So long Japan

Minami Sanriku, Japan - one of the most severely hit towns by the tsunami. (Photo taken from http://www.facebook.com/worldvisionusa)

(I wrote this this morning for a different use, then changed my mind in using it… so I’ve posted it here instead)

I always kind of pity those who forget about yesterday’s headlines all too quickly. After all, working for an international humanitarian organization, I know that those issues and the calamity recently faced does not simply go away tomorrow. In fact, it hardly ever goes away (I wanted to use “quotations” here, but didn’t know if it was editorially correct). But yesterday, I fell into my own worse stereotype (well, there are probably worse stereotypes…) — I had completely forgotten that it was the one month anniversary of the quake and tsunami in Japan.

How could I forget? I worked for weeks straight on the initial fundraising response for the disaster, late nights in the office, overtime on the weekends… you know, normal life of a fundraiser when fundraising practically comes knocking at your door (or in this case, sweeping through your town in the form of a gigantic wave). I’m no stranger to the devastating photos, the CNN videos, the outpouring of public attention. But even still, 31 days after the disaster, I’d forgotten.

To be honest, it’s not that I’d truly forgotten so much as it “slipped my mind” (finally, a use for the “quotations”). But on this side of the world, one month after a natural disaster, I’m not just concerned about Japan anymore, the way I was in the first 72-100 hours. There are other concerns that I have to balance that quite frankly, don’t help in my other balancing act– that is, the work-life balance. Concerns like strategy, and campaign planning and campaign strategy planning (yes, those are different).

It makes it very difficult to hold it all together, hardly possible in my head, yet alone on some campaign calendar or excel sheet, or email. (*This is probably the “sanity” problem that I’ve been thinking about lately… maybe another blog post is in order).

It comes down to this, I suppose… I suck. Not only is it my job to remember these things (and plan for them), but it’s also my responsibility as a human being who cares about other human beings. So, I’ll do a better job next time.

Today, even as I write this, I remind myself that while I’m busy thinking about whatever it is that I think about all day long, there are real people, in a real place that are still reaping nature’s consequences to an event that happened an entire month ago. And if that doesn’t make me count my blessings, than it sure, at the very least, better prick my memory and my heart for the next month to come. And if it doesn’t do any of that, then well, I guess I really suck.

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