I’ve been having a bit of a blogging hiatus since Christmas! This week has been busy, and maybe I haven’t had too much to say either. I’ve been following other blogs but not having time to comment. Hopefully life will settle back down this week. Talking of settling down, I’d really like you all to pray for a friend of ours called Dave. He has had a serious heart complaint for a number of years, which leads to him having heart arrests. He nearly died about 7 years ago now. Today we learnt that he is in a very poorly condition in intensive care following numerous arrests. Please, please could you pray for healing for him, and keep his wife and three children (aged 10-15) in your prayers.
Today, I wanted to also draw you to some thoughtful and provoking blog posts which Sonja has put together about Kenya. Please read them if you haven’t done so already. Sonja challenges her readers:
“So, I struggle with the lack of conversation that I’m hearing in the blogosphere on this subject. Life goes on here in the west. Poor people of color are struggling and dying against one another now, just as they have been struggling and dying against AIDS, parasites, drought, disease, etc. for decades and we have done nothing. Perhaps it would be disingenuous to begin to care now. Perhaps it is we do not know what to say, so we say nothing at all and pour our energies into discussions about books, and quitting time and ministries and the things we know and the things we don’t know, rendering unto Ceasar, etc.”
I think God gave me a real heart for Africa a number of years ago now. I really struggle with the way people live there, as well as other continents, whilst I am here in relative luxury. I often wonder why I was born here in the west and not somewhere like Africa. I must admit that I hate economics and policy which hinders other countries and boosts our own to become even richer.
I know colonial rule has part to do with Africa’s fate at the moment, as does slavery from the past, financial and environmental factors. For this I pray the people of Africa will forgive us for letting them down, and not supporting them as we should. In 2002-2003 I tried to set up a charity to help people suffering from HIV and AIDS in Africa. I wanted to send out simple medicine boxes to them which contained things such as pain killers, which many have no access to. Also my long term aim was to get more antirectroviral drugs to those who needed them. Unfortunately it never took off, there was a lot of red tape, and many “established” organizations (Christian and non-Christian) were not so forth coming in working alongside a new charity. I also learned that the boxes when shipped would probably never arrive with the recipients as a lot of the governmental powers take what they want from shipments first etc.
Governments in Africa can also be a hindrance to the people. We have seen countless examples over the years, more recently Zimbabwe, Somali, Sudan and, now, Kenya. I always struggle with the fact that Mugabe stays in power with Zimbabwe in complete disarray, whist most international governments turn a complete blind eye to him. Maybe if Zimbabwe was a rich oil providing country it would be another story. I’ve learned that what a country has to offer often influences international powers. A good example of this is the antiretroviral drugs needed for HIV. If you look at statistics the countries who receive good supplies of these from richer nations, are usually countries which have oil or gems in them. Countries with no oil, gems or other riches tend to be the countries who are not receiving the help. This really frustrates me.
Personally, what am I doing to help? We sponsor two children in Uganda, and I know the money we send not only gives them an education, but it provides them with clothes, blankets, food for their families, and helps their local community. A few years ago I was privileged enough to work with a group of four people and help to raise $45,000 to bring clean running water to a village in Senegal. With the same group of people we have also helped a village in DR Congo. We try to buy Fairtrade produce when possible. We support a few organizations who work within Africa. We also buy people “alternative” gifts which quite often help people in Africa. And I pray. I know that I don’t pray anywhere near enough as I should, and I pray that God forgives me for that. I know that I could physically do more as well, but I’m not really sure what to do.
I am so saddened when I hear about Kenya, and I really pray that tensions settle down and we don’t see another repeat of other tribal conflicts within Africa. There is so much suffering and injustice in the world at the moment, that I sometimes feel really exasperated by it. My maternal instinct wants to go and change it all, to make it all better, but I don’t know how do. That is the simple truth behind it, I just don’t know what to do.