Light in the Darkness

It has been incredibly heartening to see the positive stories coming out of last week's earthquake in Haiti - the two-month-old baby revived by American doctors, the two-year-old girl pulled from the rubble of her nursery school by British firemen working without their normal equipment, another two-year-old boy rescued by Spanish firemen, and a little girl found by an Australian journalist. Also, to see the impressive instantaneous response from normal Americans - government always give money, but it's much, much more telling how deep the general public will dig into their pockets after such events. Using an ingenious system, they could pledge 10 US dollars to the emergency relief fund just by sending a text message from their mobile phone, to be taken off their bill, a service now also available in the UK (a more modest 5 pounds). US mobile users have so far donated an incredible ten million US dollars, while the Red Cross received a whopping 35 million dollars in less than 48 hours. Crisis, what crisis? Also it has been fascinating, and again, very positive, to see how social and other media have been used - some Facebook groups listed names, addresses, and photos or descriptions, of missing loved ones, while CNN became another information point for those desperate for news, creating an area where families could be 'reunited' - upload photos of the missing, names and pictures of those found, and tributes to the less fortunate. Another service gave a number for people in Haiti to text their location to, so they could be sent information on where to find help directly to their mobile phone. Celebrities haven't wasted any time in helping out. Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and other top tennis players played a charity match in Melbourne yesterday called 'Hit for Haiti, while George Clooney is to host a telethon. Watching the images on TV made me think, as these things always do, how lucky I am to live in a developed country, and not to have to worry about where my drinking water is coming from. Only 54 per cent of Haitians have access to safe drinking water. Yes, back to my favourite topic again - that clear, life-giving liquid. Spain has sent a number of mobile water purifiers to Haiti, which can make 1000 litres safe in a matter of hours, and will be indispensible to the people of Haiti. Sticking with the theme of water, both under the ground and falling from the sky (less so over the past few days in Andalucia, thankfully), climate change is never far from our minds these days - Europe's environment ministers met in Seville last week, and vowed to stick to their guns over cuts in carbon dioxide emissions - 30 per cent by 2020. Let's see if it really happens. Wasn't it wonderful to have such mild temperatures over the weekend? My son was running round the garden barefoot and without a jumper on - in mid-January that seems unthinkable (I´m a friolera, so I was wearing a fleece), especially after such low temperatures recently - and, of course, that controversial recent 'snow'. The weather seems to come in extremes here in Andalucia - either it pours with torrential rain for weeks on end, or it´s incredibly mild for the time of year, or we're hot hot, hot. Every May/June, as the thermometers shoot up, you hear people tutting to each other '¡Que calor', as if it was the first time they'd ever experienced it. And of course, over the Christmas-New Year-Reyes break, it was '¡Que frio!'. So a bit of mild weather for the time of year is most welcome. More please!
Blog published on 18 January 2010