I feel in a dither. The news of the earthquake in Haiti reminds me of the friends I now have on the other side of that island in the Dominican Republic. I'm learning that the more connections I make with disenfranchised people, the more I care, deeply. Having walked the streets of Los Alcarizzos, DR, I can picture the poverty which the Haitians already endure, made all the more harsh with the loss of their country's pathetic infrastructure. Having helped build a concrete block house there last summer, I can picture the kinds of homes the Haitian people have seen shaken to the ground.
In the midst of this, my most profound blessing is hearing from Christian friends of immediate responses that are being made.
My dear husband asked the guys at our prison Bible Study to pray Tuesday night - just an hour or so after the earthquake. We prayed for a collapsed hospital - the first of the sound bites he heard on the radio news. If only it were JUST a single hospital that was lost.
My pastor posted a link to UMCOR - the United Methodist Church's mission organization. She's much more computer savvy than I am - I searched for too long for a mailing adress to send a check, and posted my frustration on Facebook. She responded with a link, saying it was easy. I STILL couldn't get it, but eventually navigated my way to UMCOR, PO Box 9068 New York, NY 10087.
Another friend, Sandi, who got me started in the whole Gulf Coast relief effort, posted information about her Syracuse Presbyterian Church's effort to make health kits to be distributed. Now that's something I can get involved in - I've made a few flood buckets myself, in response to floods in June 2006 in the southern tier of NYS - I sent Paul on a mission to find free 5 gallon pails (pickle buckets from a deli filled our garage at one point.) Years ago an ecumencial youth effort in Auburn prompted a bunch of adults to get the teens including my son Jason involved in sewing (yes sewing!) kits and filling them. We had kids all over the social room cutting, sewing and filling more than a hundred school bags. I may spend a few bucks this weekend making a couple kits, and urging others to join me.
Information about kits:
• One hand towel measuring approximately 16" x 28" (no fingertip or bath towels)
• One washcloth
• One wide-tooth comb
• One nail clipper (no metal files or emery boards)
• One bar of soap (bath size in wrapper)
• One toothbrush (in original packaging)
• Six Band-Aids®
Please do not add toothpaste to the Hygiene Kit. Toothpaste that has an extended expiration date will be added to Hygiene Kit shipments just prior to shipment. Seal all items in a one-gallon plastic bag with a zipper closure.
• 1 pair blunt scissors (rounded tip)
• 3 pads (or loose leaf) of 8 1/2" x 11" ruled paper
• 1 30-centimeter ruler
• 1 hand held pencil sharpener
• 6 unsharpened pencils with erasers
• 1 eraser, 2 1/2"
• 1 box of 24 crayons (only 24)
Prepare a 14" x 16" (finished size) cloth bag with handles and an optional closure (Velcro®, snap or button) and place items in the bag. (I'd make a bag if anyone wanted to buy supplies)
And finally, Henry, an aquaintance from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's Gulf Coast response has posted a desire to help on his blog, http://knockatthenarrowgate.blogspot.com/. Looks like he's dithering too. But having met this gentle but determined man when we were in Mississippi last year, I just know he will find productive ways to serve in Haiti.
Time to stop dithering. Gotta keep praying, write my check, collect a few supplies, and listen for other ways God's calling in the midst of this disaster.