Glimmer of hope
I lay awake one night a couple of weeks ago thinking about the 27,000 kids who die every day. I was thinking about these kids and how it’s like losing a small city every day. If it happened in North America, wouldn’t it be on the news? Wouldn’t we do something about it? Wouldn’t our government throw billions of dollars at the problem if it affected them personally? You know what is even more heartbreaking? They aren’t dying from some strange incurable disease. They are dying because they don’t have clean water, food, education or immunization programs. As I walk through the villages here this week, it becomes much more than a face on a television screen or a statistic on a website. These are the ones we hold in our arms. We remember their names and talk about them to our friends when we return home. They are real. They are precious. They exist in my world. Tomorrow there will be 27,000 less of them than there are today. And it breaks my heart.
According to a Stats Canada report, retail sales December 2005 rang up at $36.8 billion. Added to that, another $393 million dollars spent on Christmas decorations. I think of Esperanza, my little Compassion Child. $420 supports her for one year. If you do the math, just over $4 billion would have kept those 9.85 million kids alive last year. I feel sick. Poverty isn’t something new. It’s always been there since the beginning of time. However, now we have no excuse because we can Google the stats on the internet. Do you think that we, as a country, might be held accountable someday?
However, in the middle of this seemingly hopeless situation, there is a glimmer of hope. This is why I love Hero Holiday. Every year we expose hundreds of high school students to extreme poverty. They hold these kids in their arms, and try not to think that some of them haven’t eaten in three days and that one day they might not make it to the third day. These high school students are our nation’s future. These are the leaders, the doctors, the nurses, the lawyers, the politicians and the ones who will decide where our money is spent. We are helping to create a generation of heroes. Parents, your kids are amazing. I’ve seen them work very hard this week. I’ve seen them covered from head to toe in dirt and sweat and be proud of it. They are making a difference. Thank you for trusting us with them for this short time. They are the ones who will write history. And it will be good.