You may recall that in one of my previous posts entitled “Extravagant love can get you an audience with the Prime Minister”, I shared how a Ugandan Choir called Destiny Africa Children’s Choir visited our village back in October as part of their tour round the UK which ended by having an audience with the Prime Minister and his wife. You can watch some of it on the video below. It is with great sadness that this morning we were informed one of the members of this choir, a boy aged 14 called Ivan, passed away last week. He was suffering from HIV/AIDS, and although the exact cause of his death is yet unknown, his immune system was already very weakened after years of fighting this disease, and his body was in the end unable to cope.
For more details about Ivan go to: http://www.ndenetwork.com/assets/newsletters/ivannsobya.html.
I am deeply saddened by this news specially bearing in mind the content of my last post about the hypocrisy that reigns in Western Civilisation in particular, as we tremble with the threat of a new pandemic invading our land, and yet do not bat an eyelid about the millions that die to AIDS, poverty, malnutrition and genocide each day. After writing my last post, I reflected on the fact that I may be alienating my regular readers as a result of my ongoing attempts to unveil hypocrisy and deception both in the world and within The Church. I wondered whether the tone of my writing is at times too harsh or heavy, too focused on the inconsistencies of those who call themselves Christians, or perhaps too candid revealing to some the very things they are not willing to face or hear. But then as I received an email this morning with the news of Ivan’s sudden death, I realised that the stuff I wrote in my last post is not the product of my own imagination, or a subject that makes interesting reading or an entertaining TV documentary; it is not something that is stemming from a judgemental heart or the wish to condemn. The Western World’s indifference to the perils of sub-developed countries is a sad reality and so is the failure to make it our top priority to eradicate injustice, abuse, and unfairly distributed wealth in the world. My cry stems from a genuine sense of responsibility as individuals and as a whole to do something about the abominable circumstances the other half of the world is living in, or dying in, I should say.
Ivan’s death is a painful reminder that these individuals who we often refer to as a mere statistic or number on a death-toll list, are not faceless and nameless individuals. They are all God’s children, like you and me. They have a heart and a soul and they have dreams for their future like you and me. But the most remarkable thing of all is that although they have nothing, they are willing to give so much of themselves expecting nothing in return, and yet we surround ourselves with clatter, material things we don’t need; we over-indulge in food, drink, holidays and hobbies; we pour our money out of the window like it is going out of fashion, and in the midst of all that our hearts remain hearts of stone, callous hearts blind to the desperate needs and affliction of others. Our minds are filled with all sorts of superfluous stuff in an attempt to block out the echoes of our conscience telling us there has to be more to life than living for Oneself; there has to be more to live than earning and producing for our own benefit and consumption; There has to be a purpose to us being here on this earth; a legacy that can follow us from here to eternity; something we can do to leave this world a better place than when we arrived in it.
If you found a group of people right outside your doorstep who were destitute, living in the lowest of conditions, starving to death, or being victims to unspeakable violence, would you go about your business each day pretending they are not there, or would you do everything in your power to make their burden a little bit lighter each day; to give them a ray of hope that things will not always be that way? Have you ever thought what it must be like for those people to watch images on a television of how the other half live, and wonder why is it that we are not coming running to their aid by the thousands? Do you ever put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if as a result of the international economic crisis, you and your family became destitute and you relied fully on someone else’s compassion and generosity to make it through the day? What would it do to you to see passers-by carrying on as if you were not there, as if they did not care whether you lived or died?
The fact that millions of people are in this appalling conditions thousands of miles away from where we are, does not make it one bit less real and so long as we live pretending that none of this affect us or concerns us, we become just as much a failure to humanity as the person who pulls the trigger or the one who gives the command to murder others.
Please if you are reading this and you know that you could help turn someone’s life around by helping them financially or otherwise, do not walk away from your computer without doing anything about it. Thousands of children like Ivan are waiting to be sponsored by someone like you; to be given the opportunity to have an education which will allow them to change the course of their lives and inspire others to dream too as a result. If you wish to help, there are three charities listed on my screen by the left hand side of each post, which you can donate to or sponsor a child through. These charities are nothing to do with me, other than the fact that we sponsor children through them, and I personally know the people that run two of them: Kampala Children’s Centre and Kids of Africa. If you can afford to go out at weekends, buy a book, a pair of shoes, or a beer, you have the power in your hand to save a life, the ability to keep somebody else’s hope of a better future alive. Living with regret is a terrible thing. Why not do something whilst you still can?
Here is a video of Destiny Choir’s audience with the Primer Minister at Number 10 Downing Street in London. Ivan is one of the boys singing and dancing in these images.
Thanks for reading. Thank you for caring and for making a difference.