The difference between Galveston and Haiti


I think I speak for all of Galveston when I say that we’ve had flashbacks this week… flashbacks to September 13, 2008 and the vast media coverage that brought worldwide attention to us as Ike hit and just as quickly moved away, taking the media with it to cover the sudden and apparently unexpected financial crisis that, frankly, escaped our attention entirely.

Because when you’re in crisis, other people’s crises don’t matter all that much, especially when they’re about something as imaginary as Wall Street money.

And we worried and fretted and bemoaned the fact that we’d been forgotten. Then we pulled up our bootstraps, filled our SUVs with gallons and gallons of bleach and bottled water, put on some good, comfortable, closed-toe shoes and pants with elastic waistbands, and went to work. Here’s what I wrote about it two weeks after the storm: The Journey to Now

That’s the difference between Galveston after Ike and Haiti after the earthquake. Resources — internal and external. And expectations. For all the complaints we righteously had about FEMA and insurance companies and local government and everything else under the sun, we had shelter — even the poorest among us — and food, and the ability to get up every day and work to put our lives back together. We HAD lives to put back together, and the expectation that we could.

And so we have.

Our challenge now is how to put into practice what we learned from Ike. How do we help in meaningful ways and keep on helping until we’re not needed anymore?

Please share your ideas here.

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Copyright © 2010 Alice Melott

This essay and others can also be read by joining http://www.facebook.com/alicethewriter.

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  1. #1 by Alex on January 18, 2010 - 2:46 pm

    I am all for people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, what I am concerned about is those people that don’t have bootstraps.

    • #2 by amelott on January 18, 2010 - 2:47 pm

      That’s why we can’t forget them!

  2. #3 by jackie on January 18, 2010 - 10:44 pm

    Thanks for your postings full of heart. How do we help? for now- donate and pray. Then do it all over again tomorrow, or next week or next month. One place I supported was Doctors without Borders. Other needs may be greater later.

  3. #4 by Suzanne on January 19, 2010 - 9:58 am

    We also donated to Doctors Without Borders, a group that seems to have no other agenda than bringing help to places where it’s needed most. Thanks, Alice, for your good posts and encouraging us all to keep working together.

  4. #5 by Charla on March 20, 2010 - 11:44 pm

    Sorry Alice, but I know many people who are still homeless from Ike to this day, March 20, 2010. We have been forgotten. I still have not recovered. It’s been the hardest time of my entire life. I still cry, but noone hears.

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