30 Dec 04: Numbers
"One in five"
Five people helped me trim the tree on Christmas eve. Losing
any one of them would send me into shock or despair.
"A third were children"
My mantel is awash in the newest kid pictures: kids of family,
extended family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, neighbors, fans,
e-pen-pals. I love getting them, even if it's only once a year,
because those kids give me the best hope ever for the coming
year. Those kids remind me that I'm fighting in my own small
way for a better life and a better world for them. To lose them
would be to lose the world.
That's The Guardian's current estimate of the number
of people killed by the tsunami. My brain won't deal with that
high a number. "One in five" is personal, and
"a third were children" is so personally painful
that I'm already beyond words.
If I were near enough, I'd take anybody into shelter---but
I'm not near enough, so I can't help that way.
This time of year (after the Christmas rush), I call UNICEF
to order some pretty cards and postcards for the coming year.
That's what I grabbed for.
This time of year, I always get through on the first or second
ring. Not this time---this time, I got put on hold. When I finally
got through to a real person, Yes, she could take a straight
up donation (instead of a catalogue order) and, Yes, she could
earmark it for the tsunami areas.
Her voice broke. So did mine. We were, each of us, imagining
our own one in five and our own a third were children.
[edit: 2 Jan 05 --
Xopher pointed me to this one:
I'll call them next. Charities vary in what they handle, so
I think spreading it around will maybe hit more spots. I do the
best I can, and then I turn off the tv.]