I was on cnn.com as long as I could take it, watching the video and reading about the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina. I am trying not to cry as I write this, trying not to disrupt the other people in the computer lab with the sobs that surely are deserved.
It is especially hard to be away from your country when disaster strikes. There is some obligation in my heart---I should be home, mourning with the rest of my country, helping how I can. And yet I am here, in Honduras, watching video clips of bodies covered with white sheets and old women screaming for someone to help them. I cannot help these people.
Then, of course, I remember where I am and I remember why these video clips seem familiar to me, why these horrors seem like something I have seen before. I have seen many of these things before--here in Honduras, people live like this everyday. People live with sewage running through their yard, eating spoiled food if they have food at all. Parents abandon their children because they feel helpless, they cannot feed them. People here live without reliable police protection, without clean water, without adequate shelter. The reality is, the scenes on the streets of New Orleans are tragically like a normal day on certain streets in Tegucigalpa.
Still, this doesn´t lessen the pain I feel at reading the accounts of people on the streets, the fear and vulnerability I see in their eyes on the videos. I mourn deeply for the lives lost and the lives being lived in the horror that is the wake of Katrina. It is an indescribably horrible thing, this chaos and disaster and my heart and prayers are with everyone affected by the hurricane.