I wonder if the charitable goodness within people will not diminish in hard economic times such as we are in, when two horrible earthquakes on opposite ends of South America compete for attention. I know it sounds horrible to put it like that but realistically it’s the truth. It is relatively easy to round up the initial wave of charity and contributions, but keeping that passion and drive alive in people after the media hype has passed is where the true work needs to happen. Right now Haiti is nowhere near where it needs to be in rebuilding the lives and homes of its inhabitants. The recent earthquake in Chile may fail to get similar support because the good Samaritans of the world are emotionally and financially tapped out. That or in the fickle heart of the do-gooder its attention will go to the next media highlight ready to volunteer even before the aftershocks completely stop, leaving Haiti in the shadows defending for itself.
As an aspiring round the world traveler it hurts me to hear of such devastating disasters hitting places I wish to visit. While to be honest Haiti was never on the top of my list, it doesn’t discount the sorrow I feel for them in their time of need. Chile, while I have never been there, sounded like a place that after all of my world travels is a location I would want to call home. I have daydreamed about owning a small beach house where my biggest problem is keeping the sand outside and where to hang the hammock. What if someone I could one day call friend is one of the victims in need right now?
With my limited traveling experience it is not just the places that inspire me but the generosity of people who have never known me outside of that one night encounter and will likely never see again. Those moments when instead of taking advantage of the traveler, a local goes out of their way to prove how amazing their home is and the people who inhabit it. Here I stand miles on end away from either Haiti or Chile, yet my thoughts seem to frequent them often. I often ask myself ‘What can I do?’ but sometimes that seems too limiting of a question; the better question would then be, ‘What can’t I do?’ I am not rich-I am not poor in wealth, knowledge or dreams but simply a traveler on a journey. My only hope is that neither you nor I loose the passion for travel and thus the people we encounter – for the need of Chile and Haiti is great yet in the words of John Heywood, ‘Many hands make light work.’
By clicking the Link to Red Cross you can donate to the International Response Fund which will go to both Haiti and Chili otherwise you can visit their donation list and pick which area you want to donate to.
Others things that you can do to help:
• Send this post to others to inspire them to donate
• Write your own post and link various relief efforts that the every day person can participate in
• Start a collection at work to try and raise funds to donate. Even if it is as simple as talking to the work/school cafeteria to ask permission to round up each person’s payment to the nearest dollar and that change can go towards relief efforts. (A Change for Change type program)
• Contact your local Red Cross or other charitable organization and see what you can do locally that could help out globally.
Don’t forget to fling this post at others if you like what you see!