One of our kids reads the paper every day; one is just learning what an earthquake is and that there’s a country named Haiti. As we understand more fully the devastation in Haiti, and as images flow into the news stream, I’m putting together a short conversation map for discussing what has happened and what we can do.
First of all, here’s a starting point for earthquake questions and facts.
Second, here’s a quick glimpse of Haiti through Kids with Cameras: self-portraits, daily life and folkways.
National Geographic has a brief picture gallery of earthquake victims; I chose this link because these photos show the human tragedy while still being suitable for all ages.
The above is a nearly 10-minute CNN clip with Wyclef Jean and Edwidge Danticat; since it was shot just as the news was breaking, there aren’t disturbing images of hurt people and yet it conveys the imminent need for help.
On a personal note, Danticat is one of my favorite authors; as I was recovering in the hospital room after S. was born, I read a riveting book to which Danticat contributed an essay–Becoming American: Personal Essays by First Generation Immigrant Women. S. has, on her own, discovered Danticat as a children’s author as well, and loved her so much she wrote a letter to her earlier this year. Seeing her on CNN will, I suspect, be an important moment in connecting her experience to a larger reality.
Perhaps the most important part of this discussion is how we can help–through monetary donations, in this case, as logistics continue to hinder relief efforts to get food and clothing to those in need.
I’ll be putting identity politics to work this evening as we discuss the children in particular, the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster–UNICEF’s website lays out clearly what your $6 or $60 or $200 can buy. That’s valuable information, especially for a 6-year-old who still asks what his $4 and 23 cents can buy at the toy store.