I've been crying off and on all day today. My heart is so heavy for Haiti. She has suffered insult after injury after insult for over 600 years. Since Christopher Columbus it has been one horror after another. Look it up--after Columbus claimed the island for Spain, the native population was nearly wiped out, presumably, by European borne disease. Spanish and French interests ruled for nearly 4 centuries and trafficked in nearly 800,000 slaves to work the very lucrative sugar and coffee plantations, followed by years of shaky rule and revolution, violence, terror, corrruption, abject poverty and crime until the present time.
I won't go further into detail of the tumultuous times that Haiti has endured, but I've come to the conclusion that the people of Haiti must be the toughest, strongest, most tenacious, and bravest people on our planet. To be the the world's second poorest nation and have survived the abuses of the last centuries and now the flooding and hurricanes of the last several years brings me to my knees. These words I read about Haiti's history only serve to shed a tiny flicker of light on what allows an island the size of Maryland to survive such continued difficulty.
How, HOW can this be??
I look around me and at every turn I'm shocked at how insulated and safe I am. My walls are standing. My heat is on. There is food in my fridge and gas in my car. I burst into fresh tears at each one of these realizations. My child has warm clothes and a full belly. We have clean water.
I light a candle and pray in a way I haven't prayed in years.
I make my donations.
I cannot seem to bring myself to do what I normally would be doing right now on a Thursday afternoon: my potter's wheel sits silent across the room, boxes of clay waiting quietly to be opened, orders needing to be shipped, taxes to be done. The grocery list and laundry are being ignored. A family birthday gathering looms ahead this weekend and travel to another city to celebrate seems inconceivable knowing so many brothers and sisters are suffering and dying in unfathomable fear, grief, pain, hunger and thirst. How many of those suffering share the same birthday as my little 2 year old niece?
I know even if I jumped on a plane right now I wouldn't be able to help. Right now they need doctors and nurses, emergency personnel. People who are trained to know what to do. I feel guilty that I don't have that training, that I haven't dedicated my life to that kind of work. That I have a frivolous 'art' career while there is so much hunger and pain on this earth. I don't know what to do so I make a donation in hopes that somewhere, someone's hardship is eased...