Thursday, March 17, 2011

Faces of Africa

If you're pressed for time, and just want to see John's great photos, click on
(thanks, Meg!)

It's been 3 weeks since we came back from our amazing trip to Africa. Since then, we've been working on implementation and fundraising issues. But somehow, that doesn't sound interesting enough to communicate. Our dear friend Vicky said it was writer's block, and I'm sure she's right.

What makes the work interesting and important? It's the people who are lifting themselves out of poverty with our help.

Someone said to me last night, "Why do you bother? There are lots of other organizations already doing good work." Well, yes - there ARE many good organizations. We admire them, and partner with some wonderful ones, including Pencils for Kids - - which is providing secondary school scholarships for girls in Niger.

But no organization can be everywhere, do everything. As Rabbi Tarfon said, "The day is short and the work is great...It is not your duty to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it." There are thousands of people who are on the road to economic self-sufficiency because of their own determination and Eliminate Poverty Now's help. And - like the starfish in the story - it certainly made a difference to them.

(You know the story based on Loren Eiseley's essay, right? A wise man saw a young girl walking on the beach, picking up the starfish that had washed up onto the sand, and throwing them back into the ocean. "Why are you bothering?" he asked. "There are miles of beach, and hundreds of starfish. You can't possibly make a difference with the little bit you're doing." The girl listened politely, then picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. "It made a difference to that one," she replied.)

So thank you for being interested in the work we're doing to help people in sub-Saharan Africa - especially girls and women - become economically self-sufficient. I'll try to keep it interesting by focusing on them.

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