Thursday, November 29, 2007

Regina, Guiness and Reflecting

That was a day.

I'm sitting by the pool at the Jacaranda hotel by the pool (pic later, sheesh) with a wonderfully stout Guiness in front of me and my noise cancelling headphones on listening to Regina Spektor sing about hope. The album is "Begin to Hope" in case you were wondering and she is wonderful.

Hope is an interesting word. It's one of those "things" that is hard to pin down.

The muslim woman in Eastleigh, Nairobi I met today and the community of 30 women she is the leader of are starting a chip business (selling potato chips from what I gathered). She said to me as we were leaving that she hoped one day to contribute to the IRC with profits from her business.

Realistically, what exactly are her chances? I'm not a vegas bookie or anything - but let's go with 1 in a tradjillion.

But she was serious. Dead serious and already planning who to give money away before she has made her first penny so that more women could get educated and start their own businesses. Where does that kind of strength come from exactly? Hope that unwavering is compelling beyond description (though clearly I'm trying).

Faith is another one of those words.

A man at Kakuma was offered resettlement to the United States. As legend has it, his business which is situated in the middle of Kakuma refigee camp does so well that he decided to stay. If this story is true, I have to wonder how this man is able to have faith in his decision to stay.

For the past 11 months I have been asking  myself over and over - what is the key to raising the visibility of the IRC?

Well, where is my own hope and faith? I think I met them in Kenya.

The people at Kakuma who run the disabled child physical therapy program are in danger of losing funding. What do they do? They ask and ask and ask and will continue to ask for help, funding, anything to let them continue. They give me a t-shirt advertising their progam and they ask and ask for help. To the death I'm sure if that is what it takes.

I couldn't sleep last night and ended up watching the CNN/Youtube Republican debate. It was either or both Huckabee or McCain who made a comment about how the American people have a higher standard (I think the topic was immigration, but I was so disgusted by the entire thing I might be wrong).

Either way, he was was wrong. That crap about Americans made me sick. We, as human beings, not as Americans have a higher standard to live up to - and it is clear we are not doing the job.

Abject poverty, AIDS, violence against women, blah blah blah whatever else is proof. The IRC and other organizations are doing what they can but it is not enough.

Not Even Close.

What I saw today is unacceptable to me as a human being. If you were here with me, I PROMISE YOU that you'd feel it too. The pictures don't do it. Bono talking about it doesn't do it. I had to see it.

Now let's see if the marketer in me can figure out how to raise some hell. I think I will try a little hope and faith for starters.

If you are still reading, look on the right column and click to make a donation. A buck if that is all you can swing. I realize I'm not the most eloquent writer, but I'm telling you, this is it. Save the cheerleader - oops, wrong blog....

Save others and save yourself.

Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Apply for a job. Raise some hell.

Feels good, I promise.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Marc, this is one of the most moving accounts of an IRC field visit I have ever seen, right up there with Emily's blogging from Darfur.

Thanks for sharing your story through the blog and the twitter updates. I'm on the edge of my seat!