Julie Anne, Tatjana, & Nick Rhodes
I am haunted by the eyes of a trapped 11 year old girl… pinned under a collapsed structure in the rubble of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti this week. After 48 hours of trying to free her, she looked directly into the news camera that had been shoved in her face… her eyes conveying pain, fright, and confusion, that I read as saying “why are you filming me instead of helping me?” I have not been able to turn the television on since. To me, it was a horrifying intrusion of a traumatized and seriously injured child’s plight who had no choice but to lay there and let it happen.

I was deeply saddened to awake to the news on my facebook feed that she didn’t make it. David Knowles from Sphere reported:

Conscious and able to eat and drink, the girl often cried out in pain during her ordeal. At nightfall, rescuers used a saw to cut through an iron beam that was pinning her leg, and she was finally freed.

Her leg, however, was badly injured, and she required immediate medical attention. Witnesses told CNN she was transported to a first aid station that did not have the resources to deal with her wounds. She died before her family could take her to a better equipped facility outside the city.

Maybe I was wrong to judge CNN so harshly for running the story of the girl as she lay trapped. The cynic in me immediately jumped to the conclusion that they had over-stepped the mark, and it was all in the name of ratings.


Life-saving inflatable hospitals


Yet, I have to admit… the image of that girl is seared into my memory. It will not allow me to look away and do nothing. Maybe they were trying to wake us all up. It is time we learn to love all humanity… to be generous and caring beyond our own families, communities, countries, races, and religions. Apathy is not an option here. There are at least 3 million other people whose lives have been touched by this tragedy and need our help now.

Tatjana & Julie Anne Rhodes
My heart goes out to her family. Living in California, I can’t help but think “what if it had been my daughter?” I’m digging as deep in my pockets as I can in her memory, and in the hopes of saving many more children like her. I chose Doctors Without Borders, because they have the means to provide inflatable hospitals and medical care… she lost her fight for life due to the lack of adequate facilities. Learn more about them here http://doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=4155&cat=field-news&ref=home-center, and 87% of your donation goes directly to where it is needed. There are many great charities out there, so give where you see fit, but PLEASE don’t just say “how terrible” and look away. They are ALL our children.
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  • January 17, 2010
    1:30 am

    Beautifully done on something unimaginable.Love, Madeleine

  • January 17, 2010
    1:33 am

    Oh Jewels, I know…I can't watch the news at all. I makes me so sad seeing all those people. I would have been balling my eyes out if I had seen that little girl. I just want to jump on a plane and go help them. There was an extra offering at mass tonight for the Haiti. I gave all that I had in my purse. Praying that some how I could do more….On a happier note, I rec'd my spice rub today in the mail. It made my day. Thank you so much. I plan to use it on Monday when I make my daughter pork chops for her birthday dinner. I will let you know how they turn out.

  • January 17, 2010
    2:00 am

    I could not agree with you more. I remember back in the 90's when that photographer won a Pulitzer for taking a picture of a vulture stalking a starving child. I don't understand how some people are able to shut off all sense of humanity for the sake of getting the shot.Doctors Without Borders is an organization I hold very dear to my heart. I've volunteered for them many times over the years. Another organization I strongly support is Habitat for Humanity…their focus is more along the lines of rebuilding for the long term. I find many people have no comprehension how far a few dollars can go in Haiti. If finances are tight, giving 5 dollars can make a world of difference. The whole situation is so devastating. Thank you for caring enough to write a blog about it.I, also, received the spice rub in the mail today! I'm planning to use it this week on steak and I can't wait! I'll be sure to give you feedback! I was also thinking of trying a bit on grilled shrimp.Thank you for everything!Alison

  • January 17, 2010
    6:07 am

    Hi Alison… would LOVE to hear more about your experiences! Are you in the medical field? Where all has your volunteering taken you? What all did you do… did you actually build housing etc.? The older I get, the more I long to be "hands on" involved. I have to sit this one out, but I would like to learn more for the future.Kimmie… you strike me as the kind of person who would give the shirt off her back as well, and I KNOW Madeline would (probably a Chanel one at that). Now I'm really happy I sent that spice rub out to such kind souls! Hope you like it, and would LOVE to know how it is on shrimp… that never even crossed my mind.

