I was picked up at the Edmonton airport in Alberta, Canada yesterday by my friend Karen. On the drive to the hotel I peppered her with questions about her narrow escape from the Haiti earthquake.
It’s an incredible story of “coincidences” that saved her life, but it’s her story so I won’t tell it. Not much of it.
At one point she and her team from Compassion Canada were camped out on the lawn and in cars at the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince. After a couple days they were sent home to Canada. But they didn’t want to leave. They wanted to stay and help. Help anybody. Do something. Anything.
That’s what compassionate people want when others are suffering.
But the embassy wouldn’t allow it.
If Karen’s team stayed they would need security. They would need water and food.
Security was needed to protect the doctors and nurses and firefighters and engineers saving lives.
Water and food were needed to keep those workers and saved lives living.
Staying to help would hurt Haiti.
I’m getting e-mails from people asking me to help them get to Haiti. I’m thanking every one of them for being so compassionate. But I’m also suggesting they stay home unless they’re a doctor, nurse, professional rescue worker or engineer.
Haiti is a tiny country with little water and food and space. Its people are in need of very specific critical care right now. The time will come when your youth group or mission team will be needed to build, paint, teach, dig. But for now, listen to Karen and the Red Cross and a host of other first-responders on the ground there: Don’t hurt Haiti. Stay home.
If you’re moved to do something immediately, then give.