Not sure why I’ve chosen to post this today.
I am troubled, deeply, by the billions of people worldwide who will go to bed tonight hungry, fearful for their safety, or sick from disease. These days, it’s not worth mentioning the statistics concerning how many people live on less than $2/day. I even hesitate to use the word “statistics,” since it cheerfully allows us to ignore the very human lives behind the numbers. We know that it’s bad.
Facts and figures like these only serve to dishearten us, to make the problem seem insurmountable. But there are other statistics. Successes against disease and poverty are on the rise, many times on the local level, and the momentum of those successes is carrying over from the international development community onto the streets of America.
In grad school, I worked with The 1010 Project, a humanitarian organization that operates a robust advocacy program in the Denver area to raise awareness about issues of global poverty. Our community-based partners live in Kenya, so we didn’t get to visit very often, but frequent Skype conversations reinforced the intimate relations with those we served.
Case in point: We were speaking to a partner who operates a fish farm. Some thieves had broken in during the night and stolen all of the fish. This was bad news, to be sure, but when asked how he felt about the theft, his response was, “I am not angry that they took the fish. They must have been very hungry.”
That level of self-sacrifice and commitment to the greater good inspires me to help the poorest of the poor. Stories like that need to be spread widely. I am committed to treat all humans as I would like myself to be treated, with dignity, understanding, and compassion. That’s why I try to help.