Saturday, April 4, 2009

Something to Ponder

Updated to add: "So, take...these broken links!" Fixed 'em--sorry!

And now on a more serious note, (I KNOW--me?)I been thinking about stuff. At the women's conference I just came back from, a major emphasis was on social justice and concrete ways to make a difference in the world.

Perhaps you are aware that there are some problems with the global economy? A few news programs have recently carried stories about it, I believe. So you might know about that. One aspect of it that has not been so widely publicized (at least, that I've noticed) has been the meltdown's effect on the developing world.

The CEO of Compassion International spoke and said that in effect, the buying power for the average worker in developing countries has been at least halved. When you make $45 a month (not a bad wage for that part of the world) and a 10 kilo bag of rice (about a 2 weeks' supply of food) goes from $15 to $35, you got problems.

He said that mothers in Haiti are feeding their children mud cakes. Mud cakes. And that in Bangladesh, many are subsisting on what is called "rat rice". This is rice that has been snatched by rodents and ferreted away into their nests. People go looking for the nests or rat holes, to get the rice back so they can eat it themselves. He says HIV rates are rising and will continue to, because as currency is devalued, people will trade sex for food.

Compassion, is basically a child sponsorship program that is run through local churches in developing countries. Besides education, food and medical care, sponsorship also provides job training and counseling for the parents of the child. We've been sponsoring a couple children for a few years now, but I am really thinking of how we can do more. I think most people's tendency in times like this--ours included, is to cut back on their spending and their giving, but I've been wondering how that will ultimately effect the poorest of the poor.

It's a big world, and there are hurting people in rich countries, too. But on my worst days, I don't have to steal food from rodents to feed my kids. If you look up "sobering thought" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure this would be an example given. Why am I writing about this? Well, it's just been on mind, it's been challenging me to reach out and do more, and I thought I might pass it on. Not a guilt trip, but an awareness one.

But this I know--God is good. God is love. He cares about the least, the last and the lost. He pays attention to how we treat them. And I don't wanna be ignorant of what's going on in their world. For info on child sponsorship,go here. Or here.

And now, a cute picture of Ava and Nate to cheer you. Mwah!


  1. Wow, That is truly horrifying. And I know I personally fuss over saving money for this and that. We are really so incredibly fortunate. Thanks for that Amy, will check out that link as I ponder too.

  2. Whew. Thanks for this morning's reality check.

  3. Thank you. You are very good at putting things into perspective. I'll check the link out.

  4. p.s. - thank you for the cutes. They made me smile!

    I think you need to check the link in your post - I had a little trouble getting to the compassion website.

  5. Just this weekend I was talking to a guy who works in microfinance for people in developing countries, and he was saying the same things. Definitely sobering.

    And so Compassion Int. is a good charity? I always think the sponsor-a-child things on TV are suspect. And Bsouth is right, your links are broken. Fix it!

  6. Hey guys! Sorry--fixed the links! Thanks for the heads-up. That's what you get for posting while stone drunk. ;)Does ice cream make you drunk?

    And Beck--yes, Compassion and World Vision (which I added a link for) are totally legit. Compassion has been around for at least 50 years, and World Vision for a long time, too. I believe you can also sponsor children through Unicef, for those looking for a more secular option. I tend to like church-based programs, because local churches are woven into the communities there--they're aware of needs on the ground and it's something that whole families are a part of.

  7. What gets me is the role that borders play in all this--both in the way governments respond and in which particular cases of suffering stir people's sense of responsibility.

    If there were families competing with rodents for food in Maryland or Oregon, incredible resources would be brought to bear on the situation--from government, community groups, and individuals. I think most are happy to sacrifice when "our people" are in need. But the enormous question is, Who are "our people?"

    It reminds me of the expert of the law who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. When the discussion turned to "Love your neighbor as yourself," the man asked, "And who is my neighbor?"

    Jesus answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which not only gave an example of above-and-beyond compassion but also cast a hated foreigner as the good neighbor. I think this might be the answer to the "our people" question.