When it hasn't rained for two years how do parents feed their family? When civil war tears apart the very fabric of society how can that society function? When the Catholic church preaches against condom use how can population be controlled? And when women are considered as breeding machines, as the property of men what hope is there for equality?
Welcome to the Horn Of Africa. The Dark Continent.
I have been to Kenya, and I can tell you that Africa never leaves you once you have walked it's shores. Like nowhere else on Earth it captivate's and compels, inspires and enrages, bewilders and bewitches. One day I shall write more on these formative experiences, but today I have a specific agenda.
You have seen the images, and listened to windswept correspondents as they seek to illustrate just how bad it is. I could float all the images of dying children, devastated mothers, broken men, but this only works up to a point. So try to imagine the following scenario;
You are on your knees amidst a dustbowl of death, one of hundreds of thousands forced to flee from war, starvation, disease. In your arms you cradle the person dearest to you. Perhaps it is your child, or your partner, or a lifelong friend? It doesn't matter. What matters is that they are dying from a combination of malnutrition and disease, fading from this Earth with a sunken, forlorn certainty. Now imagine that on another part of the planet somebody is reading a blog. A stranger, a person whom you will never meet. They have just had breakfast; they are on their second cup of coffee of the day, and considering which pub to go to for lunch. There's a light rain outside and an open window nearby, allowing a cool breeze to pass through.
This distant stranger may never visit Africa, and it's problems are remote and alien. Yet despite this, they have the power to do remarkable good.
Now let us return to our scene in Africa. As you cradle your loved one, how do you regard this distant foreigner? They have so much whilst you are about to lose everything. Is there anything in these two images that gives you pause for thought?
Today, this morning, we can start to make a difference. A small donation from you may mean one less grieving mother, one less corpse, a tiny bit more hope. We have so much. We are so fortunate. In light of this, what will you do?