Friday, March 26, 2010

Lest We Forget

It’s been just over 10 weeks since the massive earthquake devastated Haiti.  Many things have happened since then which have captured the attention of the media (an election in Iraq, an earthquake in Chili, the healthcare reform bill) all of which are important, but just because we aren’t hearing about Haiti every day doesn’t mean everything is ok there.


This story has captured me from the very beginning and I’m not quite sure why.  I don’t actually know anyone in Haiti, or anyone from Haiti.  I was at the gym the evening of January 12th when I first saw the story break on CNN.  I didn’t have headphones, so I was trying to figure out what was going on from the captions on screen and although I was just getting bits and pieces I remember thinking, “Oh no, this is really, really bad.”  Since that day I have been following the stories of several people who live and have lived in Haiti, learning more about the country and their culture and praying for them to be able to overcome the huge trial they have been dealt.

I think one of the reasons I’m captivated by Haiti is that Haiti was a mess before the earthquake.  The government was corrupt, their economy was basically non-existent and there were more than 300,000 orphans – yes BEFORE the earthquake.  Yet, it took a disaster of this magnitude to turn our attentions to the island nation.  I hope that now they will finally get the help they desperately need, but there is a lot to overcome.

One morning on the way to work a story by Debbie Elliott was played on NPR.  The story (which you can read or listen to here) was about a group of orphans in Haiti – teenage boys who lost their families in the earthquake and have been living in a park  ever since.  Social workers found the boys and promised to take them to an orphanage where they could return to their education and maybe some sort of normal life.  The social workers returned a few days later to tell the boys they were too old for the orphanage and instead offer them a tent in one of the camps in the city.    One of the boys had written a poem:

My name is Luckson
I'm sixteen years old
My mother and father's dead
I don't have no one to help me
I don't have nobody in haiti
My sister and my brother's dead
I'm sleep in the street
I don't have no one to take care me
Please lets me go with you
I need adoption.
Please help me.

I had to sit in my car and pull myself together before I could go into work. 

Of course Luckson will likely have to remain in Haiti despite the dozens of people who contacted NPR saying they would gladly adopt him, because the Hatian government (under pressure from UNICEF and other international organizations) has put a stop to international adoptions.  The folks at UNICEF believe it’s better for these children to be raised in overcrowded orphanages so that they are in their own country than to be taken to another country where they might have a chance with a loving family and a high quality education.  I hope you’ll read the whole article – I especially like the quote where the woman from UNICEF compares living in destitute poverty in Haiti to a lack of air conditioning.  Classy.

Another part of what makes the recovery so difficult in Haiti is the atmosphere of corruption they must overcome.  This blog post by Barbie, a PA from Alaska working in Haiti really brought that home to me.  She tells of being in a pick-up truck holding a dying child at the gates of the hospital where the guard tells them they cannot come in because the hospital is closed.  They can clearly see it is open but the man will not let them in until he sees that Barbie is white.  Had she been a Haitian the child probably would have died.

My heart has been truly touched by the people who have dropped everything and made sacrifices to help in Haiti.  Did you know Sean Penn has been in Haiti almost continuously since the earthquake?  He lives in a tent city there and runs a newly formed relief organization which gives food, water and medical care to the people.  But it’s not just high profile celebrities offering this kind of sacrifice, there are hundreds of regular people who have gone to Haiti hoping to ease some of the burden.  There is a part of my heart that wishes I was in a position in life that would allow me to help in that way, but I have responsibilities here that make it impossible. 

Instead all I can offer is my support.  A little bit of financial support (I recently chose to give to Heartline Ministries – a well established organization on the ground in Haiti able to help people  immediately with their needs), the support of my thoughts being with them, and a lot of prayers.  Prayers for Haiti are offered in our home every day.  If they didn’t  come from me they would still come from Brad who has prayed for the people in Haiti each time he has prayed since I told him about the earthquake.  He prays that “the people in Haiti will be healthy and strong and have the things they need to build their homes.”  He never, ever seems to forget. 