  • January 17, 2010
    8:19 pm

    I'm actually in the travel industry. There is a tremendous amount of background work to coordinate all the medical volunteers and equipment. Bringing people from all parts of the globe to one rural site at a specific time is incredibly hard. The first time I helped I thought it would never come together. I was helping a group of Gynecologists going to Burkina Faso to perform fistula surgeries. I didn't even know Burkina Faso was a country or what fistula was. I remember sitting down and just crying when I read that basically it's a complication that most affects teen mothers who give birth by themselves in rural countries without medical care. If you google Fistula, you'll be horrified with what you see.With Habitat for Humanity, I first got involved with them back in the 80's when I was in high school. I LOVE the concept behind it. Helping people help themselves. It's not a handout. Habitat doesn't just work in disaster zones. They are long term. There are many Habitat projects happening in and around LA. It's not an anonymous situation. You are working elbow to elbow with the people who will live in the house. Habitat does quite a bit of followup after the house is done. Children who grow up in Habitat houses graduate high school and most graduate college. There is very low teen pregnancy and gang affiliation. When I first volunteered, I didn't know anything about building homes. They teach you everything! Most people who volunteer have never held a hammer before. Leaving the site after a day of hard work is truly rewarding. You feel like you've had a positive affect on your community. The first time I volunteered I was with a bunch of friends. I've seen sisters, families, mother/daughters, friends, or just people who felt moved to help volunteer. It's a great environment!With volunteering, I've learned you need to truly believe in the charity you're working with!Again, thank you so much for your blog! I hope you are enjoying the amazing LA weather we've been having!Alison

  • January 17, 2010
    8:32 pm

    Alison, I am so inspired by your words. I'd like to start a discussion on the fb page for people share their experiences of working hands on with charities, so the rest of us can learn more, and where and how we might best fit in to contribute ourselves. Would you please check in from time to time to share your wisdom?Thank you! xo

  • January 17, 2010
    11:25 pm

    Hi Julie Anne,The image of the 11year old girl you speak of who sadly passed away, has been spoken of so much by my husband. He was terribly saddened by the whole situation, however I must say I have not seen it and do not wish to see it. I am just so affected by the whole thing that it would just break my heart seeing her lost, confused and in need of help. I too just think to myself, what if it was my daughter…..my God, I cannot even imagine. Like you, I too would like to be a more "hands on" person. The older I get the more I would like to give than to receive. It's strange that this once shy, reserved girl has now bloomed into a woman, mother, & wife, but I am loving it and I would love to help. So much so, that I am donating as much as I possibly can. God knows if it were me in that situation, I would want HELP too……oh and Alison, way to go. What an inspiration indeed. Sounds like a wonderful, rewarding experience. I think we need more people like yourself in this world. WOW! Aussie Mum

  • January 18, 2010
    2:13 am

    JA i saw this airing on CNN as well… the report aired… the journalist was emotional describing what he'd filmed and witnessed. I was so happy when they reported she'd been freed and yet within that same breath he reported to Anderson Cooper that that little girl had died. That was it… right there… i broke down sobbing. I wish in my heart i could give every cent (which isn't much) to the children of Haiti… I have given what I could and will never forget that small fragile 11 year old girl. Thank you for writing such a heartfelt message for us all to read… NamasteLaura

  • January 18, 2010
    3:30 am

    Laura… it is so much more than the money we send… it is a collective wish for their survival we are all sending that is equally as powerful as the monetary value. I'm right there with you Aussie Mum. There is so much more joy in giving than receiving. J xo

  • January 18, 2010
    6:54 pm

    We too saw this the next morning my 7 and 11 boys asked if the little girl got out. We told them sadly she did but died, they were heartbroken. They don't understand why the dr are not there , the 11 does to a degree but it is soo hard for them to grasp. We found out out Sports Chalet is collecting shoes for Haiti so we all cleaned out the shoes we don't wear anymore and took them. I wish we could do more for them. xoJosi

  • January 19, 2010
    2:31 am

    JA i pray every day for the recover… the safety and the help to all of the people in haiti… My greatest wish and desire is for everyone to be fed, clothed and loved all over the planet….laura xx