Sunday, June 10, 2007

May Just Posts

justpostmay2007
I could share all kinds of facts about the AIDS crisis in South Africa. I could talk about how South Africa has the highest infection rate in the world, or about how almost a quarter of the population is infected with HIV. Or how 250 babies a day are born HIV positive. But instead I'd like to share a story the good people at Open Arms shared with me a few months ago which summarizes more than anything the reason these children so desperately need our help.

Bob spends time in the townships in the area around Open Arms when he is in South Africa, often because local officials or activists have places they want him to see. One such place was a tiny, filthy shack that housed a mom and her two children. The babies were under the age of three, and both were sick. The mom was sick too, so sick that she was unable to care for her children. They lay dying, some extended relatives trying to do what they could. The little girl, she must have been one or so, was slowly dying, silently. I would imagine crying is futile, these precious beautiful children have learned long ago that crying doesn't bring solace, that there is no solace. There is only endless pain. There was a desire to bring this girl into the care of Open Arms, and Bob was doing what he needed to (there are legal hurdles to cross) and in the midst of the process the little girl died. And with the right care, she could have lived. It's that simple.

Bob carries her picture with him; when we were together he pulled it out and showed her to me, relaying the story. I'll never forget him saying This is why we do what we do. I do it for her. We couldn't save her. We need to do more. He had tears in his eyes when he spoke, his passion so evident I could taste it. He carries her picture everywhere he goes.

There are many stories like this, endless stories of the dozens and dozens of funerals that happen every single weekend, of children living silently and undiscovered with a dead parent for days on end because they do not know what to do. Of countless children living in the streets fending for themselves.

It's impossible for me to truly conceptualize this sort of existence. I have no real way to understand what this hell on earth must be, how people are able to move forward each day in the face of such horror. So all I CAN think is how glad I am there are people trying to do something about it, just as Open Arms is trying to do.

That is why we wanted to turn up the heat this month, to celebrate the six month anniversary of the Just Post and to prove again the power of this place to come together as writers and seekers and put our money where our mouth is. And in true blogosphere fashion we've done something miraculous. We've raised over $1,300 for Open Arms and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. And our fundraising project extends until Monday so if you haven't yet been able to make a donation you have one more day. You can read all about the project here and here. On Tuesday we'll be back to share the grand total as well as thank everyone who participated in getting the word out as we continue to celebrate the six month anniversary of Just Post.

Speaking of, please take a look at all of the beautiful voices sitting around the table.

The Just Writers:

Alejna at Collecting Tokens with a tale of two buildings
Alice with the rise of infant mortality
Andrea with interpreting hate
Bon at Crib Chronicles with Riddle me this
Bangkok Dazed with Behind the Shootings
Chani at Thailand Gal with The more things change... and I am so against censorship
Cinnamon Gurl with Passing by
Crunchy Chicken with low impact week update
Emily at Third Story with Baltimore Stories
Flutter at Fluttercrafts with Talking in Sentences
Jen at One Plus Two with Mistakes were Made, Cut and Run, pt2, Knocking on Heaven's Door, i hold this in my hands
Jennifer at Faking it with Thank you
Jennifer at Under the Ponderosas with Pond
Jess at Oh the Joys! with Fly
Jill at Not So Sage Wisdom with It's in the Blood, pts 1, 2, 3, 4
Julie at The Ravin' Picture Maven with Human Rights? Are they humans? With rights? Or just ex-cons?
KC with medical advice monday commencement
KittenPie with Undressing
Mad Hatter with I am Woman Hear Me Meme and Swervice
Mary Murtz at the Eleventh with Light and Shadow
Mouse with Blogging for LGBT Families and her ongoing Global Warming Wednesday Series
Nakedjen for Your Support for a Marathon Effort
Phantom Scribbler with Steal this Idea
Sandra at Mama Karma (MBT) with Parents for Children's Mental Health, Standing on Mother's Day, and How Old is a Mother?
The Silent K with Mad Spirit Pride
Slouching Mom with Port Authority, the 1970s
Susanne at Creative Mother Thinking with Why it was right not to buy pink shoes
Tabba at Stretched to the Limit with Watching a Rose Bloom in Reverse and Wide-eyed Idealism
Thordora at Vomit Comit with Please tell me this isn't what I think it is
Urban Urchin with What I would have said

Those who keep spreading the wealth:
Alejna
Aliki
Bon
Chani
Cinnamon Gurl
Christine
Flutter
Hel
Kiki
Jen
Jess
KC
Lawyermama
Liv
Mad
Neen
Sandra
Susanne
Tabba

This is our largest Roundtable so far, and we can't do it without all of you. Every month I am humbled by your generosity of spirit (and this month, wallet) as we move forward together to shine a light in all sorts of small corners in our world. Thank you. Without community this wouldn't amount to much of anything, and it's the community that drives it month after month. And the best part is everyone is welcome.

And don't forget to see what Mad has cooked up over at her end of the table before you go.

99 comments:

flutter said...

what a beautiful, heartbreaking story.

cinnamon gurl said...

One that struck me driving around Soweto was the vast number of billboards advertising funeral homes. They were everywhere. Up to that point I hadn't seen great evidence of the AIDS crisis, but that brought it home for me.

Good work on the fundraising!! You two make a fine couple!

kgirl said...

Thanks (again) for this - I have lots of great writitng to catch up on.

slouching mom said...

"of children living silently and undiscovered with a dead parent for days on end because they do not know what to do."

oof. my heart.

Beck said...

This story is really haunting me. My husband and I are still trying to figure out what we can financially do, but this is the sort of charity that I would really love to support.

Christine said...

Thanks jen for all of this. i feel honored to sit at the table with such wonderful people.

thailandchani said...

Great posts.. as always.


Peace,

~Chani

Mad Hatter said...

Thanks Jen. This was a small, haunting personal story that puts a face to this sea of tragedy.

Tabba said...

Jen, there is just so much good here. That I don't even know what to say or how to say it. I just can't wait to get going on all of this reading.

Kyla said...

Weekend reading. :)

I'm so glad that you and Mad are having this anniversary celebration. It is good to be a part of something with so many wonderful people.

Julie Pippert said...

What an amazing roundtable.

I don't like to look too long sometimes at some things, but as your story reminds us, we can never ever stick our heads in the sand.

Redneck Mommy said...

You and Mad are so wonderful.

Good on you for making me think.

Lawyer Mama said...

You & Mad are both wonderful. I just love reading the Just Posts. It reminds me that there are people who care.

Before I had children, after reading this story I would think "Oh, that's so awful." But now I feel just how awful it is.

QT said...

What a heartwrenching story ~ congratulations on a successful six months!

carrie said...

This is why we do it.

I couldn't think of a better reason, and I hope to continue this giving . . .

Carrie

Jenny said...

Wow, wow, wow. It kills me to come here...yet it inspires me to do more.

Thank you for that.

mamatulip said...

Again...I'm so glad you do this. Both of you. Thank you.

Deezee said...

You have corralled and inspired potent and passionate voices, voices that go beyond talk and into action. You (and Mad and the contributors) should be really proud. Really.

KC said...

The passion and spirit behind Open Arms is so amazing. Thank you for bringing their story and their organization to light.

Jenn said...

The pictures that we carry with us; they'll do it every time.

Beautiful post.

Karen Forest said...

Wow. What an accomplishment.

$1300.00! That is great.

Your posts alone inspire so much goodness and change. You are a gifted writer......

alejna said...

Thank you for continuing to make me think, and continuing to make me see. And for moving me to action.

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