The elephant in the room…

Money.

There. I said it. The inevitable subject has been raised.

I really like writing a blog. And there is a whole bunch of complicated reasons I write on here.

Writing for me is extremely therapeutic; I have written for this purpose my whole life. I love that people now read what I write; I like to make people ponder. I love being able to demystify every day existence in another part of the world. I love being able to champion social justice issues. I love being able to tell the stories of people I have the privilege of meeting in Uganda.

I do not write to raise money for Maranatha Health. In fact, although I regularly write about life within our organisation, this blog is not for the purpose of promotion at all. It is refreshing to have a forum to write, separate from the marketing and grant writing and articles that often have to be a little bit slick and a little less honest. This is my place to be Kim

But right at this moment, what Kim is thinking about a lot is money.

Not because I like money. In fact, I often feel quite a legitimate loathing for the stuff. I wish with every beat of my hopeful heart that this world was a socialist utopia, where we all could live happily (and equally) without it. Unfortunately, it’s not. Far from it. In fact, as I write this on my laptop computer plugged into a powerpoint providing electricity, drinking water that has come from a tap in my lovely home, I am acutely aware that most of the world – most of my neighbours for example – do not have the safety, the security, the basic necessities, the opportunities, the freedoms, the choices that I have had access to from birth.

They live their lives with intense vulnerability, trying to remain resilient to the shocks of life, often moving one step forward but then two back: lacking power over decisions that affect their lives and lacking power over and access to resources. For many this isn’t some extraordinary experience of ‘poverty’ that will pass – this is simply life. Many accept it without blinking.

My world view is changing rapidly as I live in this environment; particularly over the past few weeks as I have witnessed several children – one as young as 3 days old – die of simple things that nobody should ever die of. I have seen little bodies being covered with material then placed in boxes. I have seen mothers stricken with grief, but accepting with fatalistic resignation the harshness of life. I have witnessed a woman choose to go home to die despite our pleas, because she had so little faith in the health system. I have questioned again and again a God who sees all of these things, but seems to remain distant.

In those moments I have become acutely aware of my own anger, my own desperation to see things change, and my illogical hope in the transformation of culture and life in this place. Then I realise it is not my anger, not my desperation, not my illogical hope. It is the hope of my God, who has again and again chosen to express his love for this world through human beings. Regardless of how ridiculous I feel his choice was, we’re it.

And I am part of that. Part of that change, that re-creation, that hope, and that transformation of this world into one that is good.

So alongside of our team at Maranatha I am trying really hard – failing much of the time – but trying, to do what I can. My experiences over the past few years, and most acutely over the past few weeks, have meant that I am ruined for any other life.

The problem is, the one important thing I don’t have enough of to do this work is MONEY.  This is what I stupidly spend a lot of my time stressing about.

Money to treat more children at a subsidized cost

Money to pay more community workers to spend time in the village transforming attitudes

Money to set up agricultural co-operatives so people can demand a living wage

Money to keep our organisation running – to buy drugs and stationary and fuel and pay electricity and water bills and salaries.

Money to put up more staff houses

Money to buy more essential equipment

Money to conduct research so we can learn from what we are doing and make sure it is having an impact

Money to set up transport mechanisms to strengthen the health system in Kamwenge

Money to educate and improve health literacy in the community

Always I sense this limitation at Maranatha Health, like most NGOs do. I am constantly in discussion with people within our organisation about sustainability, about income generation, and about how to ensure funds. We are continually trying to figure how to do more, with less. Because we need at least $150,000 every year to run Maranatha Health Uganda.

Many of you already contribute to the work of Maranatha Health. Some of you contribute to other important work around the world. Thank you. Your generosity spurs me on, it humbles me, it encourages me and it allows me to live my calling.

Some of you may not be giving. Some of you may not think you have a lot of money. But I imagine that anyone reading this in Australia is most likely amongst the wealthiest fifth percentile of the world’s population. So I invite you to join Maranatha Health in making some very positive change in Uganda.

We need regular supporters, that we can count on to give each month. I invite you to contribute not only because it is amazing to make a real tangible difference in the lives of the world’s poor. Or because by a fluke of geography you ended up with opportunities and wages the rest of the world dream of. Or because it is good to give. Or because MH are doing transforming, quality work. Or because you get a tax break when you give.

But also, because the work of Maranatha Health cannot continue to impact the lives of people in Kamwenge without it.*

 

*If you want to give a tax-deductible donation and/or sign up for regular giving, visit http://www.givenow.com.au/maranathahealth

One response to “The elephant in the room…

  1. Hi Kim,
    If I may, I’m going to suggest that, I once heard a missionary from Ethiopia say that poverty has little to do with money, but everything about voice – the poor have nobody listening to them. Soldiers may not have money, for example, but aren’t poor, if they use their weapons to force people to listen to them. Money is simply one (admittedly, very effective) mechanism for getting people to listen to us when we ask for stuff.

    The people of Kamwenge are poor. But they are less poor now, because you and Mikey have gone there. And you didn’t go there because they paid you money. You went there because you heard their cries. And the reason you heard their cries was because God did, and He told you about it. And then He got you to tell us, and Andrew S and lots of others heard their cries, too. Your operating theatre, for example, isn’t primarily a product of money – it’s a product of people listening to you.

    You are in the position, too, that people (like me right now!) are listening to your writing, here. The internet affords you the great blessing to have the people of Kamwenge be heard. And you’re getting them heard.

    Yesterday Andrew S gave a 15 minute presentation on you guys to GOBC, and we heard about what you guys are doing, and heard the voices of Kamwenge’s own people.

    Look, this doesn’t negate your need for money. I fully recognise that. But never forget that giving the Kamwengans voice in the world is your greatest power. When people listen to the cries, the stuff will come. Because the cries of the oppressed are heard by God, and He makes them HIS cry, and His people listen to His cries when they are obedient. You know that, because if they hadn’t heard His cries for the people of Kamwenge, you wouldn’t be there now.

    Keep crying out, Sister. In God’s name, keep crying out.

    Maranatha,
    Matt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s