In the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Ecuador, the people of my husband’s home country are on our minds and in our hearts, and we are very much in touch. Today, I am giving them a voice on World Moms Blog…
Beautiful Ecuador. A photo from the hacienda belonging to my husband’s family in Cuenca.
Ecuador is the home of the Galapagos Islands, aromatic coffee, delicious chocolate, and my husband. He was born and raised in Cuenca, a charming colonial city in the mountains. Although we reside in the United States with our two children, my husband always makes it a point that we always stay connected to the place he still refers to as home. We got engaged on his hacienda (family’s land), honeymooned in the Galapagos Islands, and continue to vacation in Ecuador every year. My children love visiting with their abuela and primos and enjoy all the natural splendors that their father’s home country has to offer. Ecuador is always very much in our minds and in our hearts.
So, on April 16th when we heard the news that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country, we were a little rattled ourselves.
We learned that my husband’s family was safe, and although they were over 200 miles away from the epicenter they felt the tremors of the quake. They explained that the ground thunderously shook for over a minute, rattling chandeliers and unhinging doors. It was like nothing they had ever experienced before.
What remains of a gift shop in Manta, Ecuador after a series of recent earthquakes recently in April 2016. Manta is Ecuador’s largest seaport on the Pacific ocean.
The epicenter was located in the coastal region of Ecuador, which includes some port cities, picturesque coastal towns and small fishing communities. Buildings crumbled to the ground, over 600 people were killed and thousands were displaced from their homes. Most of the area impacted is very poor with limited infrastructure, most of which was destroyed. Initial efforts focused on emergency response and rescue. Organizations like the Ecuadorian Red Cross (Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana) along with other civil and governmental organizations were mobilized quickly.
Yellow tape marked “Peligro” warns people of danger after the roof and balcony collapse of a building in Manta, Ecuador after the earthquakes in April 2016.
Based on my experience, this is a small and proud country. People boast about everything Ecuadorian including their fruit, wildlife, history and rich traditions. During this difficult time, they have pulled together to help their fellow compatriotas.
My husband’s family helped stock a mobile hospital that headed to the area immediately after the quake to provide emergency health care. Others provided food, clothing and basic essentials. In the days following the earthquake it became clear that the needs of the people were growing and that the rebuilding process was going to be slow. Access to clean water has become critical. Imagine not having safe water to drink or cook?
Once again, local families and companies in the surrounding areas joined together to provide water treatment equipment to service a small portion of those affected. They are making steps forward, but it’s still a long road ahead. There are many organizations that are still offering assistance in the area, according to our family there. One of them is Oxfam, which is working with the Ecuador government to provide safe water and storage to the area. The organization is also focusing on sanitation measures to prevent water borne diseases, especially among children and senior citizens. My family in Ecuador has seen Oxfam’s work on the ground and asked us to donate. We, in turn, are helping to spread the word.
A collapsed and bent tin roof and damaged building supports lean atop brick rubble in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Manta, Ecuador last month, April 2016.
The phrase si se puede is a phrase that enthusiastic Ecuadorian sports fans chant to support their teams. It means “yes, we can.” This phrase has become the motto of the relief efforts.
From the hearts of my family and the people of Ecuador who are in dire need of clean water in the aftermath of the earthquake, please consider donating to Oxfam to help the people of Ecuador see that the country’s chants of “si se puede” will overcome this natural disaster.
Angela and her husband on honeymoon in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador after they first married in her husband’s home country 10 years ago.
This is an original guest post from a World Moms Blog reader, Angela Vega, who is mom in the USA of two sensitive and curious children who keep her very busy. Before deciding to stay home with her children, Angela worked in the field of marketing and advertising. She earned an undergraduate degree from Villanova University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, where she met her husband.
Photo credits of the earthquake damage and hacienda to Pedro Vega on the ground in Ecuador.
Photo credit to the author for the honeymoon photo.
Next to me in the coffee shop, an elderly lady loudly complains to everyone who cares to listen. How poignant it is, this refugees’ crisis. How she doesn’t understand how nothing can be done to help all those poor people. How entire families are torn for life. How her hair had cost 80 euros. Seventyninepointfive full euros. Scandalous, don’t you think so, miss?
I try to escape her glaring eyes. I’d like to escape and take all of them with me, those refugees. To a world without expensive hairdressers. To a world where their devastating pictures don’t need to travel around social media. To a world where a simple I’m on the run is enough to offer help.
I’m not sure where this world is. It doesn’t seem to be ours. Ours is full of rich self-preservation. I have worked hard for my wealth. I will not share it. I do not wish to be bothered with the misery of others.
Well, I’m more than less disgusted by those I’s.
