Doing my part

I live in a borrowed land.  It is a land where the values of life are not weighed easily.  The mundane choices of each day cannot be simplified into “Do have a latte or a cappuccino?”  “Do I wear the brown shoes or the black ones?”

Instead the daily decisions of life here for many include questions like “How much must I sell myself for to buy food for the week?”  “Do I pay rent or buy something for dinner?”  And for some the question has been “Do I take the healthy children and find food & shelter leaving the sick behind, or do we all stay here and die together?”

No parent or person should have to make choices like this.  I believe that we all have innate value given to us by our Creator.  He desires more for us than this. And to that end. so that none will lack, He put us in community with one another.  We were meant to live in relationship with one another, passing on the blessings we have received so that others too may share in the joy of abundant life.

But we don’t, and we all have our reasons and excuses.  I cannot blame others for faults that I have myself.  Yet I hear statistics like “…22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” (source) and I realize, I MUST be part of the solution.  But how?  It seems so large a problem, my little bit that I can do is not enough.

Then I am reminded of the story that the late Wangari Maathai told about the hummingbird.  It’s not about how much you do, its whether or not you did your part.  So I’m doing mine.  You can do your part by participating in the “Africa Response”.  If you text “ACTNOW” to 48510, you can donate $10.  Get 5 friends to join you and collectively you have fed a family for a month.

We use social media to invite people to a party, or share a funny story.  Let’s also use it to make a difference, and actively be the change we want to see.

Being grateful

Its raining again, I could complain about the mud, cold and inconvenience caused by the rain, but I won’t.  Instead I will be grateful and pray that it rains in areas other than Nairobi so that there will be abundant food crops and water to drink.

I’ve lost weight.  Instead of complaining about the fact that my clothes are too big, or that I have to deal with the hassle of taking them to the tailor to be reduced, I will appreciate the fact that I can afford to do it, and that I have clothes.

water bottle sandals

photo courtesy of Facebook

Take a look at social media and you’ll find many people counting down the days, or using the alphabet to share what they are thankful for.  Here in Kenya, there are reminders each and every time I walk out of my door. God’s grace and mercy have placed me where I can feast in the midst of famine, water in the wasteland, plenty amongst poverty.

Yes, we Americans take one day in November to remember to give thanks for the abundant blessings in our lives and this is good.  Yet in the midst of the feast on your table remember not everyone can enjoy what you do.  The news is reporting stories of people in New England still without power because of the early snow, one lady even saying she felt “abandoned.”  I’ll admit I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for her, in fact my reaction was to comment “Stop being selfish & make your life about others.”

Those that are in lack are not just here in Kenya or Africa.  A friend posted a blog about comparing the lines for a homeless shelter vs. a gourmet donut shop.  So this November and the coming holiday season can I encourage you to make your life about others?  You can give your cash – that’s sometimes easier, but I encourage you to give of your time and talent too.  Because just maybe, those that seem to have nothing will give something back to you.

Famine Relief

child victim of famineIf you don’t know that there is a famine in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia) then you must be living under a rock and are not reading this blog.  Anyway, most of the news has been focused on Somalia and their refugees fleeing into Kenya.  The Dadaab refugee camp is now the third largest city in Kenya. Shocking statistics I know, yet this is not the full story.

There is a famine because of a drought and lack of food.  This lack of food is causing food prices around the country to escalate at alarming rates and people are having to make some very hard decisions.  Do I pay the school fees or

food delivery to family

buy food?  It is a decision that no parent should have to make and it is definitely a foreign one to most Westerners (school is free for most of us). It is not only those on the evening news who are being severely impacted by the famine.  Here’s a news article that can help you understand.

So, in order to help people in our spheres of influence, DOVE Africa has been doing some relief distributions into some of the areas that are not in the media spotlight.  Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to accompany one of those distributions into some of the slums and poverty

fixing the flat

stricken areas of Nairobi.  We were able to deliver over half a ton of food (10 kg beans, 10 kg maize, 10 kg maize flour plus cooking fat and salt) to sixteen homes around the city.

Though we suffered a puncture, heard “how are you” and “Mzungu!” too many times tocount, we were able to see 15 families benefitted by the generosity of people in the West.  Yes we can help relieve some of the immediate suffering, but there still remains the question, how do we prevent from having to go through this again 10 years? 5 years? 3 years?  What are the long-term solutions?  I admit I don’t have all the answers.  Tree planting projects to help increase rainfall, borehole (well) projects help with irrigation, training of better farming techniques all have their place… Yet unless there is a heart transformation among people and government leaders all the behavior modification we try will ultimately fail.

We must learn to truly live by the axiom – do more for others than we do for self – if we truly want to learn how to live in harmony with each other and steward the world that our Creator has given to us to rule.

my delivery