Like the people in and around Ziarat.
It's a town in Pakistan's Ziarat District.
Disaster Hits the Neighborhood: Earthquake in ZiaratLike most out-of-the way places, outlying districts in Pakistan only get in the news when something awful happens. For Ziarat this week, it was an earthquake. It looks like upwards of 150 people were killed, and 10,000 can't go home: not yet.
One source says that Zirat, the town, is (or was) home to 733 people, another says that about 2,900 live within 7 kilometers (about four and a third miles). That makes it a bit smaller than the town I live in, here in Minnesota (about 4,000 in town, another 1,000 in the township).
Wikipedia's article on Ziarat makes the place sound a lot like home: "...The weather is really pleasant during summer time and the local people are hospitable, but in winter the weather is severe and it is more difficult to survive...."
There are differences, of course: Minnesota has more lakes, the Ziarat District has mountains, and about 99% of the people there follow Islam.
Still, it's easier for me to identify with someone like Raz Mohammed, than many Americans who live in places like Los Angeles or New York.
"I rushed toward them but the roof of my own room collapsed and the main iron support hit me," he said to an AP reporter. "That thing broke my back and I am in severe pain but thank God my children and relatives are safe."
With a broken back and severe pain, it's "thank God my children and relatives are safe."
So, What am I Doing About Ziarat?Individually, not all that much. I live on the other side of the planet, was laid off over two years ago, can't divert shipments of food and medical supplies to Pakistan, and wouldn't be that much help if I found a way to travel there.
I have, however, given to Missionaries of Charity in the past, and, God willing, will do so again. Mother Teresa of Calcutta's outfit isn't as high-profile as some, but they get the job done.
Missionaries of Charity, Dominican Sisters, and Getting the Job DoneAfter the big earthquake in 2005, sisters of the Missionaries of Charity took care of the wounded in Rawalpindi's Holy Family Hospital. So many people were hurt, the order re-assigned an additional three sisters to that unit.
The Missionaries of Charity weren't the only ones helping Faisalabad, of course. "Catholics in the poorest areas of Faisalabad diocese have given 'food, quilts and a little money' to Mgr Coutts, bishop and national Caritas director. For the bishop, this is a 'magnificent example of generosity'. " (AsiaNews.it)
South and west of Faisalabad, Dominicans of the convent of Santa Maria of Sahiwal wound up with a room in the cathedral that looked like a storeroom. Human Development Net had done a collection drive. Getting so many supplies to the right people, ASAP, was a major logistics operation. So, the Dominican sisters were asked to help. That way, donors knew that what was given would get distributed "as quickly as possible and to those in most need." (AsiaNews.it)
And, of course, there's Catholic Relief ServicesThat's the Catholic Church in America's 800-pound gorilla of relief services. Big. Official. Pretty well-funded. And, as far as I can tell, effective.
Me? Well, I Can PrayObviously effective? Maybe not. That's not the point. It's something I can do, and have done.
On a related matter: I don't pray to change God's mind: to make Him see things my way. I pray to conform my mind to His will. I'm not very good at that, but I try. I have to: it's in the rules.