Aaaaahhh…….. was my reaction upon reading the insightful and real-life article “Helping Hands Also Expose A NYC Divide” in a recent issue of The New York Times. Images of the widespread destruction and sufferings wrought upon both properties and victims by Superstorm Sandy were just too painful to behold. So were the images from the Sichuan Earthquake to the Indian Ocean Tsunami from our recent past.
In the aftermath of Sandy, New Yorkers have turned out in droves to help the numerous shattered communities. From my visits to the Big Apple, I have found that since 9/11, New Yorkers are warmer and more approachable to visitors. So it is no surprise to see the large number of volunteers drawn to help in relief works.
But all is not calm considering the divergent and misgiving views expressed by those given help and by the volunteer groups. The article brought to the surface the social divide between the haves and the have-nots and the boundaries delineating race, class and culture of this big melting pot that is New York City.
The heart-warming stories from CNN are worth recounting and include:”Tourists become volunteer rescue workers. The connected provide power outlets and Wi-Fi. Performers lift spirits. Photographers preserve images. Doctors work overtime to keep hospitals running and patients alive. Many offered their services in traditional ways — donating money to relief efforts or helping to rebuild homes on the weekend. Others, though, found unorthodox but equally beneficial ways to help.”
Do Good Anyway!
In my part of the world, the NYT article and related comments run parallel to those experienced by my wife and her fellow volunteers when delivering food to the underprivileged and the elderly. Similar human behaviours and challenges in bridging the social divide do prevail! To the volunteers, and future volunteers, whatever the negativity, Do Good Anyway!
“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy” from Desiderata