Lessons I Learned from Disaster

November 2005
by Sandra Angelo

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Two years ago I was
completely wiped out by a disaster like Katrina. The San Diego Cedar Fires
destroyed both my business and my home. Now I know firsthand that recovery is
not a short-term mission. My business is still extremely wobbly. In fact,
having assigned someone to run it so that I could get my life back, I’ve been
managing it again for only a few months. Rebuilding takes a long time. I lost
more than 900 pieces of original art, the masters for my videos, books, and TV
shows, and virtually all my possessions.

Because of my own experiences, I
have pointers to share with PMA members both about how to help disaster victims
over the long haul and about how to prepare for disaster.

How to Help

Ask
people what they need. I often
received things I didn’t need, which became a new problem—what to do with all
this stuff when I didn’t even have a home.

Even
if you can’t do a lot, do a little.
Just as with Humpty Dumpty, it takes all the king’s horses and all the king’s
men and women to put things back together. Many people gave me just a little
but exactly what I needed, at exactly the right time. My faith leads me to
believe those were kisses on the cheek from God.

Donate
to relief organizations that are faith based. They are often less encumbered by

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