Another Worthy Cause

Brass Band aid champions many causes. Wherever there is need, we stand ready to help. We have fundraisers for the public so they can participate in our support, we offer things for sale, and we take donations. It is a rewarding enterprise like similar organizations that reach out wherever they here the call. Anyone with a similar bent can join in as a donor or volunteer. If nothing else, you can simply pass the word.

Most of us hear right away when there is a disaster that strikes the innocent. It can be a terrible hurricane or storm, a fire out of control that destroys homes, or an earthquake of major proportions. The first thing we think about is “how can I help.” It is comforting to know that people are standing by with aid. Of course, the government responds, but there are many ways, large and small, that others can make the situation more bearable.

Recently, we had an immediate on-the-spot charity event to provide supplies to a nearby location hit by a bad weather system which left residents without power. We needed to act on a timely basis. We rallied the neighborhood with door-to-door appeals, flyers, and a newspaper notice. We succeeded in raising funds to buy LED flashlights from Flashlight Pro. You would think that most people have a least one, but it is not so. People are most often not prepared for a power outage. It catches them by surprise and they are left literally in the dark. They can light candles at best. If they have food in the refrigerator, it will rot. If their kids are scared, then so be it. Don’t you wish that everyone could afford a back-up generator? But the least we can do is handout flashlights. A good LED model will at least provide enough long-term light to get through the first days of the power outage. Usually, by then it goes back on.

Sometimes food and other supplies are needed in a crisis situation, so this is but one of many small examples of our work. We help organize the purchase and distribution of non-perishable goods and also water in the event that local resources are lax on the job. We can get there first. If a disaster strikes a faraway area, we have our regional volunteers on call or we can donate money to local organizations that we know can help.

What do you do to help others in need? It is time to evaluate where you stand. Let this blog remind you that there are always crisis situations that demand public help. We need to be prepared ahead of time, not after the fact. Then we can be of most assistance. At the very least, form a neighborhood watch that can take action in the event of something like a power outage. No one should be left stranded at home. Each and every one of us can have a role in active disaster response. Then you can expand your horizons and help larger organizations support their causes.

Lacking Healthy Nutrition

While we ponder what to have for dinner – steak or chicken – much of the world is going hungry, many of them young children. It is heartbreaking. They are crying out for help. The faces you see in the ads are real and the suffering portrayed is significant. Those lacking healthy nutrition need a voice, and we are here for them as advocates. Reading this blog should be the start of your new mental journey of awareness. Thank you for joining us.

Raising recognition of world hunger is our purpose and we have a quest to reach more people in more places. We want to iterate the problem that we all know exists and to fund programs to remedy it. Health is of utmost concern in the third world. The rest of us worry about our physical fitness, undertaking personal regimes with trainers who design customized exercises or investing heavily in the best home gym systems to help us feel better about eating too much. This is a luxury of the affluent indeed.

Hunger is so widespread as to almost be impossible to cure, but we have made inroads and we will make more. With the help of the public, good nutrition can be made available to the poor countries or areas within them. It can be in the east or west. Even in the United States there are pockets of despair. We can no longer afford to bury our necks in the sand. We need to get them out and looking around.

The areas of concern are too numerous to itemize, but you should know the primary ones. Africa is hard hit with hunger. It is a populous continent that takes millions of sacks of relief food to address the lack of nutrition. What humanitarian organizations provide is so basic and includes potable water. It is not always a well-rounded meal with protein and fresh fare. Whenever you feel a bit off about what you are eating—such as leftovers—think about the waste you accept as an ordinary fact of life. Who hasn’t had a parent say, “eat your dinner, there are poor children in India.”

Sponsoring a child is a wonderful thing and is now open for your consideration. You can provide a meal a day for a small monthly sum. Helping the hungry is our duty and responsibility no matter your age, profession, religion, or financial assets. We can all help by drinking one less soda or chewing one less pack of gum. It is a blessing to participate in any program such as World Vision. You will reap many personal rewards. Improving the conditions that lead to poverty is also a vast realm for volunteer workers and funding. Anything we can do is vital. Much research on root causes is needed and energy deployed to make a dent in world hunger. New methods of growing crops can help. It is not always that there is food shortage, but it is often the fact that people can’t afford it. In the long run, eradicating poverty and hunger go hand in hand.

