Would you stand by my side?


It’s 10:30 am  and I leave Brian’s house, sluggish and tired from a late night of hosting karaoke. Suffering from a lack of sleep I trudge down to the Spiral Cafe on Craigflower road to grab a coffee and wait for bus. While sitting at the bus stop sipping my coffee I slowly regain consciousness. It’s a beautiful day in Victoria! Warm and sunny, it feels as though spring is finally here. Out of habit, I glance down at my cell and notice my mom & dad have called from Halifax, NS at 5:50 am. Seeing as my parents are getting up in years this concerns me.

Hanging out with mom & dad, Halifax, 2007

Upon checking my phone messages my mother’s gentle voice greets me ” Hi Dear, we just got a call from Tom, there’s a tsunami alert for Victoria, it should hit in two hours, head for higher ground”. Confused, I scan the neighbourhood  for signs of an emergency. Huh? Everything looks fairly normal, the construction workers on the street don’t seem to be concerned, nor do the children playing in the park, and those mothers pushing thier baby strollers down the street don’t seem worried at all…

I call my parents right away to let them know that my brother and I are safe and I am shocked when my dad tells me that an 8.8 earthquake has hit Japan followed by a tsunami the height of 6 – 10 meters. My parents are concerned because the Tsunami will reportedly reach the pacific rim.

Upon arriving home I hop on my computer to find more information. My home page  automatically opens to facebook and I quickly scan the page to see to if my friends have posted news of the disaster.  After sifting through the mass quantity of posts trending Charlie Sheen I finally stumbled upon one post from my friend Deanna stating “Waves reported up Island of about 2 meters with water rising…Port Alberni has been evacuated….We are fine here in Victoria for those who keep sending me messeges.” Thanks Deanna! At least one friend has acknowledged this bit of local news. Turning to Google for more info I quickly search “earthquake in japan”. One of the first articles to surface is titled “Japan quake halts work at Toyota, Nissan, Honda plants”. The article briefly touches on the safety of its workers, but seems to be more concerned with how the earthquake will effect production and economy.  Heres hoping I’ll find some accurate information concerning well being of people of Japan soon…

Are you wondering why I am rambling on about a natural disaster when my blog usually concerns itself with AIDS awareness and people living with HIV/AIDS? Patience my friends, I’ll get there soon!

The news of the earthquake/tsunami this morning was overwhelming. First my thoughts were with the people of Japan, how bad is it? Who has been effected? How are they coping? How will they receive aid?  Then I started to think about how much need there is in the world and while some are in desperate need others lead comfortable lives of indulgence. Great people and great organizations band together to support great causes. They fight to receive support from those holding the money,  but there doesn’t seem to be enough money to go around. Well…thats silly, there seems to be an abundance of money in the world. Isn’t there?  Those of you who know me won’t be surprised to find that I had this thought – “what if we conducted a survey measuring energy spent on consumption vs energy spent on resource sharing aka giving, how much energy is wasted?” followed by this thought “What if money didn’t exist?” If we didn’t use cash currency how would we deal with issues like poverty and disease?  The idealist in me imagines a society based upon values of hunter gatherer society or people living in small communities prior to the industrial revolution, one that embraces community. Would the people in those societies have abandoned a sick or poor family member during that time? Or would they band together to share resources, devoting presious time an energy to care for fellow community members? This last question is important because it corresponds directly with how many people responded to the HIV/AIDS  pandemic in the early 1980’s and also reflects upon how many people relate to people living with HIV/AIDS today.

Ryan White, was expelled from school after being diagnosed with AIDS in 1984

Shortly after committing to this project Brian and I engaged in lengthly discussions as we tried to answer the following questions:

Would I tell my family and friends if I contracted HIV?

How would they respond?

Would they abandon me?

Would they fear me?

How do you feel about these questions?

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