Happy Superbowl… I think it’s today? Who am I kidding, I don’t even know who’s playing!
Made another food drop yesterday. Six bags of rice – to a tent community that has seen little to no support. There were only four of us so we had to be smart. You absolutely can not just rock up and start passing stuff out at random. The plan was to 1 – follow up a lead we had for a particular representative that the community would listen to, 2 – give him the bags as quickly as possible, and 3 – get out. We found him, and though his trustworthiness was questionable, we stuck to the plan.
Later I took a walk with a couple UN reps down into the tent city just below our camp. It’s population has grown almost 20k since my last trip down here… which has only been one week! The entire camp is pushing 50k now. There is even a bit of commerce starting to develop. There are tents where people can buy snacks, or get their hair cut, or nails done. I even think I saw some sort of a red light district made from a special grouping of tents … which, if I’m right, is an incredibly heavy concept.
The main topic of conversation between all of us was – what are all the people going to do when it starts to rain? This particular camp is located along a hillside, with clusters of encampments in a gulley below. Rainy season starts in a month or so. Makeshift tents held up by sticks and separated, mostly by thin bed sheets – the issue is not only sanitation, but the high possibility of all the tents simply washing away. There has to be a solution … I am just unable to think of one. I do have faith that people who specialize in stuff like this are working tirelessly to help remedy this intense situation.
There’s just so much devastation … It really is hard to feel like you’re making a dent. Over the past two days I’ve been all over the city, and even in the bordering provinces. It doesn’t matter what street we walk down, they’re all thrashed. I keep hoping to turn down just one alley and find some unaffected pocket, but haven’t yet. If I sound a bit somber it’s probably more exhaustion than anything.
Here’s the deal – I’ve said since the beginning that it has been real hard to ever feel satisfied with our efforts, simply because of the numbers. For example, we may save two lives, but that’s instantly overshadowed by all the ones in front of us that we couldn’t help. But then today I had some new perspective creep in – How much do I cherish my life? How much do each of us value our individual lives? A LOT!! Right? Most people I know won’t argue with that. So if we each represent just a single life, then saving even a few lives starts to feel a lot more significant. I keep reminding myself of this … I have to.
Much love! — Jon Rose