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The immense response to the Haitian earthquake over the past few months surprised me. Many celebrities, nonprofit and profit organization and other concerned individuals have raised funds and awareness for the poverty-stricken nation. The greatest soccer players in the world came together to play a charity game. All proceeds went to those suffering in Haiti.
The suffering in Haiti overwhelmed the news. It seemed everyone started selling t-shirts for Haiti or developing “walks” for Haiti. So many more people have become aware of the current condition of the devastated country. Yet how many know that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? How many know it was the poorest before the earthquake also?
Part of the reason for the intense suffering in Haiti falls to the country’s poverty already in existence before the earthquake. Towns like San Francisco, which sees many earthquakes, stand structurally prepared for earthquakes. A country like Haiti cannot afford to prepare for earthquakes like many developed cities in the United States and around the world. Of course, the country found itself immensely destroyed by the earthquake it encountered.
Furthermore, I wonder what will happen in six months after most have put the tragic earthquake out of their minds. Will the celebrities still be crying for Haiti? I doubt it. Perhaps a few will, but most people will have forgotten about the earthquake. I’m not trying to say I’m not impressed with the people who have raised funds for Haiti. I truly am. I thank God for all those individuals. They have helped save Haitian lives.
However, it makes me think how sad it is that it takes tragedy to makes us aware. Why can’t we listen when we hear how poor a country is until an immense tragedy becomes attached to it? It makes me wonder what that says about me, about us as a Church. It compels me not to wait for tragedy, for that paradigm shift.
It leads to search how I ignore problems in the world. If they’re not in the news, then they don’t exist, right? I pray that dedicated souls will stay the course in Haiti. God bless those missionaries and relief groups that were there before the quake and remain there today. We should pray for them as well as the Haitians.