Their parents do much more, of course. If you think about all the work involved in taking care of all those kids, there's so much laundry and meals and school attendance and activities. If you try just to imagine all the groceries, it's pretty impressive.
Then you imagine them sitting down with their families to eat and talk at the end of the day. It's worth all the effort, of course.
Now, imagine those same families suddenly moved to a world where there aren't any grocery stores. Imagine the parents now with no jobs, no wealth, and no ability to change things.
This precious young lady is a friend of ours. She's the youngest in her family of nine and they live in eastern Africa. They're gracious, hospitable, and hard-working. Magnificent folks, really.
About 15% of the world lives like she does. An income equivalent of at most $2 per person per day is the common circumstance. It's the same for most children where she lives.
Things you might do if you're inclined to make a difference:
- Go. Go see for yourself. Across town or across the ocean. Stay long enough to get to know some folks. Then go again if you can.
- Give. Figure out how much is generous. Then double that. If it isn't difficult, there's no sacrifice, and you're unchanged. Include your children in the discussion; that's essential. Re-work your budget for next year and increase your giving again. Give until you have to adjust your comfortable lifestyle to keep it up. Do that from now on.
- Help. Find out where the practical needs are and pitch in; work with those who are effective. (World Vision, UNHCR, UNICEF, Salvation Army, and churches often have local and international assistance work)
- Hope. Push back the hopelessness for just one family by giving them a hand up. Or two families. Or ten.
- Learn. Study deeply enough to get past your emotional response and get practical with your efforts. Helping without hurting isn't as easy as it sounds. Pity isn't helpful. Friendship is.
Friends of ours since the early days, three here
are siblings; can you pick them out?
(click for larger version)
Kids in Kenya with food
provided by the churches.
Rethink, adjust, do differently. Or not.
Don't let me persuade you; go see for yourself! It's a life-changer and includes more joy than you can imagine! :)
The following is a quote from “Africans – Altered States, Ordinary Miracles” by Richard Dowden.
“If you go you will find most Africans friendly. gentle and infinitely polite. You will frequently be humbled by African generosity. Africans have in abundance what we call social skills. These are not formally taught or learned. There is no click on have-a-nice-day smile in Africa. Africans meet, greet and talk, look you in the eye and empathize, hold hands and embrace, share and accept from others without twitchy self-consciousness. All these things are as natural as music in Africa.
You might appreciate The Life of Samuel.