Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty

So Blog Action Day has finally come around. I've decided to post about why poverty and the eradication of poverty has become an issue that I am passionate about.
In 2004 I went with a group of people from my home church on a short term mission trip to Cambodia. We were based at the Sunshine Centre which is a day centre for street kids. At the Sunshine Centre the staff provide a refuge for the children, give them clothes, a place to wash and gain access to health care. They are provided with a main meal, which for many of the children was their only meal. They also provided the children with some basic education. As well as being at the Sunshine Centre I also had the opportunity to visit other aid organisations that were working in both in Phnom Penh and rural Cambodia.
I went to Cambodia anticipating that I might be able to "make a difference" in someones life. Instead it was I who came back changed. Before Cambodia I had thought about those less fortunate then myself, I made donations to World Vision, did the 40 hour famine etc but through the short time I was there poverty became much more real to me.
I had associated poverty with the ads on television, the faces on the calender on my wall, the photos that visiting organisations showed when doing a talk etc. I was touched by these things but I wasn't changed. Going to Cambodia did change me. I built relationships with children and adults who were living in poverty. My whole perspective on this giant word changed, poverty was personified.
Poverty waited patiently at the gate of the centre ready to greet us with waves and smiles. I sat and shared a meal with poverty everyday. Poverty loved playing silly games with me. Poverty loved showing off her dancing. Poverty would take my hand and drag me over to something that he had drawn. I cuddled poverty, I laughed with poverty, I cried with poverty.Ever since that experience poverty to me is no longer an issue that is out in the world that I can ignore. Those faces on the calenders and on the ads are just like those that I got to know on my trip. They have stories and families, they laugh and cry, they celebrate and they grieve. And this is why I care about the issue of Poverty.

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