Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I can’t think of two places on earth that are more different than Aspen, Colo., and Port au Prince, Haiti.
We are mostly white, they are black. We live in the snow, they swelter in the heat. We are rich, they are oh-so-so poor. And now while we pray for snow, they pray for water, for the lives of loved ones, for a place to get out of the scorching sun.
This past Tuesday evening when I first heard the horrendous news that there had been an earthquake in Haiti with unprecedented destruction, I asked myself, could there be a worse place on Earth for such a disaster to happen? The poverty, the lack of infrastructure, the isolation, it all conspires to making Haiti the least prepared place on the planet to cope with such a cruel event.
My experience with Haiti is limited to conversations with a few New York City taxi cab drivers about the days of the brutal Tonton Macoutes during the reign of Baby Doc, admiring the stunning and yet other-worldly photographs taken by Aspen local Barbara Bussell on her frequent forays to the interior of the country, and appreciating the generosity of the Krabachers, who have been very much involved in changing lives through their Mercy and Sharing Foundation. To me, it always seemed to be such a foreboding place.
And now the news reports are constant. The suffering of the people is almost palpable to those of us who see the images on our computer screens and the newspapers. Yet it seems we are hopeless to do much more than make a donation.
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the quake struck, Bill Clinton was interviewed on NPR. He is currently the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti and, as such, had a close working relationship with many of those killed at the UN Mission in Port Au Prince. While obviously devastated by the loss of life, both amongst his colleagues and the citizens of Haiti, he instantly began to talk of the good that could come from this catastrophe. His argument was that world attention and resources could, for the first time, truly impact the lives of the people there.
Regardless of your feelings about our ex-president, the message was a positive one. It was a message of hope that was the first inspirational words uttered about the future of Haiti.
Good thoughts for all in Haiti. If you wish to help, donations can be made to the Mercy and Sharing Foundation at http://www.haitichildren.com/donation. You can also donate by texting the word “HAITI” to the number 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold amounts of suffering and disruption, and we’ll probably tell those stories for the rest of our lives.