Lately, I can think of nothing else than the tragedy in Japan, a country where I spent many happy years but that is being tested to the limit right now.
While it’s heart-breaking to look at the videos and photos of the terrifying scale of the destruction wrought by the Quake and Tsunami (and the prospect of nuclear disaster) I seek them out them out anyway… perhaps KNOWING the scale of the tragedy is some small compensation for being powerless to do anything about it.
But the other comfort in watching all the grim news is being reminded of the strength and dignity of the Japanese people in the face of adversity. When I lived there, I often wondered at their ability to cheerfully persevere against the odds; to be accepting and dynamic at the same time. The Japanese culture, having grown in a region often devastated by quakes, tsunamis, typhoons, volcanoes and fires, seems to have imbued its people with a sort of stoic, industriousness. The tenacity to ACCEPT such hardships without giving-up or failing to PREPARE for them.
Just as they have rebuilt their nation from devastation many times in the past, the Japanese will apply these qualities, not to mention their famous ingenuity and communal co-operation, to rise above this disaster too; one that would probably permanently cripple many other nations.
But, like many others, I want to help. Donating to Charities involved in the relief effort is the simplest and easiest way, but somehow it doesn’t feel as powerful as being ACTIVELY engaged directly myself. So I have been researching ways to get more involved, both by looking on the web and calling the Japanese Consulate, and I have found some interesting perspectives on the issue.
Apparently, this early in any major disaster, grassroots efforts to help can hinder teams with real relief expertise. When the infrastructure of the disaster area is taxed to the limit, a simple care-parcel of letters and candy sent by a well-meaning person can choke the system and slow down the delivery of more useful supplies, such as medicine. Well-meaning people flocking to the site hoping to help, soon become yet another problem for relief agencies to deal with.
I must admit that my first instinct was to send packages and letters of support, in addition to the charitable donations of money. My feeling NOW is that it is better to wait till later to send care packages, and I fully intend to do so when the time is right. In the meantime, I plan to do some artwork and participate in a ART-AUCTION FUNDRAISER (details to follow when I know them myself).