First, I would like to thank Steven Lovestrand and Irina Loftus for their generous donations.
After spending three days on the phone talking to UNICEF directors in three countries and four different banks to get the phone number of Dispensario Bethania, the malnourishment recovery center in Guatemala, I finally got a hold of its director, Dr. Carlos Arriola. I was trying to confirm the account information to ensure that the money didn’t end up in the wrong person’s pocket. International wire-transferring is a complicated business as the funds have to go through several channels in order to reach the final beneficiary. I’m glad it’s all done and the funds are going to where they were intended to be.
As part of my outreach, I am interested in establishing contact with activists and bloggers who are also concerned with malnutrition. In my research, I ran across “Hunger and Poverty”, a blog by Scott Hughes. Scott is a passionate individual who runs a few websites including www.millionsofmouths.com which is a forum-type website focusing on malnutrition and poverty. The discussion area on his site is a great tool to bring like-minded people together and discuss ideas and solutions for different issues.
“We base our philosophy on the belief that every sane person [in the world] would rather get quality education and sufficient employment than suffer from poverty, hunger, or homelessness,” Scott explains. I admire his dedication and agree with his ideology.
Today is the 90th day since I started my journey and I am overwhelmed by the support and generosity of so many. I am also touched by the numerous comments and emails that I have received throughout this time. It is your comments and notes that encourage me to go on and help me not to feel alone.
Of course, it is natural that not everyone will agree with what I do or how I do it. There have been times when I was criticized for my views and even the cause. Some wrote to suggest that our planet is too over-populated and that famine works as one of nature’s regulators for population control. Although it is true that famines and wars do regulate population, they failed to mention why some have the right to live and others don’t. What makes it ok for Maria in Honduras to perish from the devastating effects of famine while Jack in Connecticut can enjoy golfing on his private course?
Some even consider me nothing more than a “hippie dreamer” with unrealistic expectations. They claim that reaching out to other cultures is futile and label whoever runs their countries differently than ours as dictators.
In response, one commentator countered with: “…most dictators in the areas where these practices are happening are in fact puppets of western states. You won’t hear about them on CNN, however, when a country gets away from this and elects a leader focused on bettering their own people, they are vilified in the popular media, targeted by western death squads, and the country is usually devastated by economic sanctions, or by the use of free flow capital and the trade of prospect, driving down the local currency making it harder and harder for the country to stand on its own.”
Whether I receive criticism or praise, I embrace both wholeheartedly as they bring about attention to this issue and function as catalysts for change. That’s what I like about Scott’s website as it enables people to speak out and through dialogue, to achieve a level of understanding and compassion for each others’ viewpoints, and thus brings them all to the realization that together we can be constructive regardless of our differences.
Hippie, Yuppie, Republican, Democrat, Bible-thumper, Atheist, Star-Trek fan, or whoever you are, keep in mind that at the end of the day, we are all human beings with the right to breath, to dream, to have the chance to become better than what we are.