Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a small detour

I know that it has been a while since I've blogged but the last few months have been either 1) extremely boring or 2) extremely busy so I haven't had much to say. However, with the massive earthquake that just hit Haiti, I feel compelled to write. While I'm usually lighthearted, I'm going to take a small detour from the pop culture commentary and ridiculous ramblings to discuss something near and dear to my heart.

While some people reading this blog know me personally, those who do not may not know that I'm half-Haitian. While I have quite the mix (full breakdown: 1/2 Haitian, 1/4 Middle Eastern, 1/8 Irish, 1/8 German, my Haitian side is the part that I know the most about and feel the strongest connection to. My mother was born and raised in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was in her 20s. A lot of my family located in the United States and Canada were born in Haiti as well.

More importantly, my grandmother and several other relatives still live in Haiti.

Yesterday I sat on my couch shocked as the news unfolded about the earthquake that took place. I immediately called my mother to ask if she was able to get through to any of my family. As of right now, we're still unable to get through. Landlines, cell phones, texts...nothing. The phone lines to the country, especially my grandmother's town, have never been consistent and given the current situation, I have no idea when we'll hear anything. My entire family is sitting by their phones hoping to hear something, anything. I've turned CNN on and off all day, not being able to watch the news for more than 10 or so minutes without crying and feeling physically ill. As a country that has already suffered so much, I can't even begin to imagine what is going on over there. As a result of the political and social conflict that is happening over there, I've never been able to visit the country except for the 20 minutes I was able to cross the border from the Dominican Republic to Haiti while accompanied by UN officials. While people know Haiti only as an extremely poor country, the stories I've heard from family paint a picture of culture, excitement, and beauty. It has always been my dream to visit the country and take it all in. As I look at the pictures on TV, I'm devastated.

The situation has made me take a huge step back and think about everything. I've realized that I get so wrapped up in the most trivial things that I really don't take a step back once in a while to think about what's important. I think it's something we're all guilty of. So while I will continue read about celebrity gossip and watch "Jersey Shore", I think it's important that we all take little moments for ourselves to reflect about the important things in life and be thankful.

I'm sure most of you have seen the various ways you can help. Of course the American Red Cross and UNICEF and various other organizations are taking donations. But, many of you are like me and are poor students are unemployed law school graduates with insane debt who can barely afford to pay rent. For those of you like me, you can still help without having to dig crazy deep into your pockets:

Wyclef Jean's organization "Yele Haiti" has made is super easy to donate. If you text "Yele" to 501501, a $5 donation will be charged to your cell phone for earthquake relief. $5 is less than the fun drinks I enjoy at a bar. It seems small but the numbers add up. Read Here to See Other Ways You Can Help

And finally, I ask that you keep my family and the people in Haiti in your thoughts. I will update you guys as I hear info.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...


Jenn said...

oh, no! i hope you hear some word from your family soon. and i heard about the "yele" text yesterday and donated right away. i hope everything turns out ok!

Shaina said...

I am heartbroken about Haiti...and as someone who feels so strongly without any ties to the country, I can't imagine how you must be feeling right now. I am thinking about you, your family, and everyone else in Haiti right now. My husband traveled to Port-au-Prince in 2008 with the First Lady, and he just could not believe how poverty-stricken the area is. That such a terrible thing happened to such a vulnerable's just heartbreaking.

Carissa said...

I can't imagine what you must be going through, wondering if your family in Haiti is ok and seeing the destruction of a country so near and dear to you. I hope you hear from them soon.

it is very easy to get wrapped up in trivial things or our own problems. I am guilty of doing that this week. I've been so "busy" that I haven't stopped to think about Haiti much until yesterday... and until this post. It is heartbreaking what has happened, and seeing the pictures on the news, the children's faces, you can't not be touched.

my only "experience" with Haiti was actually interviewing Wyclef Jean a few years ago about his organization, Yele Haiti. it is an amazing organization and when I googled it yesterday I saw what Wyclef is doing to help. in these situations where there is so much devastation and you are a poor 20-something, you can feel helpless. but even the smallest donation helps. thanks for reminding me.

and again, I hope you hear good news from your family soon.


Carissa said...

this is a random post to leave this comment on but just wanted to pop over and say I gave you an award on my blog this week! :) yay! hope you're doing well...