Saturday, November 20, 2010

Haiti needs a break

Though it is not quite Thanksgiving, it is not too early to start looking ahead to 2011. A new year is supposed to be a time of new beginnings, and I truly want this to be the case for Haiti.

Haiti is a small, poor country located in the Caribbean Sea. As we all know, the country has taken a battering this year.

Back in January, the country received a massive earthquake that killed 250,000 and left one million homeless. Almost a year later, thousands still live in tent cities and the conditions are difficult.

The basic necessities of life are a luxury there, and the effort to rebuild will last for years.

In October, disease was the big news coming out of the country. Because of the circumstances, an outbreak of cholera occurred that killed hundreds.

I won't be too graphic, but cholera is an acute, infectious disease characterized principally by serious intestinal disorders caused by bacterium. I am not a doctor so if any readers disagree with that definition take it up with Webster's Dictionary.

Then, earlier this month, Haiti got a visit from Hurricane Tomas, which dumped up to 15 inches of rain on some parts of the country.

I heard some experts refer to the storm as a 'minimal hurricane.' I do not know what to make of that term. How can a hurricane be minimal?

I know hurricanes can widely vary when it comes to intensity, but to call one minimal seems to be a slap in the face of the people suffering through it.

After all, if Tomas had dumped 15 inches of rain on my house, I do not think I would have described it as 'minimal.' I would have probably used a lot more graphic adjectives when talking about my plight. And some of those adjectives could not be printed in this column.

The personal impact these circumstances are having must be enormous. Though the United States has had its share of problems lately, we have not gone through anything like the people there have.

The culture there was already financially poor before the earthquake, and their meager way of life was smashed to smithereens in only a few minutes. Since then, many have spent months in those tent cities.

Imagine how the news of the hurricane must have impacted them. They had survived the earthquake and were still dealing with the cholera. Then, they got the message that a hurricane was coming.

I do not know when a person reaches a breaking point, but that had to have been one for a lot of the people there. The hurricane season ends on November 30 so let us hope that ends the threat of severe storms for a while.

As for the rest of us, what more can we do regarding Haiti? Tons of money has poured into the country. Missionaries have gone there to help minister to the country's spiritual needs. There is no quick fix when it comes to problems that run so deep.

If nothing else, we should make a pledge to not forget about these people.

When the earthquake happened in January, it was a front-page story for weeks. Then, as time passed, it faded into the background.

Poor people often get the shaft when it comes to focusing on their problems. As Haiti settles into the background again, we will soon be saturated with media reports about Lindsay Lohan and others like her.

I have nothing personal against Ms. Lohan. I hope she straightens out her life.

Still, it is frustrating to watch someone make a career out of mayhem while so many other people suffer in darkness.

What are our priorities? We can either continue to focus on the frivolous or dedicate our lives to issues that really matter.

The choice is up to you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

makes you realize how good we have it here in the USA.