Abre sus ojos

Trip Start Sep 05, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  ,
Saturday, July 19, 2008

"I ask please just for one thing, leave shelter when its raining down on us."

It is a privilege to feel the need to ask for only those things. The difference is that you and me, we are all strangers to the reality of that situation. When people live what we would consider simplified lives, they are so much better at providing those basic necessities as a necessity. We provide them to ourselves as a given. Looking in from the outside, we might say that in some ways they are like babies who trip and fall. They have a lower center of gravity so when they do fall, they don't cry because they don't have far to fall. People who do live a "simplified" life literally live closer to the earth which they inhabit. When forces and powers that be destroy the earth they live on they are naturally better equipped to live physically on that earth, temporarily freed from the burdens of maintaining a life sustained beyond natural limits

That's not to say they risk less.

When those tragedies destroy the things which ultimately make us human, we suddenly all play on the same field. When it goes beyond even those things which we consider to be necessities and destroys our families or friends, there is nothing that makes anyone different from anyone else who has lost family and/or fiends.

I spend a lot of time in disaster zones. A pile of rubble, and broken homes look more like a normal state of life than high rises and office buildings. However, I don't pretend for one second to be able to empathize with the people I try to so hard to help. I've lost someone I loved in a car accident, and it seems strange to me now, that in the midst of that loss, I was able to take comfort in those things that we provide for ourselves as given comforts.

It doesn't surprise me that in so may countries in the east families are eager to send loved ones off into the next life. There are no comforts that exist to fall back on, and there is nothing that can slowly ease these people into the next phase of their lives. It is not that they grieve or suffer any less, but they simply must get back to their lives for the sake of their own survival.

A HODR project in China is a no go, and many of the Chinese people I worked with, and especially among the younger crowd, likes to point out that I failed. I failed to set up a project to help. They like to point out my shortcomings such as my inability to adapt to the "Chinese" way. I tried to be as open as possible to these criticisms, not matter how shortsighted I thought they might be. In the literal sense of the word, I did fail to create a HODR project. Things are never that black and white though.

In typical HODR style, we worked as hard as we knew how to work. When things didn't work out, we figured out how to re-approach and we did. The decision to pack our bags only came after we had come at this situation from 23 different angles, and the marginal gain from continue to bang our heads against the wall had dropped to zero.

I truly believed this could be a HODR project almost exactly up until the point that we decided to pull the plug.

China was never a place high on my list of places to go. However, when the earthquake hit, I could barely keep my feet on the ground in India and Nepal, the thought of doing this work in China made it almost unbearable to be anywhere else other than Sichuan. I have left China fascinated and touched by many of the people I had daily contact with. There really are amazing people in every where you go, you just have to open your eyes, perhaps more importantly, open your heart.

One of those places surely is Iowa. Many people see me as beyond critical of the USA, and seem to perceive my consistent efforts to be outside the states as a rejection of America. I don't see it that way, and I remain incredibly excited to get dirty and get to work on the home field.

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ddriscoll225 on

Good try, John
What more could you do?

Anyway, the Iowans need your help and they
don't require a visa.

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