It is not every day that we get the opportunity to experience that deep gut feeling that we get when we see the world as 2 billion people do: a world filled with poverty. There is of course that random drive down Hastings in Vancouver or that brief visit to a third world country, that deepens our heart for a few minutes or a few weeks, but rarely does it have a lasting effect that moves us to action. So I have been thinking alot since being back; what does a world look like without poverty? Is such a thing possible? What can we do to end poverty, there is just no realistic possibility that we can move our lives and devote it to the poor like the hero’s we read and hear of. I mean, we could donate a little money here and there, but honestly, do we really believe that this action will solve the problem or make a dent in the gruesome reality of poverty.

Today 15,000 Africans will die from diseases like AIDS, Malaria and TB, all preventable. Today, 20,000 will die from starvation, a symptom of their entrenched poverty. These statistics will sting inside us, for at least awhile, but until we can look up from the statistics and see the faces of the poor, I dont think they will actually settle in and become reality. My encouragment and challenge is for us to go, be with the poor and just be with them, let their state of depravity change you and move you to action.

I believe that our generation has a chance, a chance to change this diabolic cycle. I dont necesarily mean eradicating poverty, but rather raising the standard of living for the poorest of the poor to the point where they can at least live. Think about that, just to give them life; 20,000 died today from starvation. I donít think we would ever allow this to happen if it was closer to home or in our city. But, that does not justify ignoring a continent that is dieing from within.

I can not hide my anger, as injustice ravishes on and this issue continues. Do you not see the unfairness of it? How is it possible to live a lavish and lucrative lifestyle with brilliant cars and unfilled houses, when we know deep inside that money could have fed thousands and that money could have poured into a community for sustainable development. I think it is an act of injustice, simply stated.

So the question is, now what? Where do we go from here or how can we be a part of the solution. I think it first starts with an inner commitment to the problem. Check out the site read all there is to find out and watch some of the videos. But, I think the biggest thing is about where our heart is at. Being sensitive to the fact and reality of the world we live in is key. That means it is essential that you are around it, and you donít have to fly to Africa to be around poverty. Every City in North America has poverty and there are plenty of organizations that work with the impoverished. Get involved. Take one night a week to be a part of the global campaign to do something about it. Another great organization to check out is Opportunity International, They are changing development by creating loans to small entrepreneurs in developing nations. Their stories are incredible.

I can easily break apart my last years experience with life. Even though I had taken on the responsibility of being president of the Student Association at Trinity, I still committed to go downtown and feed the homeless once a week. However, the second semester it became more difficult and I soon found myself no longer going. What a difference it made. I could feel inside as I became more narrow minded and soon lost a sensitivity and compassion I once had for people, all people. Honestly, it made such a difference and if I had to go back I would never let the excuse, ďI donít have time” suffice to carry any weight. We simply have time for what we chose and what we prioritize, so we always have time and I promise there are always organizations desperately wanting your help.

This year was the first year ever that the G8 (the 8 largest western economies) decided to forgive a portion of the African debt. The first year. You know why this happened? It happened because a global campaign has started and millions are joining. You will see them as they wear the white rubber wrist band, they donít have to protest and riot, they simply make their voice heard through text messages, phone calls and letters. But it is their social mobility that is changing the world. I encourage you to get involved. Where is justice, where is righteousness? Let this be the generation that made a difference.