A War Against Mosquitos

There are many world causes such as hunger and clean water that command our attention. Environmental issues are always on the front table. There are also many diseases yet to eradicate. New viruses are appearing all the time alongside deadly bacteria. Take your pick and devote yourself to anything that will better humankind, especially in third world nations where progress needs further impetus. Right now I am thinking about malaria, a condition that has plagued populations exposed to mosquitos that transmit the dangerous plasmodium parasite. Regional pest control has been effective, but it needs to be more widespread. Fundraising is once again on our table to help advance this cause.

Certain insects can transmit malaria to humans, and those of are of prime concern. Biologists understand the mechanics of the process, but a step further must be taken to safely combat infestations without toxic chemicals. The fever, fatigue, vomiting, and headache associated with the disease are dreadful and can lead to jaundice, coma, and death. Mosquito nets are seen in high-risk territories and spraying is common. Government regulation is not always there to eliminate abuses. Drug therapy can help the patients, but what can take care of a mosquito problem at the source?

The World Health Organization recommends 12 insecticides for this purpose—even DDT which as a bad rap in agriculture. There are many on the list due to the fact that the insects can become repellant resistant. This is known to be the case in parts of Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Mosquito larva fester in open water areas that can be treated and better yet reduced in number. Community education is an important program that draws local attention to issues demanding resolution. Stagnant water in tanks, for example, are breeding grounds that must be eliminated. Other water sources have to compensate and that is costly and difficult in most rural regions.

Another means of pest control is to manage population congestion that fosters rapid transmission. People need to learn about sanitation, window screens, and draining wetlands. Again, education is a profound tool in the war against malaria. Fatality rates can be as much as 20% of those infected. (There were 660,000 deaths worldwide in 2010). We have come a long way, but we can do more to reduce this number to close to zero. Vaccines are under consideration and development, but not yet made public. Organizations like Malaria No More and the Malaria Atlas Project are certainly timely. Kudos go to the scientists and researchers hard at work to improve the cure.

Pest control should take on a new meaning in your mind and goes well past a few ants and cockroaches in the kitchen. They are unpleasant but not life-threatening. It is serious business when a mosquito can spread a disease through the delivery of saliva and the uptake of blood and impact human well-being. Don’t let anyone become a blood meal, no matter how far away. Support malaria eradication and spread the word. Obsolescence is the goal.

A Trip to a Fishing Village

Fishing may be a great pastime to many, but to even more it is a means of obtaining sustenance. It is hard work and often involves great toil. The elements can be intimidating as you ply your trade. And then there is the issue of quantity. In certain parts of the world, certain species are declining in numbers and threatening regional prosperity. Fishing can be constitute an entire local economy and make the difference between health and starvation.

It is serious business, indeed, and must be protected from poachers, toxic waste, and the detrimental changing texture of the land such as sea level. You go on the Internet and all you say are ads for fly-fishing junkets and luxury tours. If you saw the faces of needy children in Africa, you would turn away in disgust at the blatant negligence and disinterest of the affluent western world.

It is not always about water, although that is certainly part of the picture. It is also about other natural resources in a given area and what has been done to preserve them for posterity. It is about cultivating sources of food: grains, domestic animals, seafood, etc. We must teach the third world how to farm fish, for example, and promote an even and ample supply. Ignorance creates a dearth of options when science is not allowed to intervene.

Many cultures still use ancient methods to fish the seas – no sign of the best fish finder or other high tech gear here! In China there are boat communities where the people do not even go on land. Food and living staples are brought to them. They live near cliffs in waters known for the best catch. While you would not want to disrupt tradition, there comes a time when the situation turns grave and subsistence fishing becomes desperate. Some areas of the world can barely feed themselves with no opportunity for real commerce and income.

We don’t have to worry about the big guys and the big boats. They are pros and are part of a chain of command in the industry that is self-sufficient and lucrative. We need to turn our attention to the individual fisherman and his family trying to stay alive at a time when the rest of the world is dining well. The discrepancy is so great as to be astounding.

