One thing my dad made sure to let me know was that it was not as bad over there as they were prepared it would be. CARE and other organizations have worked there long term with women in particular in gardens and irrigation programs and microfinance programs and cash for work programs; now, they are self sufficient and they don’t need as much help. There were some really cool success stories he told me about. Although there were great success stories, they were not always easy to come by. Women and villages worked very hard to be where they are now. They don’t take their success for granted.
The thing that upsets me the most is that in America, we take our resources for granted. We can just go to the grocery store or to our back yard with green grass and extra plants to get food and help keep us starving. We take multiple showers a day; use washing machines; run dishwashers. We over use water more than we realize (I am guilty of this as well) but it is doing no one good. It makes us look bad as a country. People are dying across the world because they are not getting the nutrients they need and the fluids they need to survive, while we have it is excess. Recently in Nashville I watched a “Water Show.” This was a fifteen minute show of water shooting up into the sky with music playing in the background; while it was very cool and fun to watch, it was also heartbreaking. My friend made the comment, “I love how we play with water while people in third world countries are dying because they don’t have it.” He is completely true. We are very wasteful in America. We throw away full plates of food just because we don’t like it; if we eat some but not all, we have no problem throwing the rest away. There are people that would kill to have this “leftover food” that supposedly no one wants. People want it; it just isn’t always to give it to them.
My dad’s company, CARE, makes it clear in their mission statement that they aren’t there to hand the people what they need. They are there to help them make sure they can do it on their own and make a life for themselves. This is exactly what they have done in Niger. Although tribesmen are becoming violent in bordering countries, Niger is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to them. After all of their hard work to get back on their feet, it would be a shame to see it all go down the drain. Niger is a model country; it shows that when you really try, you can prevent a humanitarian catastrophe that is always a bordering threat.