By Andrew Atallah ’10
The first time I ever heard of Haiti was back in 2008 in Mr. JP Jarcyzk’s Gospels in Actions class.
As part of the curriculum we read Tracy Kidder’s “Mountain Beyond Mountains,” which highlighted the poverty and economic inequality of Haiti.
It discussed the work of Dr. Paul Farmer, who was trying to give Haitians basic medical supplies to improve their quality of life.
At the time, it was shocking to read about such an impoverished country, especially because I had never heard of it before.
In the wake of the terrible earthquake that occurred in Haiti, it is only fitting that so many Americans, including the Brophy community, are doing so much to donate to the Haitian relief fund and help them get back on their feet.
It is outstanding to see how quickly Brophy has mobilized in the form of the vigil, donations and lunchtime talks.
But the reality is Haiti needed our help years ago.
Unfortunately, there are many other countries in need of humanitarian aid as well, but that haven’t been rocked by horrific natural disasters.
These countries will go without our help despite their own impoverished conditions.
Why must a natural disaster precipitate nation-wide or even school-wide awareness of a community in need?
Think about it, Haiti is in the same continent as the United States and prior to the earthquake most people could not have pointed to it on a map.
As a part of a globally conscious community, I ask the student body to make themselves aware of countries all over the world that need their help.
Take advantage of the awareness that the Haiti disaster has provided and continue to donate to international charities such as Oxfam, The Red Cross or Catholic Relief Services.
Countries like Malawi, East Timor and Papua New Guinea need our help.
Don’t let a natural disaster make the difference for whether you care about that community.
If we are truly committed to doing justice, which I believe we are, then there is a lot more we can be doing to help those in need.
As a community of people committed to social justice there is more to be done than simply donating money.
“There is no ‘ready fix’ to Haiti, but there is a long term solution: it is people like me who are committed to a lifetime, a vocation of service to others. That is the real solution,” according to the prayer guide for the vigil distributed by the Office of Faith and Justice.
Please continue to help the millions of Haitians in need and help Haiti get back on their feet.
It is important to remember and reach out to other nations in need who may not have felt an earthquake, but have certainly been shaken by poverty.