Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanes, Worlds Apart

    The distance between Haiti and the United States is only 681 miles.  When it comes to experiencing a hurricane, however, the distance might as well be 681 million miles.  We are worlds apart.  Just look below:

     To prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irene in Virginia this week, I brought in the chairs from the deck and front porch so they wouldn't be blown away.

Jamila, looking a bit possessed on a deck chair

     To prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Tomas in Haiti nine months ago, people tied down the sides of their homes so they wouldn't be blown away.

     To be safe, I filled the bathtub with water.

     To be safe, thousands of Haitian filled their arms with their few possessions and fled their homes.

     During Hurricane Irene, I spent my time safely inside, alternating between the Weather Channel and some good movies on Netflix.

     During Hurricane Tomas, many Haitians spent their time in search of safety.

     After Hurricane Irene, I went outside my home to inspect the damage.

a twig blown into the yard by Irene

a tomato plant, bent slightly by Irene

     After Hurricane Tomas, Haitians went outside their homes to inspect the damage too.

     After Hurricane Irene, I wondered if the Farmers' Market would be open and if the grass was too wet to mow. 

     After Hurricane Tomas, Haitians wondered if there would be mudslides and flooding, and if there would be a larger outbreak of cholera!

     I know that I was very fortunate when it came to Hurricane Irene and sadly, others across the United States were not.  The damages and loss will undoubtedly be in the billions of dollars.  The country, however, will rebuild from these losses because we have the infrastructure, resources, and organizations necessary to do so.  Americans affected by Hurricane Irene won't be living in tents. 

     Haiti can't say the same.  Nine months after Hurricane Tomas and more than 18 months after a devastating earthquake, over 600,000 people still live in substandard housing. 

     Please help me bridge the distance between Haiti and the U.S. by donating to my upcoming Habitat for Humanity in Leogane, Haiti. 

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