I’ve been told that I have a bleeding heart. Overpassionate about everything. That I love and hate and feel with every fiber of my being. That I am a weepy mess, too soft to be taken seriously. That I shouldn’t let my heart break every time I see something sad. Yes, it’s sad. Yes, it’s horrible. But sometimes, you can’t do anything about it, sometimes things happen. You have to focus on right here, right now. Graduate first. Be stronger. You can’t help everyone.
And maybe that is what hurts the most, the feeling of powerlessness. I want to do something important, something big. Something lasting.
Maybe with this week’s earthquake in Haiti something else has been triggered in me. Working with CARE, researching the work already existing in Haiti and helping write grants to do more, it is more resounding just how much will be lost. How many gains CARE Haiti has made that have been shaken from the map, crushed beneath falling buildings. Recognizing the depth of the loss of Victoria DeLong, Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince to the Foreign Service family. Reading about Haiti in the (fabulous) book Emergency Sex, preparing to read Mountains Beyond Mountains. Watching Rainn Wilson’s video-blogs from his trip to Port-au-Prince with Planting Peace. Reading Foreign Policy’s brilliant photoessay on Port-au-Prince.
For those that don’t know me, I hate crying, almost more than everything. I don’t cry at movies, and I hate crying when I’m sad or angry – it’s embarrassing. Me crying is not a pretty sight – I get all red and uncontrollable and it’s exhausting. I’m just not a good crier. But I sat in class this morning, tearing up over the New York Times. Leaving newsprint-smudges on my face and, I’m sure, terrifying the small freshman sitting near me. Knowing, without a doubt, that whatever I end up doing, it needs to be helping others. I think that this week, this horrible catastrophe, has shown me that more than anything. That where I belong is in the middle of a challenge, part of a determined group of people trying to inspire change, provide opportunity, and improve the world, even if it is for a single person. My passion is for helping others.
So say what you will about the softness of my heart, the overabundance of my passion. At least I know what I am passionate about, and that is the first small step towards doing something big. And sometimes, even doing something small is incredible important. Please help Haiti.
— There are a lot of organizations that are involved in Haiti’s relief efforts, these are links to ones that I have worked with and have mentioned in this blog. Before giving to any charity, make sure that it is transparent, accountable, sustainable, and responsible in its work. —
- The American Red Cross. You can also send an SMS Text saying HAITI to 90999 for a $10 donation (deducted from your phone bill).
- CARE collaborating with several other Atlanta area NGOs at AtlantaCAREs
- InterAction, a conglomerate of American Aid Organizations, and their Earthquake Crisis Relief Center – it will link you to over 50 different relief projects to support.
- Partners in Health – www.standwithhaiti.org