If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time (also hey, welcome newcomers), you’ll know that “I was raised on fantasy literature” is a pretty common theme to my posts. And you’ll know that those fantasy books – the ones with Dumbledore’s Army, and wizards banded together for Timeheart, and troupes made of Luster and Earthfolk alike, the ones with people (a term loosely used, here) who went out and saw the universe and did important things in it, for it – those are the books that shaped who I wanted to be. All my life, I’ve pretty much wanted my job description to be something along the lines of “saves the world.”
It’s why I pick up litter on the beach. It’s why I’m a practicing emergency medical responder. It’s why I tell people when I care about them. It’s why I’m going to veterinary school.
And it’s why when a 7.8 earthquake happened on April 16th in a country where I knew people, I messaged those friends to ask how they were doing, how their country was doing.
They were sad, and frustrated, but hanging in there, they said. But the country? Not well, was their answer. Whole towns were in ruins.
The bodies, they said, were piling up in the streets.
…When your friends tell you there are bodies piling up in their streets, you goddamn ask what you can do to help. And when they tell you what that is, you do it.
In this case, what I could do – what you could do – is get them tents.
There are bodies in the streets, but there are survivors too. Unfortunately, their city being a pile of rubble and devastation, there is nowhere for them to survive in.
So they’re building themselves a temporary settlement, and it shall be made of tents.
A couple days later, and I’m now heading up the West coast efforts for the U.S. relief team working in conjunction with my friends’ local organization, the “Surfers for a Roof” Brigade. As for the U.S. team’s efforts, my East coast counterpart and I want to get 50 tents to Ecuador – Canoa, to be specific – by Monday to help make a dent in what the 200 surviving families will need for shelter.
There have been Facebook posts, and emails with city councils, and CARVE surfing magazine even did a piece on the effort, and so far, we’ve gotten 25 tents. I want so badly to keep the momentum going. I want to hit 50 before Monday arrives. I want the world to care, and to not just sit there caring, but get up or speak out or just do something about it.
Here in this world of dust and reality, we cannot fight the source of all evil for the fate of the world.
But we can fight devastation. We can fight disaster. We can join this effort, and throw relief in the face of the ruin. We cannot fight “ultimate evil,” but we can fight this one.
To put it more pragmatically: the relief effort has an Amazon wish list going. People can donate tents directly, or, barring being able to contribute the full cost of a tent, can email Amazon gift cards of any amount to the relief effort’s account, and we’ll pool those funds to purchase more supplies. We’ve already gotten one tent on the way from people’s compounded gift card donations. We’re about halfway to another one, with current funds.
Physical donations will ship to a hangar in Miami from where a volunteer pilot – the relative of local leadership in Canoa – will fly supplies to ground zero. Tent city construction will begin May 7th.
The Amazon wish list and the email account associated with it have been created specifically for the relief effort, to allow for specificity and transparency. Anyone with questions about our financial or other records is totally welcome to ask, and we will send you literally our entire backlog of documentation. Honesty and integrity, in this effort, are paramount.
So, dear readers, I invite you to join me. Consider this your official enrollment call. I cannot off you a DA badge or a manual saying you have joined the ranks of wizards, but I can offer you the knowledge that your help here matters. That herein is a chance to know that you have helped fight to make things better for the world. Whether you donate or “just” spread the word (social media, word of mouth, sky writing, traveling bards – it’s all good) – you will have been someone who, even if just for a moment, got up and looked out at what was happening to the universe and did something about it all.
And for me, at least, that is a little bit magic.
To donate to the Canoa tent relief project: http://amzn.com/w/XLL6FUTGKU91
To learn more about how the relief effort works: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MzRn9oHb73jV3rQ0QmvPmI1twKFiNfhf7Xbk1gFKdEU/edit?usp=sharing