Being desensitized by so many stories about natural disasters and suffering should not happen, but it does. Every once in a while, though, a story comes along that really hits home. This week I have been totally demoralized by the collapse of approximately 6,900 schools in China, and the loss of so many children. To think that the great majority of them are only children, without brothers or sisters, and that in certain villages this means the loss of an entire generation, is too much for me to grasp. My friend Lily in China has told me that many of the surviving parents will be allowed to have another child, but that won't bring back a lost generation. I am sure the government never foresaw a situation like this when it implemented such strict family planning policies, and even though I know most people favor these policies, it is times like these that they only compound misery.
Here in Ecuador children are overabundant and can be seen and felt everywhere in great moving masses. Although I often wish I could stop them from growing up so fast so that somebody could provide better care and education for so many of them, seeing their laughing faces as they move to and from school still brings a sense of security and joy. Not being able to see or feel hardly any of them while in China caused a lasting impression on me. The society felt all grown up and mature on one hand and futureless and somber on the other. This must make the current tragedy all the more unbearable.
My condolences and prayers for the departed and the survivors.