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Half a World Away

Lacy Lett Modified: June 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm •  Published: June 1, 2013

I’ve been waking up early every morning to enjoy some coffee, watch the news and go for a work out. Today I made my coffee and turned it to CNN. Pierce Morgan was on talking to storm chasers in Oklahoma City. Live footage of tornadoes was on, and they were in El Reno headed for OKC. My heart sank. It hit me that my father is in Yukon because it’s 8:30 p.m. CT (7:30 am the next day Dhaka time), and he’s at work. I started balling and pacing around the hotel room knowing I’m half a world away from my family who needs help. I called my father to no avail. I called their home number only to find a busy signal. I called my sister and got no answer. I tried multiple times and finally my sister answered. She was hiding in her closet with her dog. She said the power was out and there was a big tree that blew over in her driveway. Since she had no access to television I let her know where the tornado was and that she should be in the clear. Weird to think I’m thousands upon thousands of miles away from Oklahoma, but had more information about my sister’s safety than she had. Amara told me she talked to my parents, and they were okay. My dad was on the road to go home and turned back around after all of the traffic. I eventually got ahold of him and sat on the phone as he tried to figure out the maze of his flooded neighborhood with zero lights except the flashlights of neighbors walking the streets to see the damage done by the winds of Mother Nature. My dad was able to drive home safely. Not everyone had that ability. Nine deaths confirmed so far. Many of which were due to sitting in the insane amount of traffic I saw on my television half a world away. I felt helpless only able to read on Twitter and watch on CNN what was happening in my hometown.

Photo by Brent Weber
Photo by Brent Weber

I also feel the sense of helplessness watching the children walking the streets of Dhaka begging for money so they can give it all to the mafia who hired them. If they don’t meet the quota, I’m told they will be punished severely. It’s the helplessness I feel when I see the dilapidated buildings dozens are living in seemingly moments away from the walls caving in. I keep hearing the USA being called a “dream land” so many want to take reprieve, but cannot. They want to experience more, and many deserve to experience that because they are talented and the hardest working people you will meet. I leave tomorrow, and I will feel the same helplessness I did today with the tornadoes in Oklahoma: half a world away.