Modern technology is not always available to people fishing (or farming) at a subsistence level. The term denotes a non-commercial activity with a specific purpose like feeding a family. It is the opposite of sport fishing, is low tech and small in scale. To grow to the point of greater sustenance, and even excess to engender profit, they need to enter a structured system that has previously excluded them. With language and cultural barriers, this is easier said than done. So let’s stop looking at these people as interesting fodder for National Geographic programs and find out how we can draw attention and provide help. There is local regulation in Alaska with the Board of Fisheries. Why not in other regions?

Brass Instruments: Are You a Fan Unaware?

If you think you’re not a fan of the brass band sounds, you might want to think again.  I too was surprised to found out that I was a big fan…I was just unaware of the fact.

I never knew that some of my favorite bands consisted of brass instrumentals.  I have always loved the group “Chicago”.  I like anything by them, new or old.  The music just moves me and always has.  I mean with song like “Colour My World”, “Just You and Me” and “Saturday in the Park”, who could not loose themselves in the heart-felt sounds?  Chicago uses the saxophone, trumpet and trombone for its unique pieces and although I guess I knew there was brass in the band, I really never gave it much thought.

“The Rolling Stones” have always been the best classic rock band ever, in my eyes.  They used lots of brass instruments like the saxophone and other ones too.  I had no clue of that back in the day I jammed to their music.

“Blood, Sweat and Tears” was another classic rock band that featured brass.  Their unique sound came to be known as jazz-rock.  “No Sweat” was one of my favorite albums and it had a lot of horn in it.  I had just never realized that.  Did you know that the Beatles’ song “Penny Lane” had a trumpet solo in it?  Well, neither did I until recently.

“Urgent” by Foreigner came around later as did many brass sounds in more recent music such as alternative rock, country and even Christian music.  Phil Driscoll is my favorite Christian singer ever.  The trumpet in his songs and solos are simply heavenly.

“Radiohead” is another group that has brass in its tunes.  “The Dave Mathews Band combines guitar and the brass for a very different and unique sound like in the song “”Squirm” that features the trumpet.  The group “Cake” plays a tune entitled “Short Skirt and A Long Jacket” has trumpet too.

And don’t forget the one-of-a-kind sounds of the funky rock band, the “Red Hot Chili Peppers”.   They have a lot of brass in their songs like “Taste the Pain” and “Pretty Little Ditty”.

There are, of course, the unequalled sounds of the Big Bands that were once so wildly popular.  Swing was huge in the 20’s and is making a big come back now too.  Then there are the jazz sounds like you will hear in New Orleans.  The tunes will sweep you away to another time and place

Brass is often front and center and you will know that you are listening to it.  Then, there are times that you, like myself, will be surprised to learn that it is a subtle part of the background, complimenting other parts of the band.

You just never know when brass might just be part of the songs that you know and love.  Once you discover just how many times this is so, you might find yourself seeking out brass like I have recently begun to do.  I was a fan, unaware and now have come face to face with it and a passion has begun.

Charitable Contributions: Taking It to the Next Level

Have you ever had a good cause that burned in your heart like a raging wild fire?  I have.  Recently I really got to thinking about world hunger and it was a thought I couldn’t get out of my mind.  I cannot imagine the feeling of being hungry with no way to get food.  How horrible the thought!  The passion to help set a fire in my heart.  I had to do something to help.

I am not a wealthy person so what I could actually donate was limited.  I gave what I could but knew that ware but a drop in the bucket.  I had to do more.

That is when I begin to get creative.  I used my imagination to come up with the ways and means to come up with funds that I could donate to the cause.

First, I found an organization of which I would make the contribution.  It had to be one I trusted so I researched all and found that World Vision was a Christian group with a great track record.  With that having been accomplished, I began to collect ideas of things I could do.

One fun idea was a raffle.  I first collected a list of businesses that might donate something to my cause.  I called restaurants and asked them to contribute a gift certificate of their choosing.  Some gave away a dinner, others opted for an entrée or discount.

I called other places too like retailers and service providers.  I came up with oil change coupons, entertainment vouchers and lots of other great gifts.

The wonderful thing about this project is that it was a win-win deal.  I would get items to raffle off and the businesses would have a tax deduction for donating to a non-profit cause.

