Sunday, June 10, 2007
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:
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.