Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Can We Do?

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed some news articles concerning the famine that is devastating parts of East Africa.  I have to admit that it's really hard to click on the links and actually read the articles and study the photos.  Looking intently, and allowing myself the space and emotional energy to sit in the truth of the suffering and misery of others, interrupts my thinking about fun things like a new school year, an upcoming activity, or a latest purchase.  But once I dare to take a look, it's hard to turn away.

I have so many questions:
Why is this happening?  
How would I handle this situation if I were in the shoes of one of these women in the pictures? 
What can I do to help?

And what can we do together to bring aid to these people?  For now, maybe helping means donating money or praying for rain.  But perhaps we also need to take a look upstream and make some changes to keep this situation from becoming a more regular occurrence.  I wonder how much our daily practices affect the climate, causing the drought that results in food shortages.

Below are the link to a set of photos from the Atlantic as well as a thought-provoking caption from one of the photos.  Please feel free to comment with any reflections or ideas for ways that we can take action.

Since drought gripped the Horn of Africa, and especially since famine was declared in parts of Somalia, the international aid industry has swept in and out of refugee camps and remote hamlets in branded planes and snaking lines of white 4x4s. This humanitarian, diplomatic and media circus is necessary every time people go hungry in Africa, analysts say, because governments - both African and foreign - rarely respond early enough to looming catastrophes. Combine that with an often simplistic explanation of the causes of famine, and a growing band of aid critics say parts of Africa are doomed to a never-ending cycle of ignored early warnings, media appeals and emergency U.N. feeding - rather than a transition to lasting self-sufficiency. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Remembering Rachel

By now, you've likely heard the story of 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith, who decided to forego birthday gifts, asking friends and family to donate money to charity:water.  Read more about her story here.

As an update, her fundraising page shows that she's raised more than $850,000 at this point.  This money will be used for clean water projects that will change the lives of thousands of people, even saving the lives of some.  And her story has showcased the water crisis and the need for people to give generously to better the lives of others.  It's inspiring to remember how one seemingly small decision made in love can have a long-lasting and life-changing impact.


After an hour's-long morning run
After sitting in the strength-draining sun
After a year of responding to others' requests
The ocean's water cools us and comforts us
It wraps its long-reaching arms around us and urges us to rest...

And to have fun!
It's the source of joy...and hours of entertainment
Laughter, screaming, running, splashing
It commands us to play and to create

The water's rhythmic sounds calm this anxious heart
Its glimmering beauty elicits hope
Its abundance produces gratitude, welling up inside of me
I sit in wonder, allowing the refreshing tide to wash over me
Changing, renewing, recharging

Get Ready to Go Forth

Tomorrow Levi's will introduce a campaign on facebook, encouraging its fans to support

See more of the story here, and get ready to go forth!