A friend of mine recently posted this video on her facebook page regarding the crisis in Somalia: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43950698#43950698
I was touched, profoundly, by the story of the Mother who has seven children of her own yet, she picked a strange child up, abandoned on the side of the road, and adopted it. In the face of hunger and hopelessness, this woman saw an infant and could not bear to leave the tiny infant to the elements to die, despite the grave situation in her country, for her family.
I do not blame the abandoned infant's Mother. I can only imagine what the faceless Mother of the abandoned child was feeling but, I imagine that she had already died inside and, in the absence of much hope, she emptied her arms of the weight of her newly born child, willing herself not to allow her arms to feel the aching emptiness that most Mother's feel without the weight of their children in them and, terribly, the gnawing hunger in the pit of her stomach and the gaunt bodies and faces of the people around drowned the sorrow and sickening emptiness of the choice that she made.
As her feet shuffled on, dragging and barely stirring the dusty dirt beneath her feet as she trod further away from the life she had grown in her womb, the life that she birthed in the baptism of pain that is Motherhood, her hunger and hopelessness sounded louder than the cries of the child she left among the dirty, dusty side of the road. Too tired, too helpless, too hungry to listen to the sounds of a piece of her heart wailing for his Mother's warmth, love and safety.
Oh, God! Oh...god....
I don't think that what I imagine is far from the truth. This unknown Mother...
I sob for her. To live in a place where leaving a piece of your heart to die along the side of the road... I cry for her because, she cannot cry for herself, she doesn't have the energy or the moisture, if she is even still alive.
Wherever this woman is, this unknown Mother, I hope her soul is in a place where she can know that her child was rescued by another Woman, a Mother, that her child will live and, perhaps thrive and grow to help that her choice will never have to be made by another Mother, in that country, ever again. Perhaps this Mother is somewhere that she can see that there are people, Mother's who grieve for her, understand her choice, wish they could have saved her from having to make it, have the tears to shed and the hope to help.
In America, the, "Mother Country" we have our own people who hunger, who need yet, we do not have civil warfare, preventing aid. In America, the, "Land of Opportunity" we have the ability to make choices for ourselves, to better ourselves, to reach through hard work. I know there is plenty to say about the state of our government and, most of us would not be wrong to say it or, to feel it but, we STILL have it better than the people of Somalia.
We are not facing warfare on our home front. Our country has a system to provide for the needy masses, even if that system is long overdue for improvement. In America, we have access to credit, to live beyond our means and, I am one of those people who has debt that I struggle to pay and, I will speak out and say that I am ashamed of my desire for things that I cannot pay for, my desire to have things I do not need because those desires have placed my family in a debt that I swore I would never accumulate, having seen my parents do it themselves. I do not blame them, I knew better.
Here's the thing, Americans no matter how much we protest and complain, we know better. We rail against our government because we feel that we expect our government to keep us from behaving badly, like children who need and desire discipline yet, when the Mother country passes laws to curtail and prevent us from making mistakes, we rally and cry out against our Mother for telling us what we can and cannot do.
Fellow Americans, we have the privilege and responsibility to make our own choices, to bear arms, to speak out against Mother but, in Somalia, they don't have that. Somalia is oppressed and suffering.
I used to be one of those people who would watch and listen to plea's for foreign aid with a sneer. I would think, "Why can't that country just get it together?" Well, maybe they can and, I'm sure that the people who are starving wish they could but, in the meantime, there are parents of children who are having to choose between leaving their children to die of hunger or, go on and start over, begin again and, if you think that is harsh, remember that in the grand scheme of human history on this planet, it wasn't long ago at all when that choice was common and not at all as shocking and heartbreaking as it is now, even my Great Grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression, who lived long enough to write of it, even they suffered this hunger, these choices, though not even as close to the scale that the Somalians do.
I walk into my two story town home, the one I decry and sneer at, thankful for the rush of the air conditioning that meets my face as I leave the ninety degree weather outside of my door. I press a button on the PlayStation remote to play another episode of a cartoon for my twenty-three month old Son who has never known hunger or, a full day without me, his Mother. I picked up a box of food, for forty-eight dollars today, enough food to feed my family of three for three weeks. I can leave my home, in a vehicle, without wondering if there is going to be warfare in my city today. I can go up the street, to an air-conditioned grocery store and feed my family with the income my Husband earns. I go to sleep at night, with a full belly, worrying about how to pay bills but never how I'm going to feed myself so that I have enough breast milk for my Son. My dreams are not haunted by dreams of food, carried by hunger pains from my belly or, the bellies of my Husband or Son.
In terms of America, I am on the poverty level but, the World Food Programme can provide FOUR CUPS OF FOOD for ONE DOLLAR. I can go up the street to the fast food restaurant and buy a cheeseburger for ONE DOLLAR. A tasteless piece of cardboard meat for ONE DOLLAR. Can you imagine what FOUR CUPS of REAL food means to someone who doesn't have even ONE dollar to feed themselves or, their family?
As an American, I have choices. I KNOW I can change my life. I KNOW I have a voice. As an American, I'm choosing to exert my privilege to use my voice to speak out for a country that has a need that is FAR more dire than the needs of the people in OUR country. Somalians WANT help, as opposed to some other countries that we currently occupy and, the thing is, as an American, I can say that we don't have to occupy Somalia, (as if the US even wants to...Somalia doesn't have Oil or anything we can gain from) but, we CAN help.
I took five dollars from the limited income for my family and donated it to the WFP. Five dollars is paltry, when I think of the nameless Mother who left her child by the side of the road and, as an American, I am going to say that I am ashamed of my greed and living beyond my means in the face of a Mother who has had to make the choice to leave her newborn by the side of the road in order to go on with life.
What am I doing with my life? Not much. My hangups are not your problem, they're my own but, I will say that as a Mother, I cannot bear for another child, another Mother, no matter the nationality, to have to make a choice that means death of heart, soul and life.
I know I can't save everyone or anyone but, I CAN help, even if it is only a little help. A little help is better than NO help.
I urge you to deeply consider donating even just ONE dollar to a program that will help feed the people of Somalia. Please think of a Mother who has the choice of leaving a newly born soul, a piece of her heart, on the side of the road or risk watching the rest of her family suffer. Please help these people from having to make choices such as these.
You can donate to the World Food Programme, for the Horn Of Africa at https://www.wfp.org/donate/fillthecup?icn=homepage-donate-cup&ici=big-button-linkhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43950698#43950698
Please, PLEASE help.