Sadly, as the days go by, the news from Haiti becomes more commonplace. People expect it to be the lead news story. They expect to hear about more deaths as bodies are recovered from the rubble. Stories of the difficulties that teams are having actually GETTING supplies to the people are no longer met with outrage. Americans expect to hear stories of celebrities raising money (and sometimes allegedly spending it inappropriately) for Haitian relief.
And yet there are the bright spots. Surprises from unexpected places. Like a big-time college basketball team whose coach sent a clear message to his players. "Basketball is just a game, but THIS is real life."
I'm not a crazy "Big Blue Nation" basketball fan, but I do love a good game of NCAA hoops. I think I might have a new favorite coach.
Haiti is not going away. The aid will not magically cure all of the ills of this desperately poor nation. To become complacent is to accept the seemingly predetermined fate of a beautiful little island nation.
There are those people who say "What about OUR country? What about those hurting in OUR country? What about the poor in OUR country? Why don't we take care of OUR country?"
Certainly, there are poor in the USA. Certainly people are hurting. But honestly, even the poorest in our country have options. Social services and emergency management offices are in the very structures of our local, state and national government.
Haiti has nothing like that. On one of his broadcasts last week, Anderson Cooper randomly commented on how the Haitian government had not yet mobilized its emergency management teams.
That's because Haiti doesn't HAVE emergency management teams. No FEMA trailers will be set up for displaced residents. No governmental cheese and milk are available. In the best of times in Haitian mountain villages (best being relative, of course), children make mud cookies to quelch the gnawing in their bellies.
Mud cookies. As in dirt and water. To eat.
One of the very sad things is that even though the Red Cross and numerous other aid organizations are mobilized and on the ground in Port Au Prince, it's not as simple as giving food and leaving. While PAP was the hardest hit by the quake, the devastation has far-reaching effects.
The Grande Anse River Valley, where our New Life for Haiti mission teams work, is 125-150 miles from PAP. The earthquake, however, was so strong that many of the houses were seriously damaged, some to the point of being unlivable.
Smaller villages closer to PAP suffered even worse damage.
Now, as many residents flee PAP, they will go into these villages, taxing already extremely limited resources like food and water.
It's a vicious circle.
So what can we do?
Continue to pray, of course. But also to act.
In these tough economic times, people don't have much extra spending money. Unfortunately, money is what the relief organizations need right now. They need to be able to use the money to purchase specific relief items and send teams to Haiti.
New Life for Haiti is purchasing concrete to help repair and rebuild homes. A donation as small as $10 will buy a bag of concrete. And since NLH is a volunteer organization, 100% of your money goes DIRECTLY to help the Haitian people, which is unheard of in charitable organizations.
With the average family income hovering at $300 USD, your $1, $5, $10 can go a LONG way.
And perhaps, when future generations learn about world history, the stories of how the nations of the world banded together to help get a small island nation back on its feet will be, well commonplace.
And that's something worth working toward.