Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti: message to young people

While this writing, as all of mine, are of course for all people, I am thinking of your special gifts and potential to serve, young people, as I know that you wish to do.

First, I am so proud at the outpouring of donations that I know many young people are leading in the appeal for funding to help mitigate and eventually rebuild from the disaster in Haiti. You are able to see in this, which I wanted to point out to you, that millions of you donating a little can rock the world. Many of your parents and teachers thought that "good deeds" require big bucks, you know, millionaires who build hospitals to have their name written on it. Notice, by the way, that St Jude in Tennessee is not named the "Danny Thomas" hospital. (Read the story of how Danny Thomas founded this great hospital in perfect humility and prayer.) Anyway, I wanted to point out the obvious to you, dear friends, because you are having your first chance to see how millions of you with a few dollars, Euros or whatever each can create an outflow of goodness that is based in modesty and collective anonymity!

But we are all frustrated at the usual problems with actually getting even a first response of aid at all, after four nights of this disaster, to hundreds of thousands of people. Young people, for some reason the older generations act like every time a disaster hit, they are seeing one for the first time. They come up with the same old bureaucratic processes, the same old infrastructure "barriers," the same old lack of creative logistics, the same old lack of organized grassroot responses. Young people, prepare to sweep that all away, if you all hope to survive, thrive and serve humanity and, of course, God.

As you watch the coverage (and I congratulate CNN for the most continual coverage, for it IS important, and it's NOT a problem "over there") use this as a case study to prepare yourselves for this same model of grassroots leadership that you are using in texting your donations in small but numerous components.

Look at the people and think about all these disasters. What is always lacking? The basics for people clawing by bare hands to get to buried neighbors. That is the first thing people in any disaster need. I mean, am I the only person to think, how hard would it be to airdrop gloves, pickaxes, car jacks, sledge hammers, crowbars, just even the basics to help until the heavy equipment gets there (if ever). Is that a "duh" or what? Do we not admire the strength and calmness of the Haitians who have suffered such a devastation, yet are digging with bare hands day after day? Am I the only Einstein of the obvious here? Could helicopters not have dropped bags of these types of tools collected from average citizens who are concerned, like you? I mean, sheesh, if I had been running this show I would have had every person in a city with a spare hammer or tool take it to a collection point and had it choppered there within hours. Many more people would have been saved if even ONLY that had been done!

So young people, study what you see and think about how, for example, many small collections delivered immediately by air drop in waves would have had immediate benefit and life saving grace.

Think of this in the waves of need. Drop the darn tools that the victims-who are their own first responders-need right away, not the "ideal" that arrives days later if ever. People do not live buried until "the right equipment" shows up.

Then once you have a working system of rapid targeted collection points for a specific need, continue the waves of small but numerous potent deliveries. So the second wave could be of water, food basics, but also lots of tubes of antibiotic cream. Imagine if all the young people in Miami, or Dallas, or any place bought a tube of antibiotic cream and took it to a place that bundled it into sacks of several hundred at a time and then choppers dropped those all over the quake area. I mean, again, I know I am Captain Obvious here, but am I really alone in seeing this? I've been thinking this for many years (say decades) and I wonder who really is asleep at the wheel of the Good Ship Logic Clue Phone.

The military (and bless their hearts) have the long term serious delivery mechanisms, but they are warehouse/pallets/cranes to unload/prepackaged assuming a certain disaster/needing all sorts of port or landing strip capabilities... they are simply too hide bound, too rigid and working on a bureaucratic model that, frankly, writes off as unsaveable many of the people who survive, but are trapped, wounded, deprived, the initial disaster. The government and military (AND THE AID AGENCIES, DO NOT KID YOURSELVES) simply do not use hive mind and Internets (you young people know what I mean) to get the needed stuff collected by many individual hands and flung out of choppers or ATV's by many individual hands within hours of the need. We need to start thinking, as we should always have thought, that those who survive the disaster are BLESSED and before the serious infrastructure gets there, we have energetic young people send waves of targeted deliveries of what is needed within hours of the need.

I mean, sheesh, how much effort would it take for young people in Brazil, the USA, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico... everywhere, to collect hundreds of boxes of retail antibiotic and bandages, throw them in knapsacks and have someone with access to air service drop it over there? Trust me, I would have had that done on day one (right after the tools, since we'd have tested how well and how many drop points we could identify with the first gloves and tools drop), and they would not have even had to call it the MaryMajor Good Samaritan ain't she wonderful air drop.

So while this is going on and all our hearts bleed for both the disaster and the many tragic missed opportunities, use this to observe and use logic, thinking about what you would need if you were in the situations we see so well covered today. Think about how you can study more about this, if for no other reason than to be well informed and ready if things happen in your own community. Learn how to use the tools, learn more about urban infrastructure, and observe how people with ready, even wounded hands, lacked even the most basic first response. I mean, sheesh, how many helicopters are there in the world, in that region? (Now, please do not take off across the Gulf on one on impulse after being fired up reading this, we cannot afford to lose a single one of you, believe you me). But see the logic of what I am saying and break away from the moribund and tard mentality of even the most "well meaning" agencies who are once again acting like this is the first disaster, first earthquake, first inaccessible disaster they have ever seen. It's like they have logic Alzheimer's or something. Why have we not had hundreds of private choppers all ready identified in areas who could do it, and better yet, some MadMax ATV drivers in the unaffected areas ready to receive drops and then drive them into the affected city? True, I was flummoxed trying to drive in the mud on the Navajo reservation, ha, but there are plenty of drivers better than me (like the Navajo friend who took the wheel of my rental car and she drove it with perfection!) Hive mind figures out how to get knapsacks of tools and medical aid collected by many, dropped by the daring and able, and driven by the modest and mighty into town.

I hope you have found this helpful, thinking of you, miss you and again, I'm so glad to see your response and concern.