Sunday, January 09, 2005

Tsunami Relief

I cannot add anything regarding the Tsunami that so devastated an uncounted number of people's lives. I do wish to add something to the relief effort. My spouse and I have contributed her pension for a week. She was involved in a bus rollover accident in Thailand and the unstinting generosity that was shown to her deserves repayment in this time of their need, so we are feeling generous.

A digression for my countrymen who have not traveled in Asia. In general, societal support of individuals in these countries is driven at the family or local community level and rarely accomplished by the government. You may call this a form of "selfish familialism". There is also no insurance. Be that as it may, the communities are still rather generous with its members. Yet at this time, when many communities have suffered major disruptions, this support is severely fragmented. When you look at where your support goes, make sure that it is predominantly delivered at the local level!

It appears that survival assistance is now flooding in. This is all as it should be, but we must give thought to rebuilding livelihoods and communities as well as lives. For instance, I have heard that groups like Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) have ample funds and finding how to contribute to longer-term projects was difficult for me. Galvanizing long term generosity is also a problem because of the attention deficit disorder in the American media.

Luckily, I have a friend who works for the travel agency, Abercrombie & Kent. They are supporting "Bhat For Boats". You may see this at . They are paying 100% of all administrative costs, they have local offices where the effectiveness of the generosity may be monitored, and better yet, this will go towards rebuilding boats for fishermen and schools for communities.

Just letting you know.


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