Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I have been distracted

On last Tuesday, January 12 at 5:14 pm a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck southern Haiti near Port au Prince.

I am assuming anyone reading this already knows this.

Since my trip to Haiti last March, I have kept in touch with some of the people I met on the internet. People like Tara and Troy Livesay . I began reading Troy's almost real time Twitter on Tuesday evening and was horrified by the devastation.

My work in Haiti was with Meds and Foods for Kids (MFK) which is in the northern part of the country in Cap Hatien. I emailed the people there as soon as possible and they had only felt a few rumblings. MKF makes Medika Mamba, an enriched peanut butter, for severely malnourished kids. The number of malnourished kids in Haiti on a good day with no extra tragedy is staggering. About one child out of every four in Haiti under the age of five is malnourished. Think of the kids in your kids kindergarten and picture one fourth of them starving.

The effect of the earthquake on MFK and on the health of children will not be completely know for some time. Look here for the recent news reports from MKF.

Before this tragedy, I was planning on traveling to Haiti over spring break to continue the work that we started last year with Engineers Without Borders. We are still planning this trip but we don't know all that will change between then and now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One more writing prompt

None of MamaKat's writing prompts prompted me this week so I dove into her archives to grab a different one. This one sounded interesting.

Write about a time you hid from someone, or a time you disguised who you really were.

Since I already have not followed the directions, I will continue to feel free to decide the subject of my story.

When I was growing up, I was very much a pleaser. I wanted teachers to like me and I did not want to get into trouble. I lived my life very much in terror of getting something on my PERMANENT RECORD that would keep me from getting into college and ruin my life. I also had a pretty strong moral code (for a kid) and just thought that everyone should do the right thing --just because.

Why do I tell you this? Well a couple of times while I was growing up I tried on a different persona. In other words, I pretended to be someone I was not, kind of like a disguise. (See it fits the prompt, right?)

The first one was a time when I was walking around with a girl from school throughout the neighborhood. I don't really remember who the girl was except I remember I did not usually hang out with her. Walking around our neighborhood was very common. I grew up in the suburbs where most mothers kicked their kids out to play each day.

This day the girl suggested, "Let's just sit on the corner." That sounds like an innocent suggestion, but my mother had always said, "Do not hang out on the corner." She never gave any explanation why I was not supposed to hang out on the corner, but I knew the rule, don't do it. Hmmm, don't do it? Why not? We weren't hurting anyone that I could tell and maybe if I hung out I could find out what the big deal was. Oh and the girl that I was with? She said she did it all the time.

So we sat on the corner right by the stop light. It was at one of the busier intersections in my neighborhood and there were lots of cars and people to watch. Sure enough we received several disapproving looks from other mothers driving by.

The second time, I was with my cousin and one her friends at Sun 'n Fun. Sun 'n Fun was a man made pond/ lake with a sand beach (I grew up in St. Louis, smack in the middle of the US, far, far away from an ocean). We would go to Sun 'n Fun almost once a week during the summer.

This time, my cousin had a
friend with her. We went to the playground to play for a bit and the friend said. "Have you guys ever played, like pretend?" We looked at her, sure we had played pretend, but the look on her face said this was not about castles and army men. She said, "When someone comes up to play on the playground, you tell them that your parents own it and that they are not allowed to play."

Okay, that just sounded stupid to me, but in a moment that I am not particularly proud of, I just stood there and said nothing. Soon a couple of younger kids came up to play and the girl said, "You can't play here. Our parents own all of Sun 'n Fun and they said that no one is allowed to play on the monkey bars but us." The kids put up some mild protests but they were clearly out matched by three older kids and they ran off...... to get their mothers.

Their mothers came up to the playground (see I knew this was a stupid idea) and said, "What's this about my kids not allowed on the monkey bars?" I remember looking at my feet and the other girl mumbled something. The mother set us straight, "Everyone is allowed to play on the playground!"
... and of course the kids played on the playground. We left soon after.

So these were my experience at being a "bad" kid.
I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.