Rushville Republican


April 21, 2007

View of Peace Corps changed as he serves


We found a Compassion family whose house was located way up on a hilltop. When we reached there, we found the father and mother along with five of their nine children (Ugandan women average seven children). The home in which they lived was a small mud home, approximately 12 feet by six feet, consisting of two rooms. The leaky roof of their home was made from banana fibers that they had gathered near their home, unable to afford $60 to properly roof using metal sheets. Upon entering the home, they had only one twin mattress, which Compassion had provided them, and no furniture whatsoever. Whoever didn’t fit on that mattress slept on various portions of mats on the cold, dirt floor. Clothes were lying out on the grass to dry, which were washed, I’m sure, without soap. Clothes which had so many holes they resembled Swiss cheese. They wouldn’t have made suitable rags, I assure you. The mother of this family, a hard working and likable woman, was so weak and sickly that they said that birth control methods (pills or injections) would endanger her life and were too risky. Condoms, though prevalent and accessible, are either too expensive for the poor or are considered "un-manly." Without intervention, it’s quite possible that this family will grow to 14 children! When we identify a family in such need we discuss what should be done. We take pictures and write a proposal to the Compassion head office requesting assistance which can range from land, new housing or income generating projects. Whatever the staff, along with the family, agrees upon that they need to achieve a better standard of living.

Compassion works. I’ll personally vouch for it. I’ve seen lives literally saved because of the Compassion program. I’ve also seen those same Save the Children commercials on local Christian TV at 2 a.m. that you’ve seen. The ones where you wonder if they really do help the kids they portray. Their job, it seems, is to find the poorest of poor children, the ones covered in flies, and then emotionally move people to help. That’s my take at least. But those conditions are real, they do exist. I’ve seen some of them. I’ve been in their homes. Fortunately, I don’t see them every day. Fortunate, because not everyone here lives like that. But some do. And I see the need for aid, development organizations and people to help people out of the recurring poverty trap. A trap that they can’t get out of through hard work alone. Not without assistance.

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