AFTER the tragedy at the Sago mine, it seemed the world opened its heart to West Virginia. Letters and e-mails poured in from as far away as New Zealand from people offering their sympathy and their prayers. And again, after the loss of another two miners in Melville, the outpouring from the rest of the world was touching.Now comes a reminder that tragedy strikes everywhere, as we learn that at least 11 people were killed Monday in Nairobi in the collapse of a building under construction. Rescue workers are frantically trying to free others from the debris and 75 people have been admitted to a hospital with injuries.
Of course, the world is so vast that tragic events are always happening somewhere, and it’s easy to become hardened to stories of others’ suffering. That’s why it was so moving, as events unfolded in Sago and Melville, to hear from people far away that they were watching, praying and grieving with the families and friends of the West Virginia miners. It made a difference.Knowing that, perhaps West Virginians could spare a few moments to stop and think of the workers in Nairobi who have also died or been injured doing dangerous work, those who still may be rescued and those who are working to reach them.
One unexpected blessing of the electronic age is this ability to reach out across the world to make strangers feel they are not alone. If anyone in West Virginia is moved to express sympathy in this tragedy, e-mail letters can be addressed to the East African Standard at firstname.lastname@example.org.