Trying to Help is Not so Simple --- Heart Broken Friend

It was learning experience for me also, so let me share this story. It is heart-wrenching for everybody to see and imagine the life of those people. Even if they survived quake and tsunami, they have lost many of their families, valuables, all the things with memories ( photo albums, furniture, homes...) and are suffered from cold inconvenient environment. ( It is getting better, but because of cut off roads, distribution is still far behind. Lunch is just a ball of rice. )

A friend of mine living in Hawaii tried to do something. She is Japanese and naturally tried to do something nice. Wanted to help people in afflicted area. Along with donation, she and her friends decided to make a banner with messages and send that to the site.

Then she was advised not to.... her friend explained why. " Imagine they are trying to survive. Then they get message from heaven like warm, tropical Hawaii. Not now, please." also, there was some blog note written by a survivor of Kobe earthquake ( from now 17 years ago ? ). He has seen volunteer people who came casually expecting to be thanked and just having fun there doing only easy work. That was even worse than the quake experience itself.

His advice was to realize " even if you feel like to do something, just realize you can do nothing and cannot feel real feeling how they are feeling. donate and save energy and pray... that is all . other than that, leave it up to professionals such as Self Defense Force. "

My friend was deeply shocked. She just tried to do something. Yet, I also understand the point.
yes, it is literally SURVIVAL those people are going through. I'm also outsider.... have to admit no power to do. The word of HELP might sound annoying for them. hmmmm. delicate issue.

Another learning day today.


Anonymous said...

It's hard... we, the rest of us, are learning from this as well, on how to help without being rude... we're learning this right now and we as well are having conflicted emotions while re-evaluating how empathy really works, and of course how to change the first reaction's feeling to another more effective. The rest of us are just like little kids, and I cannot help but feel a little ashame of it. :S

Instead of using the word 'help', to use 'love' feels better along with respect.

With the practice I think we'll get better and better at this.

Thanks for this post. :)

Yasuko Watanabe said...

Dear Elle,

Thanks for nice comment. I will do just what I can do really, which is to write here, to work, to help people around me, to gather information, to donate little, to pray....

In any case, communication is important. Like this friend, she learned from her friend through facebook. She announced it and the friend saw it and advised her.