After I had accumulated a nice collection of things to raffle, I sold tickets to it.  I called businesses and organizations and individuals as well.  I got tons of people to purchase one or more tickets.

I held the actual raffle at a local park.  The weather was nice so it was a great turn out.  I did make it to where the winners did not have to be present to win so some were there and some were not.  It was a huge success and I was able to make a nice donation to World Vision.

Another fund raiser for world hunger that I put together was a bake sale.  Some close friends and I made up some goodies like cookies, breads and cakes.  We got permission to set up outside a large retail chain and proceeded to sell our delicacies.  Again, the sale went extremely well and another nice contribution was given.

There are lots and lots of ways that you can help in a capacity you probably never dreamed possible.  You can sponsor a local talent show and use the money from ticket sales for your donation or order a bulk of a product like flowers, candy or gift wrap paper and sell them door-to-door, online or set up at a physical location.  There are even fund raising kits you can order.

Remember to offer those who donate a tax-deductible receipt as an incentive and give them as many details about the cause you are supporting too.  Alone, we are limited but, with a little imagination and a good bit of determination, your heart can go a long, long way.

Help the Hungry

There is no manner in which a well-fed person can understand starvation. Us lucky ones are more concerned about things like the best scale for weight loss. There is no way on earth a healthy adult can understand a child with insufficient nutrition. The world is riddled with a plague that is ignored by those so affluent that they cannot bear a pang of guilt, and so they turn away. Perhaps they don’t deserve reproach for their unwillingness to confront reality; but it would be an earthshattering turn of events if they did.

There is enough wealth in the world to feed every hungry soul on every continent. It is a hopeful thought indeed. If we could just find a way to call upon each and every citizen of the world to do their part to fight hunger, we could resolve it indefinitely. We can coordinate delivery efforts and find the resources. We just need the funds—not one time, but regularly and with consistency.

Those who enjoy three hot meals a day do not know deprivation. They cannot fathom pangs of hunger that turn into aches so deep that it makes one faint. What do they know of starvation? World Vision can show them how to understand it and how to destroy it. It can call attention to what makes people turn away in fear. They are afraid of the consequences of their inability to take action. They are afraid of the truth.

It only takes a small donation to World Vision from millions to have an impact. If you think that you are only one among a multitude and that there is nothing you can do, then you are wrong. There is a balance that is off kilter in the world today. Imagine a giant set of scales with one side the third world and the other the “haves.” The weight is tipped in one direction. It is as if a million heavy stones, each representing a hungry child, is in one giant bucket. If slowly but surely we can remove even one a day, in no time the balance will return to normal.

The discrepancy between those who can eat at will and those who cannot is unimaginable; hence people simply do not think about it. But it must be brought to the surface and given a spotlight focus. Think of this blog today as an appeal to your humanity and conscience. Think of it as a first call to awaken you to a reality that you can actually affect. It is the responsibility of those who are not in need to assist those who are. Why not become a role model in your community and help lead the way.

The situation will not take care of itself. It will persist. It will not allow itself to become smothered by ignorance. It will rear its ugly head and shake its angry fist in your face. Don’t become inured to television ads with starving youthful faces and say to yourself that someone cares and will help. You, my friend, are the target. There is no one else.

The History of the Brass Band: Gone With the Wind?

The History of the Brass Band

Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a brass band concert.  The event was a fund raiser for the Christian organization World Vision that fights world hunger and helps in disaster relief and various other goodwill measures and humanitarian missions.

I didn’t expect to be in for such a treat.  I was so impressed by the rich and powerful, moving sounds of the brass band that I set about to find out more about brass bands, beginning with how and when the band got their start.

Way back in the 1830’s and before, brass bands were playing.  It wasn’t exactly the notes we enjoy now.  Some of the instruments like the cornets, trumpets and horns did not have valves as they do today so it put restrictions on what they could play.  But the sounds were still appreciated, mostly in the company of other instruments and not so much on their own but sometimes they were singled out or in a band with solely brass players.

In the 1830’s though, came to invention of valves to brass instruments.  That greatly improved the sound and the range of note which could be played so they became much more popular.   The era of the brass band had begun.

