14 January 2010

jrtom: (Default)
I was thinking last night about appropriate actions to take regarding Haiti, and other places and people in varying degrees of need. My first inclination--airport nonfunctionality and local logistic problems notwithstanding--is to go there and try to help.

But the fact is that I don't think that, right now, I could help enough to pay for the cost of my plane ticket and other expenses. That is, the value added by me, personally, showing up in Haiti to help out is not a lot: I can't help to rewire their electricity or communications, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a civil engineer or even a skilled construction worker. In this context all I really have to offer is grunt labor and compassion, and I don't think that Haiti's really short on warm bodies right now. I can do a lot more good by giving money to Doctors Without Borders, or whatever organizations may be helping out with infrastructure reconstruction.

All that said, this feels like rationalizing. Hopefully it will feel less so after I donate some money.

EDIT: by request of [livejournal.com profile] dandelionteeth: I have not done my own research, but I have a couple of references to people and organizations that have done so, and I trust them:

--this is from a friend of mine that has done volunteer work in Haiti a few times over the last few years.
--this is from Google. (Which has already donated $1M itself, and will probably end up donating a lot more because they match charitable donations from its employees.)

Also, my wife donated some money on our behalf a few minutes after my original post...and hadn't seen this yet. I am simultaneously amused and proud.


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