Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haiti Earthquake Anniversary

I haven’t been to Haiti. I have been to places that are like Haiti after a cataclysmic tragedy. Places hit by an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption. The devastation is the same. Homeless people, people in need, injured people that need attention before infection sets in, children with no parents or adults to comfort them, hungry people, thirsty people, it is all the same and unless you have witnessed the instant depravation you cannot know it. But you can feel it if you free your mind of the innocuous constrictions of self-need.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the devastating quake in Haiti. So many died and so many still live in pain and loss in that singular moment of an earth contortion.

In this year I have been privilege to witness and to learn about the dedication, the active participation of aid and medicines and the samaritan ethic of an organization called CMMB. Catholic Medical Mission Board.  It is an organization whose mission is to serve those in need throughout the world. They have been active in Haiti for a hundred years. 97.8 of all dollar donations go to those in need. I have not been able to ascertain any other organization whose percentage comes even near that amount.

We still see the pictures of destruction coming out of Haiti and we do so in disbelief.  A year ago we  reported the dead in numbers and now we see the living in great need. We have not yet repaired buildings, and roads. The infrastructure of the country is not yet complete to administer the world's aid and donations.  Sorrow has turned to searching for help, tears have turned to trial and error to live and make a living, and hope for help has turned to the emptiness of being forgotten by a world community and a national government that is struggling to exist and as yet unable to help.    

Grief is such a painful personal hurt. Sorrow is more universal in its heartache for it acknowledges on a higher level the collective loss to humankind. How many of the dead numbers were potential scientists, poets, leaders or potential parents of genius.

Empathy is not only the capacity to understand another’s feelings. It is the willingness to comfort, to cry together and to share the strength of  hope when so many see and feel nothing but despair.

Bravo to CMMB. You do it in so many places and without the accolades you deserve.

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