Sunday, 24 April 2016

Earthquakes, and yet more earthquakes.

I can't believe I'm blogging about earthquakes again.

It feels as if the earth is very unsettled at the moment. Volcanoes are erupting. There are tremors all round the Pacific rim. And now the huge quakes in Japan and Ecuador.

I'm sure we've all seen the pictures. Sometimes I wonder if we don't see so many pictures that they  lose their capacity to shock. The collapsed buildings. Men and women, their heads thick with dust, weeping in the streets or scrabbling in the rubble with their bare hands searching for missing children.

One of the things I've learned, in all my travelling, is the universality of human needs. All over the world, men and women need people around them to love. We all need enough to eat and a safe roof over our heads at night. We all celebrate our rites of passage (births, deaths and marriages) by eating together, and often with dancing. We all punctuate the year with festivals (more eating and dancing).

Our differences - of skin colour, of gods, of the stories we tell to explain our existence - are insignificant beside the fundamentals of our samenesses.

So these people, hurt and frightened, have the same needs and feelings as you and me.

But what can we do? Weeping into our own beer isn't going to help. Not many of us can leap into a plane and fly across the world to help dig people out or help in the rebuilding.

Some of us can dip into our pockets, spare a pound or two. The house-build project had proved what can be achieved if we all work together.

And some of us can travel to places that - at first glance - would seem uninviting after such a disaster. One of the big lessons from my last trip to Nepal was the need for tourists to carry on visiting - these countries need foreign money now more than ever. So next time you've got the atlas out and are wondering where to go next, maybe it's worth thinking about countries that need you. For the money you spend while you are there all goes into rebuilding an economy - and therefore the lives of families with needs and feelings just like ours.


  1. Encouraging blogs...yes we need tourist

  2. You do so much to bring the reality to us! Keep on blogging!

  3. Jo, you have nailed it as always. These earthquakes are horrific. It's almost unimaginable. I sometimes feel bad that I cannot keep thinking more about these poor folk who need our help, but life gets in the way. As Carol says, you bring the reality to us, and I hope you'll long continue you to do so.

  4. What can we do? Well, you have taken the first step: humanising these people.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Such a good way to approach the whole idea of travelling