Bands played in concerts and people flocked to see them.  They traveled and toured and were appealing to the middle class and not just upper class.  Towns and communities took pride in putting together brass bands all their own that generally had eight to ten members.  The country and even the world was loving the sounds of brass.

It wasn’t uncommon in those days for well-to-do companies to sponsor a brass band.  There were bands that represented things like the fire department, police department and even non-profit organizations.  These bands offered a great resource to generate funding for these causes too.  Then, those who donated could experience the pleasure of hearing the bands and contribute too, just like I did.

Brass bands have experienced their share of waxing and waning in the years gone by.  They rose to popularity and then people lost interest in the early 1900s, preferring the softer sounds of the concert bands that often featured woodwinds rather than brass.

But in the past century, brass bands have been resurrected.  The love for brass is once again sweeping the nation.  Even those who would have never imagined they would like the bands are steadily becoming fans, like me.

Sometimes it’s the accidental exposure to a brass band that gets you hooked on the joy of it all.  I learned that.  I would have never ever gone to see a brass band had it not been for the “good cause”.  For me, it was a win-win all the way around.

Brass band have been around a long time.  They have been wildly popular and they have been overlooked.  No matter what the pulse of the world is, whether the general population into brass or preoccupied with another sound, brass remains.  Appreciation may rise and fall and at times may seem to be gone with the wind, but for fans like myself, brass bands will never go out of style.

Blowing the Horn on Ebola

Brass Band Aid is an organization that supports World Vision

Ebola is bad news.  The deadly virus is sweeping through West Africa, killing many. The current death toll stands at over 2,500 and is rising each and every day.  Somebody should do something to stop it!

Now we all can help.  A Christian humanitarian organization called World Vision is working on the problem right now.  They are supplying medical gloves and other sanitary medical supplies so the virus won’t be as likely to spread.  They are also donating food and water too.  In addition, they are on a mission to educate the public about Ebola, both in the affected nations and worldwide.

So what does that have to do with you?  Yeah, I wondered the same thing.  Turns out, it’s actually really cool how it all works.

Brass Band Aid is an organization that supports World Vision.  I couldn’t believe that donating could be so painless and pleasurable, actually.  All I had to do was to purchase a ticket to the concert event and I had contributed to the cause.  Plus, I got to hear a fantastically awesome concert too.

Have you ever been to a brass band concert?  I hadn’t.  I must admit, I was leery to go.  I’m not sure what I really expected.

I figured it would be loud and boisterous and most likely something only a brass enthusiast would enjoy.  I had half thought of just skipping out on the concert.  I had done my part to purchase it so what did it matter?   But, I knew I could leave at any time and had nothing better to do so I went ahead and attended.

Wow!  Was I ever surprised!  I have always been a stringed instrument kind of gal myself.  I hadn’t paid too much attention to the sounds of brass until I was front row and center before them.

Talk about good vibrations!  The sounds of the brass is unlike anything I had ever heard.  It was a powerful and moving experience.  The fine mix of the tuba, trumpet, horn and all the other glorious brass made for a heavenly noise.  Most of the concert was really upbeat and fast which was a real treat.

Concert tickets, sales from CDs and donations from the bands themselves all make up funding that goes to World Vision to blow the horn on Ebola.  Not only that, World Vision does much more than Ebola projects.  They work in near 100 countries in such areas as disaster relief, feeding the hungry, providing medical supplies, donation of safe drinkable water and public education.  They are making a huge difference in so many areas of concern worldwide.

I am really happy that I attended the brass band concert.  It has opened up a new passion for me.  I have since gotten very into the brass sounds and am even thinking of learning to play one myself.

You can easily find concerts and events that are working in conjunction with World Vision.  Take it from me, do not just purchase a ticket and miss the show.  You will love the sounds and knowing that your attendance is a win-win all the way around.  Trust me, if you’re like me, you’ll be absolutely blown away.

