[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/19/art.myanmaraid.jpg caption="Victims of Cyclone Nargis rush to get first in line to receive donated goods from a local donor at a monastery outside the capital of Yangon, Myanmar on Monday May 19, 2008."]
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:
Laura Cusumano Blank
World Vision emergency communications officer
I just hung up the phone with Thai Airways. Almost two weeks to the day that I got the "how quickly can you get to Bangkok?" wake-up call, I'm heading back to New York City. It feels like the last time I saw my husband, my apartment, and my favorite corner coffee shop must have been two months ago, but it's only been two weeks.
It's hard to leave this post feeling like there is so much work left to be done in Myanmar. I guess that's the challenge of being a communicator. My job ends when the real work on the ground begins. By then, the story has most likely died away, and yet another emergency has popped up in yet another forgotten corner of the world.
At this time next year, will people still be asking me how to pronounce the name of this country? (For the record, it's MEE-ann-mar). Will they remember how many people were affected by this storm? (At last count, close to 2.5 million). What about the tens of thousands of children who were left orphaned? Where will they be in a year? Who will take care of them?
The tears haven't come yet, but I know they will. I wonder when it will happen? Talking about newly orphaned children, ever growing death counts, and the migrating homeless from the delta region has morbidly become second nature to me. But how can I possibly go home without being moved by the people who are left behind? I'm sure the tears will come when I least expect it – when I'm telling a joke, drinking my corner coffee shop latte, reading a book.
But when they do come, I won't hold back. Because I know that I've suffered little compared to the suffering of the people of Myanmar. And I know that I'd be willing to do this all over again if it meant having the opportunity to be a voice for those who've lost theirs. Give me one more chance to advocate on behalf of the poor, the suffering, the weak, the impoverished, and I'll do this all over again. Even if it means another 7am wake-up call.
Read Laura's post when she arrived in Myanmar. LINK
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