"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Today I went out for coffee with a friend and fellow mom. It was a relief to get out of the house, and we talked about how difficult it is to feel like we're doing something productive when we spend our days at home with our babies. I've been feeling a little bit stir crazy lately, and it was nice to hear I'm not alone. I certainly don't mean to say that raising a baby is the same as doing nothing-- it's just maddening to work all day and have no finished product, no meaningful contact with the outside world, no measurable success aside from a kid who is infinitesimally bigger, stronger, and smarter than she was the day before. I miss giving a part of myself to the world beyond the walls of my house.

As I was driving home I turned on the radio and listened to an interview with Jason Beaubein and Melissa Block on NPR. Beaubein was relating his experience in Port au Prince, and as he described the scene outside the Villa Creole Hotel there was an odd moment of silence. I glanced at the radio, wondering if my reception was on the fritz, but then the reporter spoke again. His voice was ragged and broken; he had been crying.

He went on to describe the girl he saw lying in the driveway of the hotel, naked except for bandages and a tablecloth. He described how the chaos and destruction seemed to intensify as he moved closer to the center of the capital city. He told of the refugees who had traveled 100 miles to the border of the Dominican Republic to seek medical aid. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I was crying too. I couldn't get the image of the bleeding, broken little girl under the tablecloth out of my head. I kept flinging frantic glances at Geneva, sleeping in her carseat, safe and intact. If I thought I'd felt helpless as a cooped-up parent, it was nothing compared to how I felt at that moment as I sobbed in the car.

But helpless is something I'm not.

I probably won't know what happens to that little girl, but I will do what I can to help the thousands of other Haitians like her. I'm not talking about money out of pocket, although I will certainly donate what I can. I want to organize the resources of my community to do some good in a part of the world that has seen more than its fair share of tragedy. I want to give a piece of myself.

So, now the work begins! Not being sure where to start, I thought I'd share my thoughts with the world wide web. I guess I'm hoping to remind everyone that every tiny contribution to the humanitarian effort in Haiti adds up to something huge. In the meantime, I'm brainstorming. Wish me luck!

Here's a link to the story I was listening to:

...and here's a link to a list of charities involved in the earthquake relief, compiled by NPR:


  1. Jamaica, your compassion and honesty have always been something I've admired. Please count me in in whatever you do. I'd love to help out in any way I can.

  2. Heather, I wish you lived closer! I'm going to see if I can put together a massive garage sale here in Yakima. Could work, could be a disaster, but at least I will have tried! I'll put updates on facebook.