Letter: Are We Prepared?

Dear HL and Readers,

I am a faithful reader of SurvivalBlog and enjoy the links to related articles. I, along with many of you, am seeing the signs of problems ahead. Your readers are preparing and have beans, bullets, and bandages. They are ready, but are they really?

I went to Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. I was part of a Christian mission team who helped with the construction of a home for a family in the Port-au-Prince area. For a period of about eight days, I experienced some incredible things. I slept in a tent inside a walled compound. The top of the concrete wall had broken glass bottles to deter someone from climbing over. There was a guard at the gate twenty-four hours a day. We had rolling blackouts and non-potable water. It was a toss-up as to whether the toilets would flush. However, we were better off than nearly all of the citizens in the area.

The locals were living in tents in the open with no protection. They had no electricity and no bathrooms or running water of any kind. They did not have food to eat, and children would fight over the food we gave them, even a scrap of bread.

The city was under martial law. Seeing armed soldiers from many nations was common. A few days before we arrived, a man was shot in the head and killed just outside the gate of our compound. Why? He was robbed of the cooler of ice cream he was carrying. The people were so hungry that they killed each other for food. A one-pound bag of rice or beans was a meal for a large extended family of about fifteen or twenty people.

Healthcare was virtually nonexistent. The basics of Tylenol, Benadryl, or vitamins were a luxury. Haitians do not know their date of birth. Most children do not live to the age of five. If they do, they are issued a birth certificate. The government waits that long to issue it, because they do not want to waste paper on a child who is going to die. I contracted a virus transmitted by a mosquito bite, but I was not symptomatic until two days after I arrived home. If I had been in Haiti, I would have died from dehydration from a lack of IV fluids.

Why am I telling you all of this? I believe our country could easily be in this state. Do you want to see your wife die during childbirth? Do you want to watch your child die from hunger? Do you want to see your husband die from a simple infection or from a high fever? For those of you who think this could never happen in good old America, you are wrong. All it takes is the right set of circumstances to set the wheels in motion, and we could quickly have the living conditions of a third-world country. Am I fully prepared? No. Am I better prepared than most Americans? Yes. That makes me a target, just like the man with the ice cream. I am glad that all is well with my soul. That is the greatest preparation of all. Let us pray that we will be charitable, but we will not be able to save everyone. Even five years later, the eyes of starving and sick children still haunt me. I couldn’t help them all. Preparing for that may be the greatest preparation of all, although I am not sure how to fully prepare for this aspect of survival. May God bless us and guide us. We need it. Sincerely, – A Child of Christ