Seeing what’s right in front of us


February 14th, 2010

Ideas, and thoughts are rarely linear. Makes me wonder why we try and capture them that way, why we struggle to make order out of chaos. And why we focus on what might be, sometimes avoiding what’s happening right in front of us.

Dave Snowden has written about avoiding reality in favour of a vision. And Johnnie Moore has a good summary here. In my experience, many people, when describing a preferred future simply project the present anyway, making the future bigger and shinier.

So I was interested in this report from Haiti from Tales From the Hood blogger J. In a post called A Measure of Humanity, J. explores the dilemma between planning for the long-term reconstruction of Haiti and providing shelter for people right now. J. writes about this dilemma in a way that brings it into sharp focus. No abstract concepts here. Just human lives.

More than any other emergency response than I have ever personally been part of, the earthquake response in Haiti has been plagued by people telling us to think about the long term now.

I mean, on one hand, who in the world would argue? It’s a total no-brainer. Who would argue with the experts who say that we must plan now for the long term? Who ever would say that taking a long term view to the reconstruction of Haiti is a bad thing?

But I have to get this out there: The earthquake happened one month ago, yesterday, and there are still people sleeping outside, under bed sheets. Maybe we could actually deal with some of the immediate needs before holding conferences and meetings and drawing up detailed plans for the “long term”?

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