Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An eye opener

A fellow church member recently spent a week in Haiti, the purpose of which was to see for herself the plight of this, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. She attended a conference in which various church and other aid organizations discussed how they can coordinate their efforts to help. We often hear of the problems of this and many other nations in the media, but after our Sunday service, when Lisa shared her experiences with a group of us, it somehow became more “real” and not so distant.

Another friend was telling me that a mutual acquaintance of ours, a renowned expert on tropical diseases, was extremely concerned about the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, and the effect on southern Africa this could have.

I get so frustrated when I think of various governments who cannot (or do not want to) do anything to improve the plight of their citizens, yet seem to find money to keep themselves and their hangers-on in comparative luxury as well as to equip and organize an army to force their own ideals. I'm not suggesting this is the case in Haiti, but given that nearly 60% of that country's economy comes from US, Canadian and EU aid, there surely is something wrong.

There is so much hunger, poverty and injustice in this world, where do we start? I try not to be controversial or preach on this blog, but apart from the previous paragraph there is nothing controversial about millions living on less than a dollar a day - it's a fact. Perhaps we should give more than a thought and a prayer, although we should do that, but give practical help, in whatever way we can - buying “Fair Trade” products whenever possible, by stopping and thinking before cancelling or reducing our charitable gifts, etc. It is even more important in these times of economic recession. Maybe we haven’t much to spare, but “every little helps”.

Thanks Lisa for opening my eyes even wider and to my daughter-in-law Ellie for her comments on the previous posting and for giving me the encouragement to post this one.

. . . . Oh, and when you switch on your Christmas lights, or enjoy those in your neighborhood, perhaps you might just give a second or two to think of those who haven't even one electric light bulb.

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