Editor’s note: World Vision is a Christian-based humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide. Laura Cusumano Blank works for the organization. Here is how she found out she would be traveling to the region to help the victims:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/13/art.waitingforaid2.jpg caption="Waiting to receive aid"]
Laura Cusumano Blank
World Vision emergency communications officer
Last Wednesday morning began with a 7:15 a.m. wake up call and the question – "How quickly can you get on a plane out of JFK to Bangkok?" I pulled my suitcase out of the closet, grabbed my passport, and started throwing some clothes into my bag. Jeans, boots, t-shirts, granola bars.
Within an hour, my boss called back. My ticket had been booked – with no return date – for the next flight leaving for Bangkok. I would be meeting up with a team of communications staff from around the world – Laos, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada – to help coordinate World Vision's media response to the cyclone in Myanmar.
17 hours later, I found myself in the middle of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, exhausted but eager to get started. I had traveled to Bangkok two years ago for vacation, but I never thought I would get the chance to return – and certainly not under these circumstances. Our office, on the 13th floor of a downtown high-rise, has a wall of windows that overlook the city. The sun would set and rise again before I got to sleep that first day.
In my first three days in Bangkok, I slept just 9 hours – and worked 63 hours. Tonight, I'm hoping to get at least 6 before coming back to work. The work is constant and draining – but exhilarating, too. From the moment I landed, I felt like I had been made for this job. My background as a journalist and my interest in humanitarian work had led me to World Vision, and World Vision led me to Bangkok. I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
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