I have written many words in the past two years. I have made my life a public pastime for your boredom, and in fact I have shared many personal moments in my life with you people; my relationships, my hardships, my laughter and my triumphs. So if you found it all so amusing, and awaited more of it, here’s a bit more. The problem is that most of you will not give a damn. It’s saddening that I get personal kudos by the dozen for posting pictures with hot girls, but not a word when I break the news that people are suffering somewhere not too far away.
Sometimes ago, someone mentioned that my readers don’t want to read about disasters and catastrophes because they want to read about beautiful places and to see exotic pictures. That they don’t want to think about hardships of others when they already have problems of their own. Maybe he was right. Maybe what I’m doing should be just a joy ride to fulfill just that. But I can’t. So I beg again. And I won’t stop.
Many set out to change the world, with their mosquito nettings, Ipads and hand sanitizers to arrive at an NGO in a strange country to do what they think is right. After a while they give up and head back home with a camera full of pictures to show to their friends, and although deep down they resent what the outcome, they justify it because that’s the way it is; living with guilt is not easy.
We need help, pure and simple. And by help I don’t mean prayers. So instead of sending me your non-perishable prayers, send food, medication and emergency shelters. Although my heart goes out to victims of the recent tsunami in Japan, I am NOT in Japan. I’m tired of Kansas City shuffles. I’m tired of humanitarian organizations and governments shifting their focus and resources once every hour to some other place that’s more news worthy. When an earthquake hits a place, nobody ever mentions Darfur anymore. No one cares about India anymore, and certainly no news organization will ever cover a “not so news worthy” disaster concerning bunch of brown people when a bigger and better one is brewing somewhere else.
This is not a one man job, but I’m pulling the rope one handed. Give me a hand. Whatever you can. If you’re good at cold-calling so call the damn corporations and get the money. If you’re good at selling lemonades, sell the lemonade. If you’re good at drinking $5 cups of latté all day, spare a cup and help these people. It won’t change your lifestyle, you won’t go broke, and I promise you that you’ll feel better at the end of the day. The following is my address to our board of directors, take a minute and give what you can. I’m begging you.
La Niña Flood Disaster Relief Assessment And Actions
By Chris Sorbi, On-site Ambassador
NATURE OF THE EMERGENCY:
Torrential rains heightened by the effects of la Niña weather phenomenon have flooded seven out of nine departments in Bolivia. The most affected regions are in the Amazon basin, to the Northeast where multitudes of Amazonian tributaries cross these plains. The rains have flooded several major rivers such as the Beni, Chirnore, and 14 de Semptiembre. Due to the unique geographical location of Bolivia, all the water from the Andes highlands will continue to flood this area well after the end of the weather pattern. It is my strong prediction that the scale of the damage, and loss of lives will increase as the waters inevitably continue to flood these lowlands.
The major complication has been the loss of crops with over 25,000 acres of growing-lands being under water in these regions amongst severe damages to houses, roads and basic infrastructures. The affected families rely heavily on their crops, and the floods not only have destroyed their source of food and income; it has destroyed the food reserve of the region as well.
According to the official reports, over 60 people have lost their lives, and several hundreds have been injured. These statistics are underestimations at best, as most of the disaster area is inaccessible by roads, and the predominant population consists of indigenous tribes of Yuracares and Yuquis. The Bolivian civil Defense has catered to number of families since the end of February, but they have reportedly exhausted their resources and are unable to provide further assistance.
Beside basic food and clean water needs, we require immediate assistance to obtain temporary shelters. Schools have been used in the area to accommodate the refugees, but the number of refugee has increased dramatically, hence the need for improvised shelters in the area.
Staple foods to be delivered are flour, corn, rice, beans and vegetable oil. Transportation of live stock or meat to the area is next to impossible due to difficulty of crossing flooded plains, and lack of refrigeration. Priority in food distribution will be given to children, women and the elderly. Drinking water will be collected from rain, and by treatment of existing sources to simplify the operation and cut cost on transportation.
The need for volunteers to work and distribute the food is great, so a public announcement for immediate help is suggested. I’m in process of recruiting volunteers among foreign travelers in the area, but help from the United States and abroad is required. Professional volunteers are needed with experiences in the medical field as well as constructions.
