Friday, July 22, 2011

Drought, Famine, and Hurt

Last night I seriously thought I was already in Igamba. It didn't matter how little I tried to move I could not stay cool. I hardly slept, and have been so tired all day. So that means that at this point in the night, my brain isn't working so well.

We haven't had any rain around here in well over a month. After a long winter and very rainy spring, I have to say I'm surprised that it's been so hot and dry. Our once green grass is brown and crunchy. And every plant just seems to be begging for rain. My car is covered in dust and dirt. And the ground is so dry it's starting to crack.

In my email today I received one from a relief organization about a drought in East Africa. It's not something that has hit the front pages of the news. Unless it involves dictators or violent changes in government, news from Africa is rarely deemed front page worthy. Yet, so many lives are being affected.

The drought covers all of East Africa, but is the worst in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. We have gone about a month without rain here, but portions of this area have gone over 2 years with little to no rain. And for families whose lives are sustained by growing crops and raising livestock, this is a big deal. No rain means little to no food for over 10 million people. They are actually close to declaring famine in parts of Somalia due to the food shortages.

It's so easy to think of this sort of thing generally. It's happening to people far away in an area most people are not familiar with. But imagine with me for just a moment that it were happening to us. Imagine that it was your children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews that were dying because you had no food to feed them. Imagine not being able to provide for your family because food costs are rising and you can't work enough to buy food for today let alone tomorrow or the next. Imagine watching your neighbors and friends become sick because they aren't getting the nourishment they need.

I don't want to paint this pathetic picture to make you feel guilty. That's never my intention. My hope is that this will challenge you. So often we (including myself) have such a hard time seeing the world beyond the walls of our home or the boundaries of our town. All we know is what we see, and we become so caught up in our own lives that we become blind to the struggles of others. And I'm not just talking people halfway around the world facing famine. Sometimes we are so blind to the struggles of the person sitting across the aisle from us at church, or the person sitting next to us in class, or our coworkers, family members, and neighbors.

We live in a world that is hurting. What are we doing to ease the pain?

We live in a world that is filled with hunger. What are we doing to provide nourishment?

We live in a world that is surrounded by drought. What are we doing to quench the thirst?

We live in a world flooded in darkness. What are we doing to bring the Light?

- Aly

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