15 October 2010

Don't hush, little baby . . .

The Compassion babies are very loud.

They run that toddler-run . . . away from their mothers and then back to their mothers. They laugh. They scream.

I’m in Tanzania right now visiting with Compassion International who will be one of the key groups at the United Methodist Youth 2011 events. Since I’m one of the emcees for the event, I’ve been blessed to visit some of the work Compassion does in Tanzania through their child sponsorship programs.

Today we visited mothers and babies in the Compassion’s Child Survival Program (CSP) in Arusha, Tanzania (not far from Mt. Kilimanjaro). This is where I met the loud Compassion babies.

I’ve visited a number of African countries and met a lot of African babies. And the thing I’ve noticed about many of the babies I’ve met is that they are calm and peaceful. Most of them sit on their mothers’ laps and watch life happen so quietly.

But not the babies we met at the TAG Bethel Student Center where the CSP is run. These babies played peek-a-boo with us. They giggled when I tossed them into the air. They tugged at my beaded necklace or became fixated on my colorful Ember beads.

This is when I knew the work I was seeing was something special. The other babies I had met were so quiet because they were malnourished. They had no energy to cause a fuss. They were too dehydrated to cry tears.

But the babies I met today have been given a chance at life that many children in extreme poverty rarely get thanks to the amazing work of the people in their communities who run the program and the generous donations of people from around the world who support the program.

I saw this video when a friend posted it on Facebook last week. Why aren’t we as people of faith screaming from rooftops that we’re mad as hell that there are children who are lethargic not because they are just even tempered but because they have NO FOOD? What does it take to make us mad as hell that people in all corners of the world have nothing when so many of us have more than we ever need? Who have we become?

May more babies feast on the hope found in loud giggles and big tears. May more mothers be blessed with the ability to feed their children and watch them grow than mothers who become way too familiar with the process of burying their babies.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.


MMS said...

Tears are rolling. Love you and the work you are doing.


Jan said...

What beautiful descriptions of love in action.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing. so good to feel connected to a land and people I love. you draw me even further into a story much larger than my own. your words are powerful.