And still, there I am, blogging about my petty worries. About the difficulties my kids face at their expensive private school. About depression, because my perfect life is not perfect enough. About baking homemade cookies. All the while, somewhere else, another mother has to choose between her own drowning or that of her child. Knowing she doesn’t have a choice, in the end. It will probably be both anyway.
More than ever, my world has two realities. One reality is manageable, the other is immense. The manageable reality is my reference, a framework to enable me to keep functioning. It enables me to get up at a quarter past seven to cut some pieces of imported mango for my precious children. To sigh when looking at overflowing laundry baskets. To nag about an energy-devouring meeting that took longer than expected. It’s the framework that’s keeping me whole. The Frame World.
The other part is bigger and endlessly more complex. It’s the angry, overarching Dome World. In this world I’m the naive, fleet-footed creature that is called out to fight the Great Evil that is hiding in the Dome, where no escape is possible. It’s the theme of many heroic stories, like I love to read them. Lord of the Flee.
The reality of the Dome World today is raw and ruthless. We can try to change the picture of the drowned toddler in an icon, giving him wings and balloons, but it’s too late. It’s too late for all those children who didn’t wash up at the feet of a photographer. We’ve let them down.
There is no escape from this Dome World. You can only bang on the glass wall and try to hide in your own Frame World. But the Frame of those fleeing families has been reduced to firewood. Without a frame they’re adrift. More than literally.
Later today, I will find out once again where I can contribute to help.
Later today. Again, I’m disgusted. Later today, because I’ve promised homemade pizza to my children.
After all, my Frame World is still there.
How do you deal with the discrepancy between your own private life and the tragedies around it? Does your Frame World help keeping you sane or is it rather keeping you from acting?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K @ The Penguin and The Panther. Photo credit: Bart Everson. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
I have a story about being a mother and a refugee.
It was 1949, in the middle of Chinese civil war. A mother trying to escape from the war-torn China got on a refugee boat in Guangzhou with her 3-year-old and 1-year-old.
The boat was sailing to Kaohsiung. Soon after they left the port, the two children started to cry. People on the boat were afraid that the kids crying would attract the communist navy searching for refugees on the sea, and were going to throw the kids into the sea.
The mother fought against those people with all her strength, promising that she would stop the children crying. She took off her blouse, put the two kids under her arms, one on each side, and then put her nipples into the kids’ mouths. Comforted by their mother’s breasts, the children calmed down. The mother kept nursing her children until they arrived in Kaohsiung safely two days later.
The mother in the story was my grandmother. Those two children were my father and my uncle.
I heard the story from my grandmother when I was a little girl. It’s been such a long time that I almost forgot about it, or I never really paid attention to it. I was too young to understand what being a mom, or being a refugee is really like.
Then the #HumanityWashedAshore image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy lay dead on the beach shocked the world. It is reported the boy, Aylan, drowned with his mother and 5-year-old brother on a short run from Turkey to the Greek Island of Kos.
The image shocked me, too. I thought of my 2-year-old, more than that I thought of my grandma. For the first time, I tried to imagine what it really was like for a 20-year-old young mother to get on an over-loaded refugee boat with two toddlers and to continue to breastfeed them for two days in the middle of the sea to flee from violence, oppression and poverty. How hard, or how dangerous it could be? My grandma said, “we could have died.” Now I knew she was serious.
Aylan was not one person. Three more children died last night trying to cross that TWO MILES to safety.
Aylan could be my dad, or my uncle, or any of us. War was never very far away from us. It’s often just one generation or two miles away.
Aylan’s father told The Telegraph, “let this be the last.” I hope so but highly doubt it. History repeats itself. When will we ever learn?
Read more: Things we can do to help. Now.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by To-wen Tseng of California, USA.
Photo credit to Europe Says OXI.
World Mom, Aisha in Nigeria, gets her temperature taken at a stop to check for Ebola while driving her daughter to school in northern Nigeria.
This Giving Tuesday, World Moms Blog contributors from 5 continents are on the ONE Campaign blog speaking out in support to help end Ebola. From Nigeria to Indonesia to Belgium to New Zealand to the USA mothers support donating to help end the Ebola outbreak and provide needed healthcare to those affected.
Check out the full post over at ONE!
Also, the advocacy to #ENDEbola continues on World Moms Blog with the WGirls, an international nonprofit who reach out to the girls and women in their communities in need. In times of global crisis, they also rally to help. Today, WGirls President, Amy Heller, is on the blog talking about the importance of supporting efforts to end Ebola and her organization’s support of Doctors Without Borders to do just that this #GivingTuesday.
We are grateful to support these partnerships to help support the organizations who need our help to contain Ebola this #GivingTuesday!
Photo credit to Aisha Yesufu.