Tuesday, January 19

food scraps, children, and home

A neighbour and friend of mine has a little girl only 3 weeks younger than the Wildflower (21 mths). They are from Belgrade, Serbia, but as her husband is away for months, she came down to Montenegro last year to be with her own mother.

Her husband is away because he is a UN peacekeeper, and he is in Hiati.

Her pale sunken cheeks say it all.

It took almost 24hrs to discover that he was alive. Now she waits to hear from him every day, because the anxiety isn't over.

The poor and desperate people are fighting, and even killing one another to get to supplies. Helicopters couldn't land because people were trying to jump and grab hold. The streets reek with the stink of decaying body piles and sewerage. We all know that disease is rife in these situations. There are gun-fights and machete fights.

Along with her husband, there are another four Serbian (yes, the current 'evil doers' of some years back) peacekeepers in Hiati. They were offered an airlift out of there. To return home. To return to safety and back into the arms of their families.

Each one declined.

They felt that it would be deserting the people when they need help the most. How could they come home when so many had lost theirs?


AP Photo/Jorge Cruz


She was over here a couple of days ago and her husband called. He assured her that he was alright, he even asked if my girl was getting more hair.... but he admitted that he was hungry and getting hungrier.

Why? Because he was giving all the food that he got from the UN to the children. He asked, 'how can I eat when tiny children are walking around homeless, alone, and hungry?' My body covered in shivers at the thought of my small child wandering a disaster area alone, frightened, without us. Who would pick her up, when there are so many orphaned children, when everyone is in desperate needs themselves?

He's breaking up chocolate bars and sandwhiches to distribute scraps of food to as many children as possible. We rarely hear about these small but significant gestures. Especially of ones made by those other than American or British.

What shocked me, was that every UN worker is getting a daily food pack.... that they have to PAY for. It costs him about 10-12 Euros for his food.... which he then gives away anyway.

I'm not going to get into my anti-UN rant here. But I really want to slap someone at the top there, very hard. It might be tiny, but I'll do my part by sharing such stories.

To help, this is a great article.

12 comments:

  1. Wow! To know someone actually over there brings it closer to home, I'm sure.
    I too, find it shocking and ridiculous that UN workers have to pay for their daily food pack. What is THAT???
    Kudos to this friend of yours...that pic breaks my heart and I agree, how can any adult stand by and eat when there are so many children desperate for sustainance.
    Also, where the hell is Angelina and her millions? This is her perfect opportunity to put her money where her mouth is and fly into action, instead of picking out another child to add to her collection....yeesh! (some people may take offense to this, and that's ok...just my opinion).
    Great post!
    Prayers for your friend & her hubby.

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  2. your friend sounds like a very special person. How strong he is, and his wife too - in some ways it must be very hard to be at home, waiting and unable to do anything but hope and pray and wait for the next phone call. What goes on in big organisations (UN and the like) is just unbelievable - it's part of the reason why I pick and choose which charities I donate to very carefully as well, the waste and beanfest by the top brass at some "charitable" organisations is unbelievable - some of these people seem very far removed from the ideals that the charity originally had. My thoughts and prayers are with your friends and all those who've been affected by this disaster.

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  3. Thoughts of those poor kids have been haunting me since it happened. *shudders*

    Didn't know that about UN workers having to pay for their own food packs. Shocking!

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  4. Oh Mon. Thank you so much for sharing this story. Really.

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  5. Heartbreaking and heroic. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Heart-wrenching, but thanks for sharing a true story...I don't understand the paying for food thing either, what is the thinking behind that? On the other hand, I have been feeling weary of another thing I am already seeing raise it's ugly head in the media here - the blame game. I personally am hoping we can avoid it. I am sure mistakes have been made and will be made, and there will be a lot of lessons learned from this relief...but right now there are alot of people busting their butts to help in devastating circumstances, and the main culprit was an earthquake after all...
    this might seem like a tangent, sorry, just got done reading a story full of complaints about airport management, and water management, and this that and the other thing...got me a bit frustrated...the media want a blame story, I guess it attracts more attention...

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  7. I understand what you're saying Lisa. But I also feel frustration at how these things always seem to be badly managed. More people die or suffer needlessly.
    But yes, there are SO many working SO hard to help.

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  8. Thank you, Mon.

    And thank you, husband of your neighbor.

    We're gathering up a few old phones and our old laptop...

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  9. You know, we have been building up food storage and other emergency items in case something like this ever hits home. We also have certain...means...to protect it. But if it ever comes down to it, I hope that we would have enough to share...and even if we didn't, how could I turn someone away? Sometimes I feel like I am storing up items for friends, neighbors, and even strangers, as well as my own family.

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  10. Loads I could say, (and I too shall spare you an anti-UN rant). I've seen some of what goes on behind-the-scenes. Often UN staff are well-subsidised for their food expenses, but I won't assume this in this instance.

    And there's no easy way to get help to people, often because the most basic infrastructure in these circumstances has collapsed. It's a case of trying to ensure that there is some kind of proper process and aid going through the right channels, when there is an environment of total chaos. And there are a myriad of human factors.

    But this kind of story you write here Mon shows how much impact a single person can have. It seems so little, but your friend's husband is making a difference doing what he is doing with the resources available to him. May he continue to remain safe and well.

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  11. Thank you for visiting and leaving me your kind message about Tilly. It is a compeltely heartbreaking time for me.
    I can't beleive the UN people have to buy their own food, seems totally ridiculous!
    I hope everyone keeps healthy and safe.
    Lisa

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  12. Mon, I got chills after reading this first hand account of the suffering and fear in Haiti. God bless your friend and all those who are working so hard to help. I can't believe that the UN workers have to pay for their lunches.

    I keep thinking about those little ones wandering the streets. I want to cry.

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