Monday, August 1, 2011

A heavy heart.

I am feeling awful this morning. Uncharateristically like me, I know. I came across a photo that has cut very deep. Its a photo taken by Kevin Carter - a photojournalist in 1993 during the Sudan famine. It is of a little emanciated girl crawling towards a food camp a kilometre away. A vulture lurks nearby waiting for her to die. Kevin Carter won the Pulitzer prize in 1994 for this photo that shocked the world. Today it has shocked me. Although the photo itself is devastating, what made me break down in tears, is knowing that the photographer did nothing to help her once the photograph was taken. No one knows whether she made it to the food camp or not.

© Kevin Carter/CORBIS/Sygma

I am feeling very gulity as I wash up our breakfast dishes with left over porridge and two pieces of bread that I put in the toaster and forgot about. My kids felt a little slighted this morning because we ran out of weetbix so they had to have porridge or toast.
It is easy for me to judge the photographer for leaving this horrible scene once he snapped his shot, but in all honesty am I any better than him if I see what's happening to children all over the world and then turn my back? I often do nothing because I feel helpless. There is one of me...and so many of them.
A couple of nights ago we had a lengthy family discussion on gratitude for our food - it was prompted by Lani's refusal to eat her dinner. She hardly ever eats her dinner and I always remind her that some children have nothing. She doesn't understand and I've tried to explain it to her so many times. So I got onto the internet and showed my kids some pictures (ones I felt were age appropriate) of children and families in Africa. They saw some pictures of hungry children and other pictures of families who were left homeless due to natural disasters. Lani was moved and fought back tears while JJ started planning where he was going to build all the hospitals in Africa. I'm not sure what Benny felt, its hard to tell with him. We all shared a general feeling of helplessness and then gratitude. Job and I told the kids that we are planning to serve a humanitarian mission when they are all older. I also explained to JJ that he could get into some humanitarian work through school when he is a teenager. Then as a family we decided to sponsor a child through world vision. I think this will be good for the kids who have all agreed to donate some of their allowance. They will be able to write letters, send stickers etc and help brighten the life of one Child. Hopefully in the future, we'll be able to sponsor more children but for now one is a good start.
There is so much more I wish I could do for suffering children and families. It is something that plagues me regularly. I will be so much more grateful to Heavenly Father for everything our family has and will stop wasting food and water. I am thankful today that we have been born in this wonderful nation. I love Australia. We are so blessed here. Next time I worry about what we're going to have for dinner, I will remember that somewhere else in the world, another mother has nothing to feed her children.

1 comment:

Makayla said...

Hi Leeona, i hope you don't mind me visiting.. Things like this are heartbreaking. Especially as no one knows what happened to her, or even her name. Some of the pulitzer prize winning photographs are amazing, but lots are also along the same lines of this one - heartbreaking. I don't think i could be a photojournalist.
I think that 'because we have been given much we too must give', but it is so hard to help from our side of the world sometimes. I am grateful that we are able to in ways like sponsoring a child, donating money etc. I am hoping to teach overseas in the future and offer better education to people who may have never been able to get it otherwise. I am glad that i can help in this tiny way. It doesn't seem like much, but you guys are changing your sponsor child's life - i wish more people who are able would be so kind. It's awful feeling so helpless hey. :(
Makayla
p.s. you're an awesome photographer :)