January 18, 2010

Day 6, 1 Item, $3.14

I thought things couldn’t get any worse after my boss practically kicked me to the curb on that fateful day last week. Then I woke up the next morning to hear on the radio that Haiti was shaken by a powerful earthquake the night before (because I don’t have cable nor internet I rely on NPR, family, and friends for updates when I can’t get to a computer). I work for a non-profit organization and part of what we do is to provide relief to people living in poverty stricken areas in third world countries. This includes responding to natural disasters around the world. So you can almost imagine how busy it’s been around here. The day after my boss pretty much told me that I was incompetent he called to inform me that he was designating me as the main point of contact for logistics concerning Haiti. That’s interesting. I was surprised that he felt so comfortable with giving me such an important task given the way he feels about my work performance. For some reason I felt like I was being used, and not in a good way.

Last week I spent most of my days fielding phone calls and responding to emails from sympathetic people who wanted to volunteer their time, donate items, or get an all expenses paid trip to Haiti. Whatever the reason may be it still didn’t make the job pleasant. I absolutely hate this part of my job. It’s not fun telling people that we haven’t coordinated an international volunteer team and therefore we don’t need their services. Sometimes they become irate because think we are lying. They don’t seem to understand that you can’t just throw someone on a plane and send them to a disaster area. I know that many of us are compelled to do more than just toss money into the bucket. But right now that’s one of Haiti’s immediate needs. A slow drip fills the cup. Once a plan of action is in place they can use the money to rebuild and employ their own citizens to work toward that goal.

The catastrophic event in Haiti made me feel somewhat guilty about my lifestyle. I’m here complaining about small things while the earthquake victims don’t have beds to lay their heads. They are sleeping on the streets! I am moved to tears when I look at the website images captured by CNN and the BBC. Watching the news right now is like self-torture. But I feel like I must do it just to remind myself of how fortunate and blessed I am.

Yesterday, it rained and I wasn’t feeling too excited about thrifting. But on my way to Wal-Mart I decided to pop my head in the thrift store next door. I grabbed this scarf because it’s very bold and soft. Green is my favorite color so it immediately caught my attention. It cost $2.99 which I thought was way overpriced (there’s absolutely nothing thrifty about that). It should have been $1. But I got it anyway. I will add this to the scarf collection that I’ve already started. The weather has been mild lately so I’m not sure if I’ll have a need for the scarf anytime soon. If I don’t wear it I can always use it as a runner for my coffee table. What do you think I should do with it? I want to use it as a reminder that even on the gloomiest days there’s always brightness to look forward to.