Longtime readers will remember that my older son was called by the Mormon Church to be a missionary in Haiti. He was already fluent in French, so picking up Haitian Creole came easily; it was a simplified and altered slaves’ French.
The country went up in chaos while he was in the language training center before shipping out, and all Americans were asked to evacuate. The Church sent him to southern Florida instead.
When all those hurricanes swept through there, one right after another that really bad year, the Church told the missionaries, the Red Cross needs you more than we do right now–go volunteer at the shelters.
Which is how, when he and his missionary companion walked in and asked what they could do to help, he was pulled aside and asked to go talk to that Haitian woman sitting quietly alone over there.Â Standard procedure was to ask each person their situation and needs as they came in, but she didn’t speak English; she looked okay to them. But please just go make sure for us.
When she found someone who spoke her language!Â I have a mechanical heart valve, I don’t have my meds, I’ve missed my doctor’s appointment, I have a son brain-damaged by sickle cell anemia and I can’t control him in this strange environment…!
He was writing things down in English as she spoke while quickly letting it be known she needed help, stat.Â He described it to me as, she had, by the time he found her there, simply given up. “She was in a world of hurt, Mom.”
He got taken aside later and was told he’d saved her life.Â He emailed home, saying, Mom, if I never do anything else here, I now know why I needed to have this calling and learn this language and come here at this time.
…I talked to him yesterday.
People whom he knows and cares deeply about have not been able to make any contact yet with people they love back home.Â It is very hard.
A word about Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres:Â I made a donation a few years ago. (#2 there shows where to donate directly; I’m giving this first link for any knitters who want to be included in the Knitters Without Borders totals, just to show what knitters are made of.Â Thank you Stephanie!, who raised over $600,000 for them even before this week’s earthquake in Haiti.)
But I didn’t like MSF’s spending the least money asking for more.Â I found a way around that: I set up an automatic monthly payment. They know I have decided to give. They know how much.Â It is not restricted to any one purpose, but rather, they are free to put it to use wherever the need is greatest.Â As the wife of a Red Cross emergency services volunteer, I know how much that frees them to simply go do their work.
With that, they send the occasional email to let me know what they’re doing in the world and how important it is.
Like I could forget.
We can’t all be there in Haiti in person to help, but we can send the message that we would never let them be alone in their hurt if we can possibly help it.Â It is a small world, and they and we are in it together.
I added to that amount yesterday.Â Won’t you all join me.
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