venture back into the United States together, the rather diminished frequency of such encounters will completely take our breath away. At which point, we’ll rapidly inhale and preach about how blessed our homeland is and what a weighty responsibility we each have because of our favored position to offer assistance to others in whatever capacity and to whatever degree we are able.
Last Friday, Halloween night, all of the kids, all of the workers here, Guillermo, Marissa, and I had one of those beautiful experiences where you’re able to do something for someone else that brings them hope and rekindles their faith in the people of this generation.
Water supply spoiled, crops destroyed, lives buried – for me, the proximity of it all contributes to the surrealism. Moreso, however, the fact that I was the one who spoke on the phone with our contact in that community when the catastrophe had just barely begun (before we realized how serious it would be) and heard a voice coming directly from the situation pleading for help and support. Then to make the phone calls and emails necessary to inform Guillermo (who was in the U.S. at the time) so that he could plan for providing them aid (as he is surprisingly well versed in responding to disaster). The first few days were incredibly anxious. There was little we could do immediately, so frustration also had its hay-day. Once Guillermo returned from the U.S., however, he brought the resources we’d needed and mobilized us to action!
On November 1, the day after we’d divvied up the provisions for the families, Guillermo, Marissa, one of the kids, and I went to deliver it all and do what we could to brighten their days.
I wish I had time to explain every aspect better. From walking over the landslide, to seeing holes from which bodies were recovered, to the unbelievably happy face of this toothless old man in a cowboy hat who escorted us around town, even a more thorough description of the dirt road would be an interesting subject from this excursion. Unfortunately, I must cut all short and save the details for face-to-face conversation.
In the meantime, I´m looking to raise a total of $100 for immediate aid to these people. If any of you are willing to help in that, please please PLEASE email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you so much!
p.s. When the planning for this was all first starting, Marissa, some other volunteers, and I went to meet María de la aldea at a park some 15 minutes away by chicken bus. Because of some funky communication, we didn´t meet María. However, we met a whole community of people who need major assistance because of a devastating flood a couple years back. Long story short (for now, anyway), Marissa and I ended up returning a few days later with some extra clothes from the orphanage and handing them out to the kids. There wasn´t enough. My was that unfortunate. I´m hoping to find ways to help them out more as well.
By a show of hands, who´s up for saving the world sometime soon?