Who else is going to drag me away from the computer and onto a boat for a trip to a lighthouse (with my dog in tow, no less)? Or remind me of all the things I do know when I'm preoccupied with all the things I don't know? A compatible partner is a marvelous, and I hope not a rare, thing.
It's not accurate to say that we nearly lost Virginia--she returned a full week before the earthquake struck in Haiti. But I keep thinking how unlikely it was that she was even there at all. And how quirky life is that she would return safely to pedestrian worries about car batteries and leaky furnace pipes while the people she met and interviewed just days ago literally had their world shaken out from under them.
It was her idea that Haiti's school children need a book that will help boost their pride in their own history and enhance their standing in the world community. And besides, Haiti is just an historically important and complex country whose story is not often told in more than sound bites and cliches. That's why she was on a research trip to Haiti just a week before the earthquake leveled their capital. We now know that most (and hopefully, all) the people she met and traveled with survived unharmed. We don't know yet what their futures hold.
Partnerships will be critical. Will our country be a compatible partner for Haiti to rebuild with? Can we bring more than pity but also bring creativity, respect and strength of vision? This morning another strong aftershock hit that country and my mind moves again to my partner, Virginia, and how worried I know she is about her new friends and colleagues in another country.
Since she's in New Jersey and I'm in the Upper Peninsula I can't drag her off to take a boat ride, but I gave her the knickname "the unstoppable force" for a reason. Once her mind is set on a goal it is not likely to be stopped, even by a force of nature.