Friday, January 15, 2010
The recent earthquake in Haiti taught several lessons to the rest of the world - at least to those people who paid attention. One very important lesson was a reminder that it takes time for help to arrive after a disaster. Family members and neighbors need to care for and help each other. A young woman by the name of Christa Brelsford who grew up in Alaska and attends Arizona State University, her brother, and some friends were doing some volunteer work in Haiti when the earthquake struck. They were part of an eleven-day volunteer program to teach literacy to adults and children. When the building where they worked began to fall, they ran down the steps to get out. On the way she slipped, fell and was soon buried under the rubble. She said that when she realized that her leg was trapped, she remembered the earthquake drills at school in Alaska and the importance of protecting her head. The brother and friends spent nearly an hour and a half digging her out of the rubble of the cement building. She was one of eleven patients flown from Haiti to Miami where her right leg was amputated below the knee. A second lesson was a reminder to count our blessings no matter what our situation. Even though Brelsford lost her lower leg, she was very grateful for life itself as well as for her brother,their friends, and medical help. A third important lesson was a reminder of the need for personal preparation. We need to remember that the time to prepare is prior to the event! We also need to remember that we need to prepare physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally simply because none of us know what is in our future. People in Haiti became desperate for medical supplies, water and food. Their homes and everything in them were destroyed. Then the evil element of society came out - I've heard that it takes about 72 hours after a big disaster before the looting, etc. begins. In Haiti, someone yelled that a tsunami was coming and to drop everything and run. There was no water coming, but all the belongings left behind were ripe for the picking of those who gave the false warning. These are just three of the lessons taught by this recent earthquake. As Alaskans we know that we could be hit by an earthquake at any time but we could be in the snow and cold. Our hearts and funds go out to the people of Haiti.