By now we've probably all already heard the statistic that there are 500,000 children at risk on dying from malnutrition and dehydration in Eastern Africa. I remember how my eyes used to kind of glaze over when I read a statistic like this. Sure it was sad, but don't things like that happen in Africa all the time? It seems like one country or another is always dealing with drought, a dictator or internal strife of some sort.
Somehow becoming a mom has changed the way I feel when I hear half a million children are at risk of dying. My heart literally sinks to my feet. I can't imagine the pain of losing Caleb and I'm sure each woman in the Horn of Africa who watches her child's belly grow more distended by the day, their eyes sink deeper from lack of water has a broken heart no different from my own. She knows there is nothing in her power to end her child's suffering. I'm blessed to be able to feed my child every time he cries for food. I can't imagine the hopelessness of not being able to answer that cry.
Unlike the mom in Somalia, I don't have to remain broken hearted because I do have the power to help change her circumstances. I have the financial means to alleviate her suffering. I can support the aide organizations that are already on the ground there to distribute food and water. Because this isn't just another drought. This is the worst drought in decades. They didn't have just one bad rainy season, they lost an entire year of rainy seasons (there are typically 2 each year). Which means no crops and no water. No food for live stock, no food for people. Just hard, parched ground.
I'm sad to say, I used to find it so easy to ignore this kind of suffering. To feel sad about it, but do nothing because I could turn off the TV and close my eyes to it. Recently however, a post by Shaun Groves during his trip to the Philippines broke me wide open. I've actually tried to write about it 3 or 4 times, but it impacted me so much that I find all the words rushing to my fingers faster than I can type and have given up trying to capture it's impact on one short post.
Basically he asks us to imagine we really could see the suffering going on in the world just by looking outside. What if those in the global community literally were our neighbors? I really can't encourage you enough to click this link and read what Shaun wrote about his experience: Shaun's Story
Go ahead. Really, it's the best part. My post will still be here when you finish.
It's not about feeling guilty that we have so much while others lack the basic necessities of life. It is about realizing that to whom much has been given, much is required. Meeting needs during a crisis is just one way to get involved. There are tons of organizations building wells and developing new varieties of drought resistant plants so that, hopefully, these scenarios will become less frequent. Today though, there are 500,000 children who can't wait that long. Please consider donating.
Compassion International connects children not only with the basic necessities of life, but also with the Gospel. I'm also blown away by how incredibly fiscally responsible this organization is. Click this link to donate to the Drought Relief Fund