cabbage and community.
Alex Day, a vlogger on Youtube I follow and find absolutely hilarious [click here for some hilarious stuff on Twilight (language warning in some of the videos)], is being more awesome this week by taking a trip to Zambia with World Vision. The above is his first real update on the trip, and the particularly important part is at the end.
Alex makes the point in the above video that helping out one person ended up helping out an entire community. By changing the life of just one, you end up creating a ripple effect that changes the entire world surrounding that one. Because one child got sponsored, a father was able to start a local business selling cabbage, the community is able to get cabbage from someone they know and trust and are able to feed their families, and an entire area - small as it might be - improves.
Kiva.org works on this same principle - using the ideals of capitalism to create ways to help the less fortunate. Kiva does microloans to people in impoverished countries to help them start their own small businesses. This helps in so many ways: 1. The people are able to be independent and learn not only a trade, but a business, 2. The local economy is helped because it's locals producing goods for locals, allowing the money to stay in the area rather than going off to some random CEO, 3. It cuts into one of the cycles that creates trafficking - poverty and not being able to make money on your own, and 4. It's more dignified than a handout.
Seeing Alex's videos and thinking about these sorts of issues reminds me that there are positive people making positive changes in the world, and that gives me hope. It all comes down to the choices we make every day and the way we decide how to use the resources we've been given. In the internet age, we are more connected, and more in tune with what is going on in our world than ever before. And it's easy - incredibly easy - to focus on the terrible things: the racist comments being flung around by pundits, the oppression of peoples by the very people who are supposed to protect them, the nearly impossible task of finding a company that isn't doing something unethical somewhere, the mindsets of those around you that just say 'haha whatever' when you show them pictures and videos of factory workers living in slums, the rage and yelling of protesters comparing an elected official to Hitler when all he wants to do is make sure that people have access to a doctor.
It can get frustrating and oppressive and sometimes I look at the world and wonder why the hell I fight. Why in the world do I even try? I'm obviously not changing people's minds, and discussion just goes in circles a lot of the time, and sometimes I feel so alone in the fight.
And then I see videos like Alex's, and I'm reminded, yet again, that the community of people working for positive change might be small, it might be quiet, but by God, it's doing some good. And that's the side I choose to be on. That's the side I choose to fight for: The one that says I don't care if you're Muslim, black, white, Jew, Palestinian, Hindu or Shinto. I don't care if you are the very definition of a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. You are human, and are therefore deserving of my love and respect. You have dignity. You deserve a voice.
And I choose to be a part of a community that will give you that voice. That will give you the choices to be educated, to not spend your days doing the same tasks over and over again in a factory if you don't want to. That will help you when you get sick. That will give you the chance to live and learn what a healthy sexuality looks like, rather than being forced into a trade that rips that away from you. That will stand and support your rights when everyone else screams that you're a terrorist. A community that will choose to love you when it seems like no one else will.
And goldarnit, that gives me hope that things can turn out alright.
To close, John Green, another vlogger and author I really enjoy, said in a video a couple weeks ago:
I know it doesn’t feel this way all the time, but we get to choose what we care about and what we spend our resources on. We choose what (or ideally, whom) to lust after. We choose what to watch, what to write, what to build, how to spend to the breaths that we’ve been allotted. And the fact that many of our choices are unconscious - get that handbag, get that Starbuck’s, look at that Snooki - does not in any way make us less responsible for those choices. I’m happiest when I feel like I’m part of a community that makes me choose more intelligently and with greater empathy.
Let's go and be that community, guys.
Posted by Dianna at 5:43 AM