Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tsunami and being a good neighbor

The world can change so fast! Last Thursday MM and I had just enjoyed a nice dinner in Kona. When we arrived home we heard of the earthquake that had hit Japan. I did what many social network junkies do, and went on Facebook to see how my friends in Japan were doing. Most of the people that I know there, live near Tokyo and responded that they were fine. Then I saw that Hawaii was under a tsunami watch. Within an hour it was elevated to the highest threat, "tsunami warning". The local news told us that we had about 5 hours before it would hit our beautiful state...but that "it is coming, be prepared!". MM dealt with it the same way he deals with everything in life....calmly. He went to bed. (love that man!) I dealt with it like I do....stayed up, watched the news, listened to the tsunami sirens, wondering what it would bring and how life may be different the next day for many. I knew we were safe because of our high elevation but I still couldn't sleep. I watched the news to see how big the wave was as it passed over Midway island and as it crossed paths with the buoys that are positioned to give wave information. It was ominous.

As you all know, Japan suffered unspeakable traumatic loss. That beautiful country that I adore, will be healing for a very long time. My heart goes out to everyone there.

What many do not know is of the damage and loss that many of my own neighbors on my own island have suffered. One man who is in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, lost his home. It is a twisted mess. Another house was swept out into Kealakekua bay and later sunk. Last night I saw photos of a tangled mass of metal....with dishes ....wait! It was their dishwasher and the dishes were still enclosed in the racks!

Many businesses downtown in Kona suffered incredible loss. One business in the King Kamehameha Hotel had their security footage shown on TV last night showing the first wave crash through the window and wipe out all of their inventory.

One of the stores that I sell my tote bags to was across the street. I called the owner the next day to see if she needed help shoveling sand or cleaning up. She sounded in shock and told me that she "didn't have a store anymore". A wall that Da Kona Coffee Store shared with the Cindy Coats Art Gallery, collapsed. The water came in with such force that it destroyed everything in both stores.

There have been many relief funds set up to help out our Pacific Island Nation neighbor of Japan. And the Red Cross has made it so easy to donate funds. If you can help, I'm sure you already have. I have a personal philosophy that I will share with you. You may not agree with me and that is fine. I am FIRST a supporter of helping locally before I help globally. I am not one to send funds to victims in Africa or Thailand or elsewhere in the world when there are hungry children down the street. My children and I have (many years ago) been grateful recipients of food from both the Salvation Army and the local food bank. So my emotions are to act first locally.

For the rest of this month of March, I am donating all of my profits in my Etsy store to benefit my friend who is working to reopen Da Kona Coffee Store. I don't have mounds of money and my donation will not change the world. But I do know this person. I have done business with her and my heart goes out to her. If everyone first helped people that they know and then their neighbors who they may not know, there will be fewer people who need the help of the larger organizations. Granted, you don't get a big ole tax deduction for helping out a friend, but if that is your motivation...then you have really missed the bigger picture.

There will be a fund raiser on Saturday March 26th from 9-1:30pm for the man with cancer who lost his home. Here is the info that someone sent to me:

Gordon Leslie Family
Kona Adult Day Center
81-989 Haleki'i Street (across the Kealakekua Post Office)
Kealakekua, HI

In Hawaii there is a saying: "If Can Can, If No Can, No Can". To me this means that when you can help or do something, DO IT! If you can't, maybe you are the one needing help....then don't! But know that when you will!".

You could say that my word of the year, "Awareness", also includes being aware of what you can do to be a good neighbor. I am working to be more aware.

a hui hou


sarah @ squigglesizzleswirl said...

What a wonderful posting! I agree with you, helping out in your local area is always best. Then, if you can help others where help is needed, outside your community. Thank you very much for all your awareness, it will be very appreciated.

take care,

Sasaki Bags said...

Thank you Sarah. I really gave this a lot of thought and took a deep breath before posting. I hope no one thinks I am comparing the loss of a few homes to the loss of 1000's of lives. But if it were YOUR would your life be affected? Ironically, it wasn't the multimillion $$$ mansions that were destroyed. It was the old family homesteads (from photos I have seen).

Betty Townsend said...

You are an awesome person, Barb...and this truly came from your heart. Years ago my daughter and I needed help and since then, I've had the opportunity to "pay it back".

Mom said...

You ARE an awesome person and I am proud to call you my daughter! I am so proud of the efforts you are making to help your friend. You have always known what it means to "Pay it Forward." I know this comes directly from your heart!
I love you!!!

Sasaki Bags said...

I love you too, mom! I came from some pretty great parents who taught me that if you have something, give something.