Friday, January 15, 2010


I am truly feeling physically sick these last few days about the devastation in Haiti.

It's similar to the feeling you get after someone you love dies and you have instances of momentarily forgetting and laughing at something or having an inane thought and then realizing "What am I doing forgetting?!" once the feeling of dread creeps back again.

I think normally it would be semi-easy to shut off if I could will myself to ignore the news since all of those people are outside of my personal "Monkeysphere" (did you read the article I linked the other day?) but as someone who has to do hypno-breathing in the confined space of a crowded elevator...the thought of people being trapped and alone and scared has me out of my mind with anxiety. Yes, it's sad for everyone else who died or lost family, but these people who are stuck or hidden somewhere under rubble are what haunts me.

Also, we live in an area with a lot of Haitian immigrants and the pictures of these terrified, broken people and the piles of bodies remind me too much of people in our community--kids from Big Kid's class, the garage sale hagglers who can be maddening, the hardworking families I met through real estate who were pooling their money and purchasing investment properties with cash, all with some interesting or scary story of how they got here. All very real people, just like the people there.

And Haiti really sucked before all of this. Haitians were already prisoners to poverty and government oppression. Seeing these tattered people on mountains of rubble trying to dig their people out, looking tired and like they know it's pointless but what else can they do? God. Aside from the bodies and the diseases and the complete loss of the little anyone had, just the physical task of clearing the area will be monumental. And that's the least of their problems.

Also, if I hear anyone bitch about being sick of hearing about it (and I have already)--I will slap you in the face. It's actually fairly easy to avoid...for the first day there was an awful lot of Leno/Conan crap competing for news space with it. The truth of the matter is that there is some amazing, courageous reporting coming from Haiti right now. We're all quick to bitch when CNN is discussing the Gosselins, so let's give credit where credit is due for reporters camped out in razor-wire protected compounds in one of the scariest places on earth right now, just so that we can know what's going on in our world. If the news wasn't overwhelmed with it--that would be sickening. That would be serious evidence that human compassion has dwindled to extend only as far as the contestants on American Idol. Ugh.

Anyway, sorry to start Friday morning with something so depressing. The sun is out and it's warm here again and life is good but the thought of everything going on there is completely overwhelming. NPR has a great list of places you can donate to, we chose Doctors without Borders but I know Yele has been doing some good things in the area for quite a while now. Anything is better than nothing.


Nikky said...

I just read an article, I think it was Rush Limbaugh that was telling people not to donate via the White House because it would just go to fund the Obama administration. I don't give a hoot what your politcal leanings are, but taking your totally irrational belief that the President is out to steal and lie and cheat just because you don't like him and telling people because of that belief not to help others in need? That's insane. I realize that political agendas frequently trump human life... but I just don't get it.

I wish I could do more than donate. My heart goes out to them, I can't even imagine living through something like that.

p jane said...

Amen. When the CNN on-location reporter almost lost it on air last night while being questioned by the perky in-studio chick...damn. He had been doing well--professional and genuine--but she asked him to answer a personal question, what had "touched" him most. He thought for a second before describing the scene maybe half an hour prior, of piles of bodies being moved 3 or 4 at a time by earthmovers into dumptrucks, and you could almost feel him crumbling. It was like hearing my grandfather describe liberating concentration camps in WWII--overwhelming and unreal and heartbreaking.

Theresa said...

I know how you're feeling. I felt guilty taking a shower this morning because I had water to shower in and the people of Haiti don't even have water to drink.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Sick of it? OMG I can't stop watching- causing me to be near (or in) tears most of the time. I was thinking this AM about reporters and how they must be literally camping, not bathing, and eating food they brought with them to give me 24 hour coverage. I whine when my grocery store is out of my favorite bread. How ridiculous!

Hippie at Heart said...

Excellent post, Ashely! I'm curious if you have any link suggestions for some good sites with more photography/less commentary of the earthquake.

Unknown said...'s Big Picture always has stunning photo journalism. I thought this Haiti 48 Hours Later photo series was pretty heartbreaking:

Human runner said...

"Also, if I hear anyone bitch about being sick of hearing about it (and I have already)--I will slap you in the face."

THANK YOU. Exactly. I feel the same way. It sickens me to think that some people want to just brush this aside and forget about it. I can't figure out how that is even possible.

There is a part of me that feels so sad and depressed about this that I don't even want to move.

miss. chief said...

YES! I know what you're saying. These people, I don't think, will ever be able to recover from that. Like...even years down the road. I don't imagine the infrastructure of the still-standing buildings were made to withstand that kind of shock. Nothing is safe....ugh. It's so terrible.

Melodie said...

It really is a sad situation, and I don't know how anyone can not sympathize with the plight of these poor people. While I was trying to decide who to donate through, I bought something on Ebay, and Paypal gave me an option of adding money to my transaction to be donated to Doctors Without Borders, so I started there.

I also put a note on my calendar to remind me to send more money in three months when everything that people are sending now has been used up but the general public has moved past what's happened there. I don't want to be one of those people who forgets about it and does nothing.

Former Fat Chick said...

Haitians I have met, both while living in the Dominican Rep and in Florida have been SO hard working, education driven, kind and friendly. Haiti was the first free black nation in the WORLD! They have a rich culture and a proud people. I am so sad that it took this horrific natural disaster to make the world take notice and start to help, they have been suffering SO LONG! I was watching CNN Espanol the day after (I was in Guatemala at the time) & the male reporter from Colombia lost it, he was sobbing about the dead children lying in the streets. I threw up.