A Poor Man’s Restroom

I bet you haven’t seen a really poor man’s toilet. Consider yourself lucky and privileged. You won’t die of a dreaded infectious disease or be hampered in any way, shape, or form. This is not so for the less fortunate. In many parts of the word, toilets are not even in real segregated restrooms which would elevate their status quite a bit. They may be a euphemism for a hole in the ground with maybe some kind of temporary surface on which to place one’s feet—maybe metal or ceramic tile at best. Outhouses and sheds are all too common, the likes of which we have not seen in the west for one hundred years. Maybe you remember one of these as a kid when you went to camp, but it must have been a budget one for sure! Most will not remember hearing of the nasty-smelling chemicals that were used for odor control.

Hygiene is an issue we all care about, but the poor are helpless to take action to improve it. They might not even have a true kitchen with running water and have to shower outside or communally. Hot water would be a precious luxury. Ill health is a sad repercussion of poor facilities. You may laugh when in a country (perhaps in Africa) that does not boast of the latest models of toilets and say to yourself “how quaint.” This is not funny to those in need who have to live with the worst of circumstances daily. Children suffer from rashes and boils. They do not grow up properly and poor hygiene only adds to the problem of insufficient nutrition.

You may balk at the idea of a world in which such toilets exist, and this is the first sign of salvation for the third world. People everywhere need to care about and address the problem even though it doesn’t darken their doors. Now something perhaps can be done at last. Local governments may be remiss but we can seldom change policies. We can fund building, however, by supplying expertise and materials. We can consult on technology pertinent to a given area and provide meaningful solutions. It is our duty and our responsibility and I ask you to spread the word.

It is a crime that primitive toilets exist at all. They are such a basic necessity of life. It is bad enough that bathrooms in some regions of the world are often filthy and disease-ridden. They are little shops of horror. It is worse if no facilities are there at all. Nature is not the answer. We cannot survive as a people if we revert to practices that are centuries old and were intolerable even then. Man is meant to evolve and not stagnate.

Now you know one of the great tragic issues of our time and have no excuse for turning away in apathy. It is hard to confront such things in this day and age. It is not what we expect in the modern world. We have international digital communication, sophisticated technology, smart phones and ipods; but no universal hygiene. It is a plague in the true sense of the word.

Energy Poverty

There is indeed such a thing as energy poverty. We all know about lack of food and water, insufficient resources, poor hygiene and health facilities. Energy poverty is up there on the list of world scourges. If you live without electricity, you live without the basic necessities of life: a stove, refrigerator, washing machine, heat and cooling, and more. You are no doubt below the poverty line, not a pleasant place to be.

In third world countries, generators can be used where regional utilities do not reach everyone. This is not the best answer, but it is a viable one. At least some degree of power can be supplied—for a price. Most of the poor, of course, cannot afford these devices, as handy and reliable as they are. They can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars and they eat up fuel. It is incumbent upon world charitable organizations to find them from commercial donors and manufacturers, or at least those that provide significant discounts.

We use generators as mains backup in hospitals, office buildings, and residential homes. They are a luxury. We take portable versions camping and in our RVs. How lucky we are that they are not the primary sources of power in our lives. They have limited capacity at the more affordable prices. As such, they have been relegated to bad climate areas that create frequent outages.

We take lighting for granted. Imagine having to use fossil fuels (like wood), kerosene lamps and candles as in the olden days. With poor quality of light, you can barely see at night (needed for children in school), much less read or perform any kind of task. Plus there are adverse health effects of sitting near pollutants in closed in spaces like tents including respiratory infections. Solar panels that convert the sun’s rays to electricity can replace primitive methods for sure. There must be a way to supply these otherwise costly solutions to those in need. Fire prevention, especially in those wood structures common to poverty areas, is a priority. Money is always an issue and it just isn’t there.

True economic development is correlated with modern sources of power—water, wind, steam, solar, or nuclear. Over a billion people do not have access to any of them (including 25% of India’s population). Progress is not reaching everyone worldwide. Superior methods are not available everywhere. Kerosene, invented in the mid-19th century, is still a staple of many country towns and even urban slums. Cooking fuel is even harder to come by. It is called energy poverty and it is no joke.

Breaking the cycle of poverty means supplying cheap and effective electrical resources where they do not yet exist. The generator stop gap is just that—a temporary plan. Educating the poor is a good start and is already taking place with organizations like Pollinate Energy. Fundraising is ever present. We have a long way to go, but the effort put in now will reap great rewards down the road.

