Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Use am I?

Here's a post I wrote back in 2008 while Haiti was going through terrible destruction from a hurricane. I expressed then that I am not much good in an emergency because that's just not what my skills are. Here's an excerpt:

This is something I think about a lot. I mean, what good am I in an emergency? I can just hear it now: "Ah, someone with a literature degree! Two literature degrees, you say! Just what we need right now in the middle of this crisis, in this country with a 50% literacy rate! Hurry over here, there's a text to be explicated! What a relief to have an expert on hand!"

Several have reminded me that while I am not a medical person and am not even in Haiti doing interpreting or other things I could do (and so wishing I could be helping), this is a long-term project we are dealing with here. Haiti is going to need help for a long time, and there are going to be kids to be taught and a new normal to be found. Right now my own children need me to keep life stable for them as much as I can.

The day we left Haiti, I was talking about this with the two other teachers who flew out with us and we were suggesting various skills we had that were completely useless at that moment - like helping kids with phonics, diagramming sentences, recommending a good novel. Right after the conversation a young girl with the work team being evacuated with us turned around and asked me what a word meant - she was reading what looked to be a school library copy of Ibsen's A Doll's House. I supplied a definition and had to laugh. See? You need vocabulary help - I'm there for you!

I apologize if this post seems trivial, but I want to encourage people who are feeling helpless like I am - this is going to be going on for a long time. There will be all kinds of help needed. Right now you can give cash. Later, maybe you can go and there will be work for all kinds of people.

I know many people have more questions about how we got out of Haiti and I am going to be posting on that. I am trying to get my thoughts in order and adjust to the new life I suddenly have.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I can relate to feeling useless, particularly in regards to a very large, hurting world. Thank you for reminding me to be faithful in my little corner, having my little day of prayer meetings, helping the few teens I work with, guiding my daughter and working alongside my husband. God bless you in this time of unsettling separation!

kaenhu said...

Thank you for this. Most organizations want people with disaster training right now so it has been hard for me to find a team to go down with. But later, I will be going down to help. I just wish I didn't feel so useless right now. You'd think a medical degree would be useful in a time like this....