Monday, May 17, 2010

Kenya...So Often on my Mind

Today's Thought:
I'm a little sad today... There's an article on MSNBC this morning about the Korogocho slum in Nairobi. I was there in January for a medical mission outreach. Lot of violence and rape there. Makes me very sad.

The ChipperMuse Extra:
Kenya is always on my mind in some fashion. Really, all of Africa is on my mind. So much violence. So much vicious crime. Living in the U.S. is a godsend that I appreciate every day because I know what life is like elsewhere.

Today MSNBC is posting an article about elderly Kenyan women taking self-defense classes to protect themselves from rape. I am saddened that they need to do this. But I am not surprised. In Nairobi's slums, the danger of daily living is so bad that the police don't go there if they don't have to. Korogocho is especially bad. We had to have an escort with us when we did our one-day medical clinic there, and we were also in a gated compound. That's the only way to do any work there with any level of safety.

Our escorts hustled us out at the end of the day. After we were gone, armed thieves broke into the compound hoping to find and steal the medicine we had been dispensing so they could sell it on the black market. This is a daily way of life for people in the slums of Nairobi. No rest, no peace. I hate this.

I also find myself doubting that people in the U.S. have the slightest idea what it is to live in such fear every day. The title of the article is "Kung Fu Grannies Ready to Fight Rapists." Our media makes the situation sound like a high-concept movie pitch, not the atrocity that it is. I am disturbed by the apparent disconnect we have from the suffering of other people.

And yes, I know some parts of America are unsafe. Believe me, I watch the news. I know. But I still wonder if it is fair to compare anything in the U.S. to anything in Kenya. The corruption is so much more evident there than here. There's no comparison.

We are very lucky to live in the U.S. and we ought to fight to maintain it. I think we do that by promoting and rewarding good morals and good character. I also think we need to promote good values. As a Christian, I argue for Christian values. But anything that makes right and wrong clear, that values the life of every person very highly, and that discourages selfishness, is a help.

Ultimately, it is our belief in doing right that prompts us to do right...or our belief that it's okay to do wrong that prompts us to do wrong. Some rapists in Korogocho have the idea that it's okay to rape elderly women, that it can cure you of AIDS or cause God to forgive your sins. A twisted belief system, to say the least. You can see the damage done by believing something that is not true.

And you can imagine the good that will be done when people believe what is true, and let their actions be governed by truth instead of lies. You want the answer to the world's problems? That's it, right there. Find the truth. Believe it. Live by it.

Not so easy to do. But whatever it costs to find and live out truth, the price is worth paying. For all of us.

The link to the article is http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37134218/ns/health-womens_health/

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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