it all seems more real when you've been there
I have a handy defence mechanism for coping with the overwhelming pain of the world. Turn the television off and it all goes away.
It's a faulty mechanism I know, but how much grief and disaster and death can a person take? Sometimes I reach my limit and as the compassion fatigue seeps in I can only think of escape. I do my best to respond, feel the pain, be generous, but it just never stops.
So I was pretty detached when Haiti happened. Then there was Chile. I found the Polish plane crash more comprehensible - getting my head around 96 dead seemed so much easier than hundreds. Or hundreds of thousands.
And now there is China. I would like to turn the television off and pretend it hasn't happened, (say it isn't so) but a dear friend was only three hundred kilometres from the destruction. Four years ago I was only four hundred kilometres from the epicentre. Remembering back to the places we visited in 2006 and the people we met, it is easier to imagine what is happening and be moved by the loss.
China seem to have it pretty much under control - as much as you can control an earthquake. I suppose by that I mean there are no calls for donations. But here is my small tribute to those who have suffered loss in this earthquake.
Qinghai Province, rooftop of the world.