Friday, February 01, 2008

If You've Ever Wondered What "Injustice" Is....

This is injustice:

Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt

It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.



When I read something like this I wonder why our nation does nothing to assist these people trapped in unbelievable, horrific poverty?

If we will send troops to Iraq to rescue people from a genocidal dictator's rule, why wouldn't we send food and resources to help women and children who are literally eating dirt to survive?

"He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" -GOD, speaking of King Josiah in Jeremiah 22:16

I cannot understand how we can have a President who, by his own admission, follows Christ, and yet our Nation turns a blind eye to the suffering in Uganda, Darfur, Kenya, Haiti, and Rwanda.

Those nations are undergoing massive genocide, horrific poverty and their people are committing unspeakable atrocities. Still, in most cases our government could more successfully stop the violence, end the poverty and bring relief to the suffering in these nations than we could ever hope to duplicate in the Middle East.

"All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." - Galatians 2:10

Perhaps the reason why we don't send troops to these nations or exert great political pressure on these corrupt Governments is because they are not oil-rich nations whose stability directly impacts our own fragile economy?

In the end, our interests are selfish. We don't really care about those people in Iraq who are suffering, we care about Americans who need gas to fill their Lexus SUV tomorrow morning.

Those people who are living in Hell on Earth over in the Sudan, or Haiti, or Uganda? Our Government can only respond, "Let them eat dirt."

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth."
-1 John 3:16-19

This underscores why I am convinced that no real, lasting change will come to our Nation, or to the poor among us, or to the suffering abroad in other Nations, by political means. Justice is something we, the people of God, are called to bring. The Church, the people of God, have the power to move on behalf of the suffering in this world...down the street in the projects, and across the sea in the shanty towns.

Today the American Church has too closely alligned herself with political platforms and conservative candidates. We have lost our ability to act independently, with true compassion for others. We need to awaken from our slumber and move with compassion to ease the suffering and bring the Kingdom of God to those who are in need.

"He has shown you, Oh man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you? To love mercy, to do justice and to walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8

We are called, as followers of Jesus, to act on behalf of those who are suffering injustice. Yes, we must pray, but we also must tell others about this suffering. We must ask our pastors to spread the word from the pulpit. We must find a way to send help to those who are so poor they are literally eating the dirt from the ground to live one more day.

"Now this is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were proud and did detestable things before me. Therefore, I did away with them as you have seen."
-Ezekiel 16:49

Whatever you do, please don't look away. Please don't do nothing.

Can anyone find a Christian charity that is in Haiti now offering relief to these people? How about a secular charity? How about three people with a single engine Cessna and a box of dried rice?




Parke said...

The US State Department has these reports on US involvement in Haiti:

As mentioned in the 2004 document, the US works with the following groups in the country in some fashion or another. (The current level is hard to determin from a brief look at their websites.)
Save the Children Foundation (SCF)
World Vision International (WVI)
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Most of those groups will accept specific donations for work in Haiti, though it's not always clear what part of the country the money will go to.

Parke said...

Just to clarify, I don't claim to know the right way forward for the country or for our US involvement in the millions of needs around the world. I'm just offering some information that you seemed to be seeking.

Maria said...

I heard Paul Farmer speak last fall -- he's the subject of the best-seller "Mountains over Mountains." His organization Partners in Health works extensively in Haiti, primarily in the area of health, but you can't address health issues without dealing with hunger. It's a secular organization, btw.

Keith Giles said...


Thanks so much for doing some research on Haiti and digging up not only those US State Dept. Reports (which were quite eye-opening), but also links to four different non-profit groups where people can respond.

As the Aussies say, "Good on ya, mate!"

Reading the 2006 State Dept. survey I'm amazed that we gave (or at least added a "budget request" amount for) $198 million in assistance to Haiti in 2007.

Again, not sure if we ever actually gave that much to the nation, it only says that Bush included that amount in his 2007 budget request.

Regardless, whatever it is that we are's clearly not enough.

I have to believe that there are enough Christians in America who could significantly move to offer food resources directly to the people of Haiti, without going through corrupt bureacracy or government officials.

A few years ago I read that American's could afford to pay for World-wide universal primary education by simply giving as much each year as we do on toys for our children.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I know that my sons do not need any more toys for the rest of their life. At this point we don't even have the space to hold all of their toys in our house.

Couldn't we do something to help real people in real need with real food and water?