Thursday, January 14, 2010
Memories and Heartbreak
Today has been a tough one for me. Usually I will be on twitter all day talking to all my wonderful supportive friends and engaging in a lot of debates and just generally having a good time. Today was a hard day for me. My husband and I lived overseas for about 9 years of his 15 year (so far) military career. During a small part of our time overseas we were posted in a third world country, excuse me..PC time (country on a road to development). A small country in West Africa called Togo. I learned a lot about things there, I learned what it is to see the meaning of "poor". I learned mostly about myself, about my priorities and I really learned not to ever complain about material things. I also learned more about the human spirit than I ever thought I would. It is really hard to explain but trust me when I tell you. I have seen true human spirit, in the face of nothing, the spirit is hard to kill. While I was in Togo I worked as a Consular Associate at the embassy. I refer to this job as the most rewarding and soul killing job I ever had. One of my jobs at the embassy was to be in charge of what we call the "Warden System". This system is part of American Citizen Services. When you travel abroad or live abroad you are supposed to register at the American Embassy, that way when things go to hell like in Haiti they have a way to locate you and get you to safety or instruct you in what you need to do. It is a very big job, with tons of responsibility and no one I ever met in the State Department takes ACS lightly. It is never more evident in its importance as it is in Haiti at this very moment. I have to tell you that from my experience I would venture to say of the 45,000 Americans in Haiti a huge portion of those will be children living with grandparents. Today I was feeling so much heart ache for all the Haitians as well as the 45,000 est Americans in Haiti. As a country as far as our immigration is concerned, once you are a citizen you are a citizen, we don't have duel citizens, all we recognize is you are an American. The mission of the embassy above all else it to serve the Americans in that country. I know right now there are many State Department Consular Officers/associates and Foreign Service Nationals doing everything they can to find all Americans and get them to safety. I had word today that a Public Diplomacy Officer was still unaccounted for, I hope by now they have been located. The Foreign Service Nationals will work tirelessly without even the knowledge that their own families are safe. Many Americans don't know what goes on in the Embassy we have overseas and right now I can tell you what is going on is a desperate search for survivors, and wounded and the worse, the lost. Please take comfort in knowing they are doing everything they can. My heart is breaking for all in Haiti.