Be the Cause

Tsunami Candle-lit Vigil

When Sonali started talking, I recalled how it all played out on the news. First we heard there was a tsunami, then we heard about hundreds being killed. A few reports later, the number became thousands… the number just kept growing so fast I don’t think any of us could do anything but feel empty and helpless. A few hours later we started getting pictures and video and more and more stories… Manuri, Ann, and Dustin touched us with individual stories that we could relate and multiply in our hearts. Surviors’ lives give us strength.

I remember my uncle’s family was visiting Sri Lanka when it happened and it took a few hours to find out that they were OK. One of my grandmother’s distant cousins’ families that ran a convelacent home lost all of their patients. They were also separated from their young daughters for a couple days. I had the same feeling as when some terrorist attack happens or a new war starts up somewhere. But, like Sonali’s poems says, there was nobody to blame. It was a historical event that we will never forget. Staying connected to the pain and suffering that happened is the hard part.

 

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Magic

Ever since landing safe and sound in Quito on Saturday we have been busy.  We helped Barney (yes the real purple dinosaur) hand out Christmas gifts to 300 children in the north part of the city on Sunday – what an experience!  Children waited in line for over an hour for a mere bag of candy and (what we would consider a cheap) toy.  The thing that struck many of us in working with those children was the care and concern so many of them demonstrated for their smaller siblings (hermanas y hermanos).  Six and seven year olds were caring for infants and toddlers, holding their hands, ensuring that they participated and recieved attention.  The other very sad part was the number of children left out, banging on the doors, trying to get in.  The Foundation only had a specific number of gifts to distribute and had handed out certificates the previous week to most needy families for admittance; however, I am hard pressed to distinguish levels of need in this deprived country.  We have learned a lot about the corruption and graft that prevent so much good from reaching these people.  There are many both within the country and outside who struggle to get goods and services to these families, but are thwarted by the need to pay bribes and the endless stalling that customs puts them through.

Yesterday we travelled 3-4 hours through the Andes to reach another major city called Santo Domingo.  We would drive for miles along winding mountain roads only to happen upon a peice of plastic suspended from a stick that was sheltering a mother and her children.  Nothing around for miles and miles and it was desperately cold – what were they doing out there in the middle of nowhere with nothing?, we wondered as we sped past, safe and warm in our chaffeured van.   It feels as if you could never do enough and it´s so hard to see so many that you just don´t have the resources or time to help.

When I think about my life back in the states it seems so unreal compared to this – like a giant plastic bubble floating in pink clouds of cotton candy.  It has really hit home to me why people like Eveny give up so much and work so hard to come to the United States, and why they continue working so hard once they´ve gained residency.  It would seem as if you were granted this phenomenal chance that millions and millions of other people will never get to have, no matter how hard to they work or try.  No matter how hard things may seem to be for any of us living in California, remember always how much we have and that there is so much available for us to give and share.

 

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