Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Please Pray That They are Okay
I was driving my son Luke to school today. We adopted him from Haiti, so he hears about Haiti a lot. This morning he asked me, "Mommy, why is Haiti always in trouble?" I didn't have a good answer for him.
I don't have any answers. Like many people, we are waiting to hear about those we know and love in Haiti. People like Frandy, a hard-working, young man, who, as a very poor Haitian, is defying the odds, educating himself, studying like mad to pass the TOEFL (Test of English for Foreign Language students) so that he can come to the United States for college. Or Heurese, the young woman who spent five months with us last year as she recovered from open heart surgery. Both Frandy and Heurese live in Carrefour, which was the epicenter of the earthquakc. They are both very poor and I am hoping, however perversely, that this will somehow work in their favor for survival; they don't live in big houses, just little shacks made of concrete blocks. We grasp at straws where we can.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to the "biblical" nature of the earthquake. It's really the only scale that makes any sense. Because a normal day in Haiti is like a natural disaster: lack of water, lack of food, unpassable or barely passable roads, epidemics with no adequate medical response. Add a devastating earthquake to these already impossible conditions and we run out of words to describe the situation. If you think about what happens in the United States when disasters strike--everything from car accidents to N1H1 to tornados--there is a professional, adequate response--ambulances, police, doctors, government bureaucrats--lots of people tackle the problem. When I think about the people lying under the rubble in Haiti: there is no one from Haiti that is going to be coming to their rescue soon, save their families and neighbors. I just heard Anderson Cooper bemoan the fact that he had seen no heavy earth moving equipment on the scene. Welcome to Haiti, Anderson. The existing hospitals are totally inadequate for every day circumstances; there is no military, there is no National Guard, there are no ambulances or road crews, or maintenance people to fix a practically non-existent infrastructure, there is a barely functioning police department. Really, there is nothing at all in Haiti to respond to a disaster of this magnitude.
So we are left asking, "How could this happen? How could God let this happen? What kind of social Darwinistic law rules the universe and insists that the harshest things must happen to the people who are already suffering the most?"
I'm not going to count on answers to these questions; we have to roll up our sleeves and work.
Pictured above, Chris Nungester who along with her husband Hal, runs an orphanage, H.I.S. Home for Children, and one of the children in her care