I hope none of us do.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Bit Lost

On Saturday the missionaries from our church stopped by to talk to Joe and I for a few minutes.  Lucy was napping and Brad was running around with a balloon and making a lot of noise.  I off-handedly told him to take the balloon downstairs, and he did.  It was much quieter and we spent about 15 minutes visiting with the missionaries.  After they left I needed to make a few phone calls and after one or two of them I realized that Brad was being a little too quiet.  I asked Joe if Brad had gone outside and he said he didn’t know, so I asked him to check.  I made another phone call assuming everything was fine but when I got off I realized that Joe was still looking for Brad.  Oh oh…

Our backyard is fenced in, so I’m pretty comfortable with letting the kids play outside.  Brad has never left the yard.  He knows better.

Immediately we started looking everywhere for him.  I ran through the house yelling his name while Joe went to talk to the next-door neighbors who had been working in the yard all afternoon.  They had not seen him.  I walked quickly around then block hollering “BRAD!” at the top of my lungs and asking anyone outside if they had seen him…they had not. 

At that point I started to get really mad.  For some reason I was not terribly worried.  I was pretty sure he had decided to walk to the park or the school and because Brad has no concept of the fact that he’s only 4 he probably  assumed it was fine.  I was mad that he had left the yard and that I would no longer be able to let him play out there by himself. 

I also kept praying over and over that he would be ok.

Lucy was awake at that point and Joe had her and agreed to stay close to the house while I hopped in the car and drove to the park and the school.  I figured I would come across him on the way, but I didn’t.  I got out of the car to talk to the people who lived right next to the school and ask them to keep an eye out and at that moment I started to get a little panicked.  He wasn’t in any of the places I expected and I didn’t know where else to look.  I was just starting to think we actually needed to call the police when my cell phone rang.  It was Joe saying he had found Brad.

Joe had gone across the street to ask the neighbors and the neighbor said to Joe like four times “Have you checked ALL over the house?”  Finally Joe agreed to come back and check the house again and when he did he found Brad in a CLOSET in the BASEMENT, ASLEEP under a sleeping bag.  He was completely out and did not hear us calling his name.  He didn’t even know we were looking for him or that anything was wrong.

I was so happy to see him and I couldn’t even get mad because he hadn’t done anything wrong.  He hadn’t even gone outside without asking.  He had taken his balloon and gone downstairs like I had asked.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in all of this…I’ll try waxing philosophical and I’ll let you know if I come up with anything good.  For now I’m just glad he’s ok.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Go Dino!

Tonight in the car with Brad we somehow started talking about smoking and how it was bad for you. I told him I didn’t ever want him to smoke cigarettes and he said, “Oh mom, I won’t”. Then I asked him what he would do if someone offered him a cigarette and in true Brad fashion he replied:

“I would ‘Go Dino’ on them!”

Only Brad would rely on transforming into a dinosaur to defend against peer pressure.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why you should close the lid

I like the lid of the toilet to be closed.

There are many reasons for this.  The main one is that it’s just gross to have to look at the toilet bowl.  Think about what goes in there…eeewww.

Joe thinks it’s a waste of time to close the lid when you’re just going to have to open it back up.  I scold him for leaving it open and he rolls his eyes at me.

This morning while I was still in lying in bed Lucy went into the bathroom where Joe had finished showering and was getting ready for the day.  The next thing I heard was a splash, followed by Lucy crying and Joe laughing.  Lucy had hopped up on the stool we keep in the bathroom and she intended to sit on the toilet and watch her daddy get ready, however Joe had left the lid up and the next thing Lucy knew she was sitting IN the toilet instead of on it.

I’m guessing there are other women out there who have had the unfortunate experience of going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and thinking they’re going to sit on the seat only to find that the seat has been left up and they’ve just dipped their bottom in the ice cold water.  It’s happened to me more than once. 

Just me?  Really?   Huh….