One of my best friends is from Venezuela. She came to the US as a teen, and her English is basically perfect. I say “basically” because she still shortens my name to “Chay” (which frankly, I love), and while she can argue in English just fine, if she’s really mad, her English starts to go. Once she — now famously — yelled at her husband, “I am just a…a…a BIG BALL OF ANGRY!!”
It is such a good freaking descriptor that my husband and I now use it alllllll the time. “You look,” he’ll say, cautiously, “like a big ball of angry right now.”
And I am a big ball of angry right now. I’m angry about Afghanistan. I’m angry about Haiti. Seaweed and snails are growing like crazy in my beloved crystal-clear Lake Independence in Michigan, and I’m angry about climate change and how many times we squandered an opportunity to fix it. I’m angry that this school year was supposed to be about getting back to normal, and instead, we have a very real Delta variant problem that’s being met with a bizarre loosening of mask mandates in many school districts, including Scotti’s.
“Russian roulette,” is how one mother described the upcoming kindergarten year, and, while dramatic, I get it.
Mike and I recently listened to an episode of the Ezra Klein Show, The Good And Bad News About The Delta Variant, where he interviews Dr. Céline Gounder, an epidemiologist at N.Y.U. medical school. The good news is that all of the vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, etc.,) will likely keep us out of the hospital, even if we get the Delta variant. The bad news is that the Delta variant is, on average, 1,000 times more contagious than the old COVID-19 strain. Which means that the way we used to define “contact” — which, if you remember, was being within 6 ft of an infected person for 15 min — is now the equivalent of being within 6ft of an infected person for one second.
So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that an early report from the CDC shows that schools ARE one of the most common settings for Delta variant outbreaks, behind only nursing homes and ahead of correctional facilities.
But whatever: I suspect that in another month or so, these policies will likely change. Once the hospitals are full and kids are sick. Remember those old anti-vaxxers who refused to give their kids MMR shots? And then how some communities experienced measles outbreaks? Yeah, that’s also addressed in the podcast. Turns out that once a community experiences an outbreak…their vaccination rates go back up.
I cannot roll my eyes hard enough.
The tragedy, however, is that kids are the cost.
So I’m trying to channel my big ball of angry into meaningful action (not just eating my body weight in Doritos). I’m going to write letters to the school board in Scotti’s district. Her husband is immunocompromised, and her kids are too young to get vaccinated. I’m hoping that in the next few weeks, the school board does the right thing. I’m also donating to organizations in Haiti and Afghanistan.
One of our Drexel interns, Lunchie, is from Haiti, and immigrated to the US after the 2010 earthquake, when she was only 9 years old. The 2010 earthquake killed over 200,000 people, yet this year’s earthquake is twice as strong. Haiti was already reeling from the assassination of their president a month before, and now has been hit with a tropical storm just days after the earthquake. Clearly, emergency relief is needed. Lunchie wrote about her experience IG and also makes this important point:
“Many organizations are not positioned to do an international development project, and as a result, in the past, many projects were delayed for years due to turnovers, lack of strategy, and internal issues. Most organizations are also not operational in Haiti, which means that donated money has to go through numerous rounds of turnovers. I understand not everyone is able to go to Haiti and help. However, it is pertinent to research the organizations you are donating to in order to ensure your money will be used to provide food, medical supplies, and shelter to ones who’ve lost access to them in Haiti due to the earthquake.”
Here are the organizations Lunchie and I have identified for Haiti relief:
Afghanistan is a little more complicated, but here’s where I ended up:
Quentin Quarantino’s emergency flights — as bizarre as it sounds, this meme artist is working with the US military, IWMF, and other experts (including GOOD/UpWorthy) to get Afghans on the Taliban’s targeted list (and their families) out of Kabul. His original goal was $550K (good for two flights), but this team has now raised $8M.
Women For Afghan Women – Furthermore, this organization is circulating this Google doc with resources/information for anyone actively trying to flee Afghanistan (including Kabul airport maps, links to forms required by welcoming countries, etc.,), as well as sign-up sheets to volunteer for airport pickups, apartment setups, meals, or to serve as an interpreter, etc., Please share with anyone who could make use of this information.
Gang, I’m not feeling the usual fun links and distractions this week. If you can, please consider donating to any of the emergency relief funds listed above.
And D, I love you and your big ball of angry. May we all be blessed with so much passion.