a current events update, from someone very out of the loop

Confession. I am horrible with current events. Horrible. I told Todd it would be genius if someone would come up with a weekly show like “24” which told the world happenings of the week in a more palatable format. I realize I sound like a seventh grader not wanting to learn anything unless it’s fun, but I think it would help. At least then I would have another source for news other than the three lead stories that pop up in the sidebar when I’m checking my gmail, or the links people post on facebook to stories. Because unfortunately, my friends, those are the primary sources of my news.
It’s deplorable. But this year I have been getting “World Magazine” (courtesy of course, of my mother-in-law) so things have improved a tad. This week I forced myself to read an article on Haiti. I say “forced” not only because, as I mentioned, news is boring, but also because the pictures made me feel like this would not be an article I would be able to read while eating my raspberry sorbet and then forget about. And I was right. What I read was shocking and unforgettable. I’m sure some of you are actually somewhat informed of world events, but I am going to assume for a second you all are like me and completely ignorant. Here are the things I learned.
– Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, before the 7.1
quake came and demolished everything.
– Six months after the quake, the country was flooded by rain. This destroyed a lot of the work that had already been done on repairs, and many people got cholera (which is still rampant).
– Haiti’s government is horrible, and most of foreign aid (which there has been a LOT Of) has been squandered, wasted, abused, or who knows what.
– It’s been a year since the quake, and the general consensus is that about TWO PERCENT of the rubble has been cleared. (2%! CRAZY!)
– A large portion of the population is infected with diseased water, unemployed, homeless, widowed or orphaned, with nothing to eat. That is not an exaggeration – it’s factual.

Basically, I heard about the quake a year ago and forgot about it. I assumed that things were better, because let’s face it – you are always hearing about this or that catastrophe and things eventually just improve. But in Haiti, they aren’t, and most of the big-money aid from other countries is not helping because of the corrupt government.

So, the obvious questions are, what CAN help, and what should I do (if anything). I’ll tell you what we have done. It’s always hard to know, I think, whether your money to aid organizations is paying for unnecessary 30-page color flyers or some CEO’s plush salary, and how much of it actually goes to rice or bottled water. I was happy to learn that Compassion International ranks in the top 1% of charity organizations for its financial integrity. And I like their vision. They find kids who are hungry, and bring them to a clean, safe center every day for a good meal, basic health care, schooling/vocational help, and to hear that Jesus loves them. If your Compassion kid ends up really becoming a leader, they can attend a Compassion college of sorts to become an adult volunteer in their country.

There are currently 1600 Haitian kids who need sponsorship. It is hard for me think about grieving the loss of $38 a month when the need is so great. I feel it’s a good way to help. Here is the link – you can even pick your own child from pictures. My next step is to actually write this poor kid back when he sends letters so I don’t feel guilty everytime I get one. But let’s not get too ambitious all at once I guess 🙂

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