Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is helping hurting?

When Hurricane Katrina struck there was nothing i wanted to do more than bust out of the cold concrete walls of KEVN-TV, drive a truck and a camera down to New Orleans to do what i could. I never did it, on account of the baby still nursing at my breast and the job that seemed so important for my financial and familial future.

Now Haiti is calling and i really have no reason to say no. Except there are stories like these about volunteers being a detriment, when you have no higher disaster or medical skills to contribute. Sure, i have some of those basic medical skills, so i am not starting from zero. But when the opportunity arose for myself and a film crew to get down there, i had to start thinking real.

When the wound is so raw and tender, will i, as a documentarian, be a help, or a hindrance? Do we need more people down there just telling the sad story to the world? And even if i live off Luna Bars for the entire time, am i only doing more to stress the infrastructure?

Such, i think, are the real questions one must ask if you really want to help out. You may have the best intentions, but what will you do when a distressed person is hungry, and wailing at you in French, and all you can offer are some mini-DV tapes, slapped together in a 10-pack? Should you just tape them and steal their veritable soul to sell to the masses? I am disturbed, jostled, yet feeling strongly that i have to see it for myself.

One thing i know is that if this thing goes off and i find myself tagging along on an aid plane in a few days time, i am gonna need the help of all of you. At present, most of you don't feed me with cash, or even encouraging comments (though i could use 'em), but in the coming days i could very well need your help in terms of wisdom, prayers, thoughts, words of warning, and of course, catchphrases in French. I will keep you posted.


badmummynocookie said...

Canada has a close connection with Haiti (good or bad?) since our Governor General, Michaelle Jean emigrated from there are a child. Lots of good info here:

And, if you have room in your bag and want to take items to donate, I've heard that midwives are in need of cloth diapers. They're multi-purpose, not just as a diaper, but as a pad for postpartum bleeding.

Nicole Vulcan said...

hey badmummy,
there will be room in my bag. if i really end up going, i am going to send out an appeal for stuff to bring for the people. any suggestions for getting diapers donated?