Monday, March 26, 2012

.to you


to you

To the country I both love and hate

To the country of both darkness and light

To a country I both despise yet am fascinated by

To you,


The definers would call you a “failed state”

They would call you corrupt.  They would rank you abysmally on the human development index.  They would project that your chances for economic growth are dismal based on civil war, governmental mismanagement, ethnic diversity, lack of infrastructure

You are a footnote

You barely make your appearance in literature

Or in any scholarly journals of note

When you are mentioned, it is to prove a point.  A point about poverty, a point about the third world. a point about what happens when everything collapses

Your story can be found in fragments

Your citizens work too hard to have the energy to hold a pen

You listen to the music of Cameroon

You will probably never leave your country

You are being killed by malaria

You are being killed by AIDS

Your people are starving

Your peace is fragile

Your leader is corrupt

Your women are beaten

Your men are despondent

Your economy is not growing

To you


To you I say change is possible

To you I say growth is reachable

To you I say education is attainable

Because of you


you – who walk five miles to school every day

 you  - who take a pay cut to work here in a mission hospital

you – who ran here with your child so it could live

you – who get up before dawn to gather sticks to sell in the market

 you – who help out your neighbor in his hour of need

you – who demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit

 you -  who get up every day anyway

 you  -  who spend every waking moment finding food for your children anyway

 you -  who never stop wishing, who guard your fragile dreams with resilience

 you  - who layed your first child in the ground, but fight for the others anyway

to you


To you  - who want to be equal

To you -  who want a chance

To you -  who want to be treated with dignity

May you find your voice

And may someone listen

May you find your strength

And start to build

May you hold onto hope

And let it grow

May you work for peace

And turn to reason

May you go to school

And fight for knowledge

And to you,

 To the west

May you not just write a check

But may you come here

May you not close your eyes

But may you look squarely at us

May you not just forget

But may you strive to remember

May you use your talents

Use your education

Use your resources

Use your time

Use your heart

Use your courage to take the hard road

Use your mind to create the right solutions -

To help build a better tchad

May you not forget us

May you come here

And see for yourselves

May you help us

To help ourselves

Because we do not need money

We need infrastructure

We do not need hand outs

We need education

We do not need NGO’s

We need empowerment

We do not need sympathy

We need micro-finance

We do not need a check

We need your time

But most of all

We need you to know

Because maybe

If you know

you cannot claim ignorance

ignorance is the opiate of the conscience

may you have the courage to know

that here,

people are starving

that here,

children are dying of treatable illnesses

that here,
almost everyone has lost more than one child

that here,

there is no clean water

that here,

there is no gender equality

that here,

women have no rights

that here,

is extreme poverty

that here,

is the will to survive

so when you go to bed tonight

may you have the courage

not to forget us



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