Martin Luther King and Haitian ReliefMonday, January 18th, 2010
Today is a day honoring Martin Luther King. Alexander and I attend a church in San Francisco called Glide Memorial which is so much more than a church. It is a place of honoring God not only through completely awesome music and prayer but also through actually doing work for people in the community. Mostly the underserved and the disenfranchised. Alexander and I serve food for the some 5000 people who come for meals not only on the holidays but 3 times a day every day of the year.
I got a call today asking if I would be willing to go to Haiti to help with the crisis there. It was something that had already crossed my mind. They need so much, especially nurse, doctors and medical supplies. I also thought about my own skills and if I really would be able to do the kind of very difficult work that they need and if I had the emotional strength to see what I inevitably would. Although I have worked in both Central and South America on medical mission trips, i have never witnessed a tragedy of this magnitude.
Oddly, Alexander and I have been to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. On the first anniversary of Ray’s death ,when admittedly I was not of my right mind (although I am not sure what my right mind actually is), I decided Alexander and I would not be in the country. I literally took out a world map and closed my eyes and placed my finger on the map. Voila! There was Haiti.
I was at least smart enough to know that was not an especially good spot to go with a 5 year old so we spent most of our time on the coast of the Dominican Republic. Although the coast line is beautiful, the poverty is inescapable and the people are struggling. I talked with Alexander about the possibility of my going to help now and he was not at all for it. He expressed worry over the instability he had heard about that is going on there and that he was not willing to have me travel that far. I agreed but did say that there would come a time, after the tragic crisis happening right now was over, when they would need help in rebuilding their entire health care system and that women having babies might need my help. We decided we would talk about it again, when that time came.
When Katrina hit New Orleans I very much wanted to go and help. A close friend of mine and fellow nurse thought long and hard about going. Alexander was younger and being an only parent I did not feel I could leave him to do it. As he gets older, I would not only like to do more medical mission work but also to involve him in volunteer work both in this country and in others. He is growing up in such a privileged environment — I think it is important for all of us to realize that the larger world is nothing like ours and that we have skills and resources to share.
I encourage you to give generously to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It is the best way any of us can help.