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Monday, September 13, 2010

You Might Not Want to Read This

Last night Dan and I watched a movie about the crisis in the Dafur region of Western Sudan. The images were absolutely horrific and some of the eyewitness interviews made me want to stick my fingers in my ears and run screaming from the room.

I don't want to believe that such evil even exists in the world. I wonder how I can really justify my indulgent American lifestyle, the silliness that consumes my days, the "problems" I think I have in the face of such suffering.

Although the conflict in Dafur began in the spring of 2003, the UN estimates that today nearly 5 million people (out of total population of 6 million!) are still affected by the conflict. Many of these people are still refugees today living in large camps throughout Dafur and Sudan's neighboring country, Chad.

And here's one of those facts that made me want to scream and run out of the room: For families (or individuals) living in refugee camps, someone must regularly leave the camp in order to find enough firewood for daily cooking and warmth. Firewood is not just sitting outside the camp gates -- refugees often walk for many miles over the course of an entire day to find this critical resource. When the refugees venture far outside the safety of the camp, they become vunerable to attack. Often, men are castrated and killed. Women are raped. So families usually make the decision that the women should be the ones to go collect firewood... at least they might live and can possibly return to camp.

Can you even imagine sitting with your husband and having to make such a decision? Can you even wrap your brain around it? I can't. Here's a decision I made earlier today: It's 11:55am and I need to be sitting in the carpool line at my daughter's school by 12:30pm. Should I try to stop by the grocery store on the way or will it make me late? Boy, that's a toughie.

I do have a point in sharing all this. I'm not just trying to make myself and everyone else feel bad. My point is this: we do need to see and hear images and stories such as the ones Dan and I watched last night. We Americans, the richest of the rich, comprise a measley 4.5% of the world's population. For most of us, a typical day in the U.S. is a far cry from the daily realities of the rest of the world. Even the term "extreme poverty" is a bit strange. Poverty is common throughout the world. It's we who are extreme; we are extremely rich.

Next Thursday, September 23, Sixty Feet is offering a glimpse into some of these daily realities of the world's poor. We are releasing an original film, with footage from the last several Sixty Feet trips, which will give viewers an amazing, insiders look at Mukisa. These are shocking and heart wrenching stories of real children and these are images we all need to see. For many around the world, this is life.

The invitation is below. If you live in the Atlanta area and would like to come on the 23rd, we invite you to send a note to film@SixtyFeet.org and let us know. If you don't live in the area and would still like to view the film, we are inviting those who are interested to host a viewing party of your own. A viewing party could include your Sunday School class, your small group, your family and friends in your living room. Sixty Feet will provide the film, supporting information and even talking points for the host to answer questions. Please consider supporting Sixty Feet in this way -- these are realities that we should not be closing our eyes to.


Melissa said...

Can't wait for next Thursday! Seeing the suffering in the world does make us question how we live every day in our comfortable world! So thankful for your friendship.

julie said...

It was so nice to meet you all tonight. I have had fun looking over your blog.....I'm lovin' all of your natural stuff....I'm a wheat- grinding, chicken raising, natural freak myself:) Can' wait to hear more about your adoption journey!