Friday, September 29, 2006

Quakeflections: A year has passed

Cheezy? That's just too bad. Read on below

Moving on to the subject matter at hand...The earthquake in Pakistan/India (October 8th, 2005) is nearing its first anniversary.

The irony of an anniversary strikes me. People celebrate, people mourn...people think about things from all sorts of angles, yet what is it that they really think about?

Do you remember the feeling we all had when the ground started shaking? I can because it woke me up. I remember I was sleeping and as I got up to go towards the bathroom arch, I could barely walk 3 feet without falling down.

No balance. No stability. No traction.

My friend Sahir (also affectionately known as Seri), was in town from Isb yesterday and crashed at my place. We chatted about the quake relief days as though it was an episode in our past of more than 10 years. In the heat of the moment, I thought of my boy Sunny, working his hide off in the US, and gave him a buzz. We all chatted with im for a few and the conversation inadvertently ended up discussing the earthquake.

As it happens, Seri and I were together the night we drove to Balakot (the first night after the quake) and remembered how we spoke of this being his 1st and last trip up because of the toll relief work can take on you and me saying how I could keep doing this my whole life.

Today he is a successful logistics guru, while I work for a non-profit investment fund that puts money in to socially sustainable and scalable development projects (for those of you who are clueless...we (www.acumenfund.org) provide rich peoples services and products etc that are exlusively for the wealthy, to the poorest of the poor. I guess one can say that we were right and we were wrong.

So, what have we learned in this past year? That natural disasters occur only to shake people's faith and get them on the right track? At what cost? the lives of hundreds of thousands? I'd recommend not including religion in the whole realm and just taking it for what it is...a terrible act of nature causing the displacement of millions in a place where land is abundantly scarce.

The Earthquake of October 8th, 2005 was a terrible happening and we should continue to strive for ways to help. Giving money may not be the answer. Laying a brick for a house is, however, a step in the right direction.

I also heard about some book on FM 89 (our partners in kind who helped us gain support from the public during our days of gallantry in the mountains) written by a US returnee (a girl with a very soft voice) titled, "8:50 A.M" - Go check it out...apparently it's a job well done. Proceeds go to The Edhi Foundation and The Citizens Foundation.
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