What if 300,000 people had suddenly been wiped out by a natural disaster here in the U.S., and countless more (say, over a million) been rendered homeless? What if there was no infrastructure for treating those with serious medical needs, or for rebuilding the affected communities? What if six months later many of the victims’ bodies were still buried under the rubble?
In my first post, I proclaimed that “survival is good, but inspired living is better.” While I believe this to be the case, the fact is that there are many, many people around the world for whom survival is the first and only real priority. In order for a human being to thrive, s/he typically must first have all of the basic survival needs met: physical health and access to quality medical care, clean drinking water, food, shelter, and a safe living environment.
For the survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, 2010, survival is still a precarious day-to-day struggle. Six months after the natural disaster hit, countless Haitians are still displaced and living in conditions most of us here in the U.S. would find appalling and unimaginable.
To be sure, there has been an outpouring of empathy, as well as donation dollars, from those in the U.S. and around the globe. Yet, the pressing need for basic things like medical supplies and housing for the Haitian people is still substantial.
With such overwhelming need, what can any of us do from afar to help the people of Haiti?
To find out how Sean Penn answered this question for himself, check out this stunning interview of him conducted by Amy Goodman at the site of a tent camp he is currently managing in Pétionville, just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Thank you, Sean Penn, for your inspiring example of courage, empathy, generosity, and commitment.
To learn more about the J/P Haitian Relief Organization or to make a donation, please click here.
“Now if a man tried
To take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man’s life could be worth
Well I wonder what would happen to this world” – Harry Chapin