Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heal the sick?

CNN reports: Cholera kills more than 1500 in Nigeria

Nigeria catches my eye when it's in the news; I've got friends there.  It's like seeing a weather alert for the neighborhood where you kid lives.  Cholera is easily prevented and treated, and it's on the agenda for aid organizations.

In an attempt to be honestly concerned about my fellow man, I went to the World Vision website and inquired about cholera.  It cost me $100.  Now, that is and isn't a lot of money.  It'll barely cover a weekend's goofing off these days.  I won't really miss it, at least not a lot.  On the other hand, it'll buy a heck of a lot in the way of medicine and help in the places where it really matters.  If you can hold that hundred dollars in your hand and ask yourself honestly who needs it most, perhaps you can find a little willingness to sacrifice a bit.  If you consider it long enough to weep, you're not alone.  Our brothers and sisters and their children could use a hand.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not the longest week, but close perhaps. Rich people problems.

In a week consumed by business, my thoughts wander loosely from friend to friend.  A fellow I love is going into the hospital here for surgery; it'll save his life.  In the Ukraine, a friend's mom is in the hospital, but they can't figure out what's wrong; she's failing.  Here, my wife and daughter have their favorite doctor; me too, but he's a different one.  In Sao Tome, most of them won't know a doctor.
She was quite ill, we discovered in April.

In Africa, my friends won't even meet a doctor unless someone takes them to the hospital.  Here in the states, we get annual checkups for things like blood pressure and chemistry, screenings, prescription renewals.  They don't do things like that in Africa, mostly.  Marilyn was admitted to the hospital here a couple of times this fall.  Surgery and some follow-up care.  Expensive, but insurance covered most of it.  Great care, though.  My friends in Africa just die, usually.

Took her to the hospital, then the clinic.
Photos are of a girl we've known for a couple of years; the instigator among the teens that kidnapped me back when.  In Jan, we discovered she was quite ill and not being treated.  Took her to the hospital, then the clinic, then the pharmacy, paid for the medicines.   It was the equivalent of several month's income for a local family.  She's doing well, now.
Healthy & happy again.

So when I find myself struggling through a difficult task at work or tired at the end of the week, I'm reminded that I have a job.  I have health care.  I have two cars and a house and food and a grocery store down the street with dozens of kinds of everything.  I get paid well for my work, more for a day's effort than my friends get paid for a month.  Or three.  My problems are 'rich people problems' my wife reminds me.

My African friends, on the other hand; their problems are real and not easily resolved.

The company I work for is modern, aggressive, image conscious; they do humanitarian work, but they're careful to get credit for it.  They took tentative notice of the things a couple of us have been doing in Africa where we work; scholarships, family rescue, micro-business capital, nutritional assistance, health education.  I told them that for $20,000, they could take all the credit and publicity they wanted.  I need about $50K for the next 5 or so years of work we'd like to do in Sao Tome.  I'd be glad to put their company logo on the effort if they'll pay the bill. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reconciliation? I don't know that reconciliation would have occurred to me.

Thanks to World 
Vision's peacebuilding efforts, many youth in Rwanda have transitioned 
from traumatic childhoods to hopeful futures, like Sharon, Josiane, and 
Albert (left to right).Thanks to World Vision's peace-building efforts, many youth in Rwanda have transitioned from traumatic childhoods to hopeful futures, like Sharon, Josiane, and Albert (left to right).
©2009 Albert Yu/World Vision

Reconciliation?  I don't know that reconciliation would have occurred to me.  Brutality and wickedness wound so deeply, my gut response is that somebody just should kill the bad guys.  The problem, of course, is that justice alone doesn't heal.

World Vision: Bringing healing and reconciliation 

It's been more than 15 years since the Rwandan genocide.  It's not over, but there are some good things happening there.  Some assistance efforts are changing their world. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So just how tough is it to be a kid in the third world?

Well, since this time yesterday, 24,000 kids have died from preventable things like diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. That's about 30 kids who've died since you started reading this article.

Interestingly, they didn't have to die. It wouldn't be hard to keep them alive.

Like the little girl I met at the elementary school I visit when I'm in Africa. It was the Children's Day celebration that sticks in my mind. She's in the pictures I took and printed for the school wall. One of my little friends and I were enjoying the pictures when a teacher pointed her out and gave me the bad news. She'd died of malaria. Another sweet little girl had lost both her parents to malaria as well. I'd met both of them, shook hands with them, laughed with them, and took their pictures. The following year when I came back, one was dead and the other had lost her family and been moved away to live with relatives. They didn't have to die, but for now there's not much in the way of basic health care where they live.

UNICEF ImageRead Isaiah's story of living on the streets in Lagos, Nigeria here:


Digital Diary: Nigerian street children tell their stories of life without security

NEW YORK, USA, 26 December 2007 – Isaiah has spent 5 of his 15 years living on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, the second largest city in Africa. 

It's harder being a kid in poverty than most westerners can imagine. Lots of opportunities to get involved, of course.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Left behind / Deixou para trás ...

As we wrapped up the week, folks stopped by my office to say goodbye.  They're heading out to the Bahamas for work.  What a heart-breaker, right in the middle of some the world's most beautiful beaches and waters.

À medida que encerrou a semana, as pessoas pararam ao meu gabinete para dizer adeus. Eles estão dirigindo-se para as Bahamas para trabalhar. Que um coração quebra, bem no meio de alguns do mundo mais belas praias e águas.
Some others are on their way to Mombasa, Kenya for work .  A harsh but fascinating place.  Like everywhere else we've been, there are some fine folks interested in doing well by others.  That's what we keep telling ourselves.

Alguns outros estão a caminho de Mombaça, no Quênia para trabalhar. Um lugar duro, mas fascinante. Como em qualquer outro lugar nós temos, há algumas pessoas bem interessadas em fazer o bem pelos outros.

Guys checked in with us as they're leaving Djibouti after a couple of blindingly difficult weeks there in the desert.  Flight connection problems in Ethiopia added 30 hours to the return trip; not a fun place to get stuck for a day..  Flat Stanley went with them; hope he survived the ordeal.

Dois dos nossos engenheiros e-mail para nós como eles estão deixando Djibouti após duas semanas de trabalho árduo no deserto. Problemas com o vôo de conexão da Etiópia adicionou 30 horas para a viagem de regresso, não um lugar divertido para ficar preso por um dia .. Flat Stanley foi com eles, espero que ele sobreviveu à provação.
Carrying gathered sticks home for the kitchen fire, these ladies here wouldn't accept a ride because we couldn't take them all at the same time.  They won't leave anyone behind in the desert.
Carregando varas recolhidas em casa para o fogo da cozinha, essas senhoras aqui não aceitaria uma carona, porque não poderia levá-los todos ao mesmo tempo no nosso caminhão. Eles não vão deixar ninguém para trás no deserto.

Me?  I spent the week researching and re-writing an excruciatingly detailed irrelevant report.  All in all, I'd rather be in Africa.

Boy, would I!

Passei a semana pesquisando e reescrever um relatório detalhado excruciatingly irrelevante para um escritório do governo estranhamente gerenciado. Tudo em tudo, eu prefiro ficar na África.

Que eu iria!