Monday, 18 January 2010

Bloggers for Haiti

This past weekend has been a very stressful one. We have put our house up for sale and we are in the middle of negotiations for buying a new one. Everyone knows that buying and selling a house is one of the most stressful things that you can do in life, along with getting married and a death in the family. Offers have been going back and forth, offers have come and gone. One minute it looks as though we will be the proud owners of two houses (and two mortgages) and then the next minute it looks as though we will be on the street with no house to call our own. We have spent the weekend by the phone, spent the nights tossing and turning wondering what the agent will say next time she calls. I will the phone to ring so that I can know what is happening, but at the same time I dread hearing its shrill tones echoing through the house. I wander around the house, picking up pieces of cat, tutting when Mr. DBM spills his coffee on the carpet, tweaking the towels so that they are “just right”. Things are still very much in the air, the offer on our home has just been withdrawn and we are still waiting to hear back on the offer that we have presented on the house that we want to buy.

Today has not started well either. Last night high winds tore through the Lower Mainland. Now Mr. DBM has to deal with a commute where roads are closed due to fallen trees and major intersections are clogged with traffic due to non-functioning traffic lights. I am walking around the house with a lantern as the power keeps cutting out. Every time it comes back on, phones beep, the fax machine whirrs and trills and the smoke detectors wail. One cat is hiding under the bed and the other is demanding that I fix the weather so that she can go out to terrorize the local rodent and avian populations. I have given up resetting all the clocks and the house is now filled with strobeing lights of red and green, all telling me that it is 12 o’flashing clock. I am writing this on my laptop, since at least it is independent of the main power supply and does not keep shutting down. I suspect that this might be the fastest that I have ever written a blog post, since I have to get it done before the battery runs down.

But let’s start getting realistic here, let’s start putting things into perspective. At least I have:

  • a home to sell, to keep clean and tidy, with a warm, comfy bed in which to try to sleep.
  • the option of buying a new house.
  • electricity to lose.
  • a husband to share my miniscule trials and tribulations.
  • food to eat and water to drink.
  • my life.

At least when I hear wailing, it is the sound of my fire alarm and not the wailing of a woman who has lost her child, lost her husband, lost everything. The shrill tones of my phone and the trills of my fax machine are not the cries, sobs, moans or last wheezing gasps of a poor soul trapped beneath the rubble of a collapsed building. The blackness of my house is but a momentary lapse in my electricity supply, it is not due to tons of rubble that now entomb me leaving me with little hope of ever seeing light again.

We sit here in our safe, secure houses, with all our material possessions around us, spoiling our pets with treats and worrying about getting a few tangles out of their fur. Now, I am not saying that we should feel guilty about this, I don’t think that we should, but we can put our trials and tribulations into perspective. Nothing that I have experienced has ever been as stressful as a tsunami or a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. I have never lost everything, I have never lost everyone that I love, I have never lost hope.

What can we do to help the people of Haiti? Sitting in front of the TV and weeping along with them is not going to help. Sympathising with their plight is not going to help. Travelling to Haiti with a couple of blankets and a box of Cheerios is not going to help. The best thing that we can do for them is give money. Give money to charities that do know how to help, that can provide these people with some of the essentials that they need so desperately in a timely manner. So, I am joining in with the Bloggers for Haiti, as seen on blogs such as EnglishMum and Baino’s Banter. EnglishMum is asking for donations for ShelterBox, a charity that sends aid in the form of survival boxes for victims of such terrible natural disasters. You can go to their website to see what you are contributing to if you chose to donate to this charity. There are, of course, many other worthy charities that are making a difference in Haiti, such as The Red Cross or Unicef. I don’t care who you give your money to, I don’t care how much you give, just give what you can. I just heard on the news of a five year old boy giving his $10 pocket money to a Haitian relief fund (as to why any five year old needs $10 in pocket money is an entirely different post), surely you can’t be outdone by a five year old, can you?

Oh, and one more thing – Zellers, you should be ashamed of yourself. While I understand that returning Canadians have been through a traumatic experience, they are out of Haiti, they have homes to return to that are full of clothes, food and all manner of creature comforts and luxuries. Their “struggle to deal with the ordeal has just begun” is nothing like the struggle being endured by Haitians right now. If you want to donate $200 to one person, donate to a person that is still alive in Haiti, that desperately needs all the help that they can get, that won’t be back home in a few more hours.


English Mum said...

You made me cry. This is an incredible piece of writing. Thanks for putting so much into perspective xx

Baino said...

Great to have you on board DBM. I agree, I don't really care what charity people give to, every bit helps. And no matter what stresses we face, nothing compares to having lost everything. The ShelterBox idea has spread to Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, New Zealand, Ireland, the US. . . all in the space of a couple of days. Fantastic this bloggy business isn't it?

Coastal Aussie said...

Such evocative words. And as English Mum said, wonderful perspective. xx

Cortes said...

Well said DBM. I sometimes hesitate to donate to these causes, not because they are unworthy, but because we so often hear about the high admin costs some charities charge against every dollar they receive. So little seems to get to the people who need it most. So I was very pleased to see the Canadian Red Cross on TV saying they pass on 95 cents of every dollar received, and so far they have received about $26 million from Canadians. They have a little bit more now, as that is where my donation has gone. We can all help in our own way.

Don't Bug Me! said...

EM: Sorry about that - I also seem to be doing it a lot lately i.e pretty much everytime I turn the TV on or listen to the radio.

Baino: At last, my blog is being useful. OK, so I don't have many readers, but every little helps.

CA: No matter what we do, it all seems so little and so futile. But it all adds up and hopefully it will help lessen the pain for at least some people.

Cortes: I quite agree - I was very hesitant to even write this blog, but EM is right, we have to at least try to help. I too gave to The Red Cross, mainly because it is a highly regarded charity who know how to help people in the best way that they can. Also, because I gave to the Canadian Red Cross, I know that Mr. Harper recognises this as a registered charity here in Canada and so our donations will be matched by our government. Well, at least they are doing something right, for once. Still, I hope that he realises that it is our money that he is giving away and not the Conservatives!

Anya said...

Very touching words
you can write very well !!!!

(I wish you succes with your house!

Don't Bug Me! said...

Thank you Anya.

Kate said...

At the risk of (uncharacteristically) sounding pessimistic, in the future we are likely to experience more extreme weather, and earthquakes... it's that ol' global climate change....
Eat less meat. Get on your bike. turn down the heat and put on a sweater. etc.

Don't Bug Me! said...

Katherine: Do I have to get on my bike? Not that I want to whinge or anything, but I hate riding a bike. The extra sweater and eating less meat, that I can do, but the bike......

Kate said...

Well, perhaps, seeing as you metaphorically 'Got on your bike' for this post ie you fervently made a stand, you are let off.

You'll have to walk, then :o)

Don't Bug Me! said...

Katherine: Walking I can do!