Saturday, January 16, 2010
A few years ago Amber Munger, a student in my Nonprofits class, impressed me with her enthusiasm for nonprofit work. Just this fall I had the chance to see her when she returned to campus for a short visit. I learned that she was working with an NGO in Haiti, and we talked about having her visit my class electronically this spring as a guest speaker. Then the earthquake struck Haiti. For two days or so we didn't know whether she was ok. Finally Amber was able to send a message to the law school community and other friends. She was outside Port-au-Prince when the quake struck, but shortly afterwards she and some co-workers headed into Port-au-Prince. She is now doing relief work through her organization, Konbit Pou Ayiti. She is posting messages on a blog, and they are worth reading. More than any of the news reports, they capture what it is like for someone there, trying to help without medicine, tools, gas, or money. She and her co-workers have set up a triage hospital, and she writes about medical work being done without proper equipment or anesthesia. She writes about the growing desperation due to a lack of food and water. About gunfire in the night. About the problem of sewage and dead bodies. And she also writes about singing - Haitians singing songs of solidarity and thanks for surviving and perhaps singing to deal with the fear they must feel. The singing and crying goes on all night, making sleep difficult.