Fulfilling a dream was bitter-sweet: the state language of
The corruption and degradation witnessed was mind-boggling. The population is so decimated by AIDS that many villages only have scant numbers of adults (or nearly adults) and all of them have hordes of orphaned, hungry children. A cultural adaptation to this phenomenon is illustrated by the children calling any female who is willing to help take care of them "tia", or "Auntie". Some of these care-giver angels are only teenagers themselves. Another evil reality looms darkly; eventually these same young women must venture out of the dubious safety of their village to supplement meager home gardens and milking goats by walking to the nearest town market. Scavenging for firewood closer to home can be equally hazardous; always the threat of violent rape upon any unaccompanied female is a cruel companion to the tragedy that is abject poverty and plague in a land that is literally the richest on earth. The generous cycle of fatherless AIDS babies is assured a place at the table of want.
Today on CNN I saw part of a documentary entitled, "Living With Corruption" about similar issues which oppress
When corruption pervades every single aspect of the social structure, there is no way to excise it for the cancer that it is. It is like an ill patient advancing to the fatal stage as multiple vital organs begin shutting-down. Where's the Doctor?
Now more than ever in the history of the world, good people everywhere feel compassion and charity and frequently respond to need around the globe. Some relief organizations are more successful than others in achieving a high level of efficiency; they have avoided CEO’s remodeling private mansions and can actually distribute the goods they deliver. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints works quickly and quietly within select international relief agencies – including a Muslim agency, to get food, blankets, medicine and equipment where it needs to go in a hostile environment.
There are also many brilliant acts of goodness and enormous bravery sparkling within the darkness of these sinking societies. Men and women who, like the widow of Zarephath, give and give again on faith to others when there is so desperately little to give – or who speak up for justice when doing so is a death-wish. There are impoverished men who never give up trying to provide for their wife and children, and who do not abandon them but find motivation each day to do the honorable thing – and mothers, who once abandoned or widowed, give their all to protecting and caring for their children in the midst of inhuman conditions. I think the prayers of these oppressed in whatever language and addressed to whatever deity in name pierce the Great Heart of Heaven.
It doesn’t sound intellectual, and sociologists would roll their eyes along with human rights advocates and political junkies...but isn’t God the great triage answer? And beyond stopping the bleeding – He alone can HEAL.
I don’t know how the suffering in the jewel that is
That day of justice for all the world will come. I know it will. As much as we feel helpless to really make a difference in the world condition and as much as we hope for success and happiness in our own families, we DO make a difference! There are little miracles all around us every day that point toward the culminating powers of good and evil facing off at long last – and there’s a clear winner in that story.
The Jehovah Witness lady that visits regularly is getting frustrated with me. She seems confused when I express hope. The Bible verse selected more often is to show me that God will have His vengeance on the wicked. She does not share my observations of the rising good in the world, but seems to be in a ‘lock and load’ mode of ‘us’ against ‘them’. In spite of my cheerful alliance with her about the goodness of our Lord, I think I am one of ‘them’. I wonder if she has ever thought about Africa.