Wednesday, June 6, 2007

1.3 Billion Neighbors

"Sometimes I think, 'If I die, I won't have to see my children suffering as they are.' Sometimes I even think of killing myself. So often I see them crying, hungry; and there I am, without a cent to buy them some bread. I think, ' My God, I can't face it! I'll end my life. I don't want to look any more!" -- Iracema da Silva, resident of a slum in Brazil (excerpt from Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger)

As a new mom, I am overwhelmed with these words above. I hurt for my baby when he only cries for 5 minutes and I have plenty of milk to feed him.

The picture above is of a few of our 1.3 billion neighbors who live in desparate poverty, similiar to Iracema da Silva. And, you may not guess it, but at the bottom of the picture is their meal for the day that they are very proud to have and eager to share. What does your lunch look like? I am sure it is more than this and you will not only have lunch today but probably three meals and even some snacks in between. I am struggling with how to deal with the fact that thirty-four thousand children die every day of hunger and preventable diseases.
Here are a few ways that I think might in some small way help our neighbors:
1. Eat less meat, maybe even become vegetarian. (Meat not only is a luxury to the rest of the world, but also it takes more land to raise cattle than to grown grains and feed grain to the cattle that could feed people.)
2. Support a non-profit organization that helps those living in desparate poverty. (David and I support Made in the Streets, who are going to begin a new program that supports young, single moms who live on the streets in Kenya.)
3. Find a local event that supports our "neighbors." David and I plan to participate in Ellie's Run for Africa.This event is on June 23rd.
Do you have any ideas of how we can live differently to help our neighbors living in poverty?


Carrie, The Modern Housewife said...

These are all great ideas. I'll soon be blogging about 2 fundraisers that I hope will be successful this year.

And on the subject of food for saving the planet.. How about More PB&Js? Learn more about the little PBJ that Could...

Sarah said...

I am not sure that I made it clear in the blog but the 1.3 billion neighbors refers to those who live on less than a dollar a day. However, we should not forget the other two million that live on less than two dollars a day! So maybe I should have said our 3 million neighbors!

david said...

Our grass is getting really brown from the lack of rain. Nonetheless, I can't bring myself to water the lawn. After realizing that the average African household uses/has 5 gallons of water per day and the average American household uses/has 100 gallons of water per day and 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe, clean water, I have trouble using water to make our lawn look nice. I'm sure our neighbors wish we would be more American.

Sherisse said...

Our grass is dying as well for the same reason. We have also decided to stop buying bottled water. Any ideas for where we could send our "bottled water" money?

And I'm going to need help with this meat thing. If Preston was a dinosaur, I'm sure he would be a T-Rex. He claims that red meat is too good to pass up. Maybe you could just "moo" when you see him.

Christy said...

Thanks,Sarah, for challenging us to think about these things. I am sure that the following ideas are very familiar to most of you. We have found that child sponsorship for an at-risk child in a 3rd world country has been a helpful way to have a closer personal connection with helping others. We have a sponsored child through World Vision . We adopted her in honor of Eliza's birth. She has the exact birthday as Eliza. With pictures of her and her drawings, it makes it more tangible to talk with our children about helping Roselin. It's so sweet because Mary Carsen is always wanting to send her things. I hope to sponsor children eventually in honor of our other two girls as well. I know Angie and Greg have had a positive experience with child sponsorship as well. They sponsor through Compassion International . In addition, World Vision and Food for the Poor, as well as many other worthwhile organizations, have gift catalogs for various donations in honor of others. This has become my favorite gift the past couple of years -- for teachers, birthdays, Mother's Day, etc. You can pick items that are of interest to your honoree (i.e, seeds/plants for a needy family in honor of your gardener mom). Do our friends/family really NEED anything else? It is a good way to spread awareness of the inequitable plight of others across our globe. With these gifts though, I am certainly becoming the less popular aunt with my nephews and neice. Oh, well... maybe they'll appreciate it later.