Several years ago, my family "adopted" a young adult from Japan who had moved to our city (New Orleans) without any relatives or friends in this country. She became my sister. I've mentioned her here in the past, using her nickname: Neko-chan.
She's lived with us, celebrated with us, cried with us...She even helped care for me when I was going through my cancer treatments. She was here when Hurricane Katrina struck. Afterward, before I could even get there, she arrived at our parents house to help clean out the hurricane damaged interior and collecting whatever family heirlooms and keepsakes that could be salvaged. Hurricane Katrina was one of the hardest ordeals I've ever faced. We knew people who lost their homes, people who had to beg for food and went without until the government finally decided to help, and even people who died. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had my sister there by my side.
Now, her home country is going through an even bigger disaster and it has devastated her. Fortunately, her family over there is safe for the time being, but of course she has friends, acquaintances and former colleagues who are still unaccounted for. It kills me that I can't go through this with her and feel her pain as acutely as she does. I feel as if I owe it to her to do for her family all of the things that she has done for us here.