The food prices have increased radically in Bolivia so finding outside sources to truck-in the food into the region is imperative. I have requested the cooperation of the Bolivian government, and have been promised of logistical assistance on this matter. Furthermore, I have requested military and police support to secure the convoy through the region, and unrestricted passage through borders from the south. We will collaborate our efforts with the existing NGO’s and other international organizations in the field for the best possible results.
The work will be done on volunteer basis as always with no salaries to be paid. The operational cost will include the supplies, and transportation of the good into the region.
Average food prices are as follow:
|Items||Price (USD)||Quantity in Metric Ton|
Immediate donations and sponsorships are essential to tackle this calamity, so I urge all the directors of the Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. to use all the possible resources including public assistance, churches, schools, … to procure the necessary funds.
O. Christopher Sorbi, Founder and CEO
March 8, 2011
Chris, your frustration is evident, and I know it grows out of your deep concern for the people you wish to serve, and the calling you have to do so. I know it can be very difficult to carry on in the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles, and apparent indifference. Challenging as it may be, it seems to me that it is precisely at these times that we most need to try to sustain a “big picture” view, and to keep the faith that what we are doing is meaningful and effective, even when it may not seem to be. I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching, but there seems to me to be wisdom in the notion that we can do only what we can do, and the rest is out of our hands. I know that can be painful at times. I’d like to encourage you to carry on in the service you have chosen, and do not believe for a moment that it is pointless. meaningless or ineffective. Your “motorcycle adventure” has so much more substance to it than a mere travel diary would have, exactly because of why you are doing it. Keep the faith.
Chris, please understand that when I write this it is my own personal opinion. I have stayed close to your story watching everything you put on here. I am in awe with the pictures I see both good and bad. I can also understand how the people you are with need a whole lot more than most people can provide. However, as you put it, we are all hurting and sometimes we don’t have the spare change to give. As much as I would love to help out there I would be remiss in my duties here to my family if I did, knowing it is all I can do just to get by every day too. Don’t take that wrong please but understand sometimes we do have to take care of ourselves before we just run off and help a total stranger, especially when that stranger may not appreciate it enough to return the favor later.
I will say though that once I can get my family where it needs to be then I will do everything in my power to help out down there. I can’t do more than that.
I also know you are not calling out anyone specifically but feel I have to respond this way.
Hope your journey continues safely and I wish you the best.
First off thank you for your generous donation and your dedication to this cause. You are right that I’m frustrated, and it’s only because that I’m a rock throw away from a child who won’t make through the night and I can’t do a damn thing about it. So I resort to anything I can to get the result. I’m not a good bank robber otherwise I would put that on my list too . Thousands of miles away, the least I can do is to write. Some didn’t like the tone and some got offended. But I always go by what Dr. Seuss said: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Thank you again for caring and following this journey.
Thank you for taking the time to write, and I completely understand. I would like to point out that what I wrote was not directed at anyone personally, it was a blog from my website, very much directed at my very own friends of many years. The picture reference might have come a little strong, but it was never meant to attack anyone or discredit their concern. (We had a lot of exchanging comments about that post, and please keep it coming.) I have been blessed with the help of many here including yourself, and I would not be so ungracious to underestimate that.
My frustration grows out of utter disability to do anything substantial while I have to watch this misery. I understand that the economy is tough, and many including myself are hurting because of it. I myself have to eat one meal a day so I can have enough money to simply keep going. We all have our priorities and when it comes to family, I would do the very same for my family before I would throw a penny at someone else. All that being said, helping is not just money. I would love to hear the experiences, suggestions, pointers and tips and tricks from others. I would love to hear that Mr. X raised money by showcasing a two headed rabbit for the benefit of Boy Scout in 1986 and this is how he did it. Maybe I can learn something from it. Or someone to say hey I don’t have any money, but I have a friend at North Face who might be able to get the tents… Even just posting the link at their Facebook or sending an email to their family and friends. You catch my drift.
Every one of you can help out with raising the awareness, by however means it’s doable for you. Charity ride, beer fest, garage sale, or just talking …
When I took on this mission, I knew very well that a one handed clap is not audible, but I had two choices: to keep clapping one handed or find another hand.
Thank you guys for all you are doing, and please do what’s in your power, not for me, I can live with one meal a day. Do it for those that don’t even have that one meal in a week.
salam nekbat halet chetore khosh migzare too aksi ke gozashti mesle molla nasredin choobe zire pato are mikoni aberoomoono bordi
You made me admire