Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I have no idea how to write this post.

The last couple of mornings, I have found myself reduced to tears for people, mothers, fathers, and especially children, that I have never met.

Part of my usual morning routine is to watch the news while I eat breakfast and wait for Miss T to wake up.  I like the morning news because it is "softer", its not nearly so depressing and violent and after each segment of tough news, a lighter fluff piece follows, evening everything out.  That's how I like it, to be somewhat aware, but not truly affected, because then I would have to do something.  (I know, extremely selfish right?)

The last couple of days have been different.  The news pieces on the famine in Somalia have had a lasting impression on me.  The worst drought in 60 years, a lack of government in a country at civil war with itself for 20 years, and interruption of international aid by Islamic militants have combined to put millions of people in jeopardy.  They have fled their homes, searching for food, assistance, a way out.  Mothers are dying, and when they do, their babies no longer have the option to nurse.  There was a story of one little toddler, not much older than T. His family was able to get him to a medical provider.  At two years old, he weighed 6 pounds.  He was one of the few lucky ones.  If he can continue to get the nourishment he needs, he will live.  That's a big "IF".

The instability in an area known as the most dangerous place on Earth prevents international relief agencies from getting in.  It also prevents media groups from providing information to the rest of the world and so the cries of hunger go unheard.  Militants have forced out relief providers because they weren't Islamic.  Reporters that do venture into this war savaged, desperate land are on the lookout for IED's and fire from AK-47s.  In spite of all this, it appears that some help is getting through.  The US has reduced restrictions on providing aid to areas under al-Qaeda influence, allowing non-government organizations international relief funding.  However, that funding comes with restrictions and lots of red tape.  Direct charitable contributions have the greatest possibility of providing help - that's us.  I feel not just called, but impelled to make a contribution.  But, just making a contribution isn't enough.  I can't just send a check, (the American way, huh?), and go back to sleeping at night.  That's why I'm sharing this post. 

What can you do?  I was eating breakfast while I watch a news report on people starving.  I was eating a vegetarian breakfast sandwich because I can afford to turn down an entire food group.  How ridiculous is that?  This link provides a listing of nearly 50 organizations that are providing help to Somalia, as well as Kenya and Ethiopia.  The organizations range from the Red Cross, to Action Against Hunger, to Christian, Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic relief agencies. 

Think about what you can give.  Think about it over your next lunch that you purchase from the sandwich shop down the street.  Think about it over dinner tonight with your family or friends.  Think about it over that extra appetizer that you ordered and now wish you hadn't because you are so stuffed you can barely move.  Be thankful for what you have.  Everyday, every meal, be thankful that you have choices of foods to eat, that you can walk down the aisles of an overly air conditioned grocery store and see rows and rows of brightly colored boxes on the shelves.  Even if you can't afford all the food items you want, be thankful that your government (as distressing as it can be at times) cares for its people and provides food for those who can't afford it.  Personally, we were one of those families who received assistance for food when I was a kid.  I sometimes joke about the block of "government cheese" that we used to get and had to slice ourselves.  I am so thankful for that block of cheese.

As I started, I have no idea how to end.  I'll leave you with these links to more information.


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