Water and Poverty

Supporting World Vision is a blessing and a boon in one’s life. If you have any sense of responsibility, here is no greater reward than helping children in need whether it is from violence or lack of proper nutrition and care. Every child deserves clean water at the very least. It is the most basic requirement. Poverty is not a vice but a fact of life in many parts of the world and it must be remedied. Anything one does to play a part is more than welcome. Joining hands in publicizing need is my mission.

That being said, why is water such a universal problem? We are in the 21st century after all. In the west, we take it for granted that our water will be safe to drink and free from harmful chemicals. It is treated if it has any trace of toxins that may cause harm. We have state-of-the-art faucets and fixtures from which to avail ourselves of this essential substance. This is not the case around the world. Areas of severe poverty suffer from a lack of infrastructure to provide potable water. Plumbing is primitive at best and begs for replacement if not minimal upgrading. The poor cannot relocate or change their circumstances. They can’t afford expensive systems and bottled water. They are at the mercy of their surroundings and usually have no voice to effect change. Sometimes they simply go without.

Water is one of the fundamental essences of life with earth, air, and fire. It seems to be ignored, however, in many countries where governments are remiss in addressing the problem. Good health and well-being is affected negatively when water is not safe. Rivers and streams, and lakes and ponds can’t necessarily be relied upon. In many locations in the countryside where a large portion of the poor reside the powers that be do not regulate the dumping of waste. It is a perennial problem that will only get worse unless attention is drawn internationally to the dire nature of the matter.

Outhouses and sheds are not our image of modern plumbing or even of human life. Disease is associated with lack of facilities. Pumps instead of running water from faucets are not our idea of a good mode of existence. Imagine children in torn rags with large pleading eyes suffering from hunger and thirst and you will know the gravity of much of the third world. It is imperative to find a solution. Plumbing is expensive if you must start from ground zero and when it is not part of the intrinsic native culture. Modernization can mean an entire retrenching of the infrastructure. It seems like an all or none proposition. Local resources are not usually available and funding must come from charitable organizations like World Vision. Is it likely we can cover so much need?

Next time you turn on your faucet in the kitchen and let the water flow freely, think about those who do not have this amazing luxury. Ponder the wealth of resources that others no not enjoy.

When’s The Last Time You Actually Felt Hunger?

It’s pretty simple.  You get hungry, you raid the fridge.  Or, drive up to McDonalds or run in a Subway if you are into a quick fix.  Of course you can go all out and fix a nutritional meal if you are so inclined or even go for a sit down lunch or dinner.  Yep, it’s pretty simple…unless you live in Adet, Ethiopia or some other impoverished country in which case your only option may just be to stay hungry.

It’s something most of us have no clue about.  I mean, there have only been a few times I can remember really being hungry and not eating right away.  Once was in Vacation Bible School when I was a kid.  I had forgotten to eat breakfast and got hungry right about the time I got there.  As luck would have it, the lesson was on the “Five Loaves and Two Fishes’ that fed the multitudes.  The little snack of milk and cookies didn’t make a dent in my starvation.  My tummy grumbled and complained all the way through until finally, class was over.  I talked my mother into stopping by Whataburger and the suffering was over.

Hum…that is pretty pathetic.  What if I had gone all day without eating or for several days or a week?  I can honestly say that I have no earthly idea what it feels like to really be hungry.

There are those, though, who have no idea what it feels like to NOT be hungry.  It is a way of life.  And worse than being hungry themselves is watching their loved ones go hungry.  It must break a mother’s heart to watch her children starve.

That is where World Vision steps in.  The organization is on a mission to stomp out world hunger.  It’s quite a feat and it can’t be done overnight but they are making great and wonderful strides and are making a difference, one mouth at a time.

The organization helps in other areas too such as working to provide drinkable water.  Again, I don’t know what it’s like to be thirsty and not have something to drink.  I cannot imagine not having some form of water that I could safely drink.  Do you?

Numbers don’t lie.  World Vision is a Christian humanitarian group that is currently providing help to 1,650 communities in close to 100 countries. This year alone, it has given aid to 11 million disaster survivors in need.  How do they do it?  Through sponsorship and donations and fund raising events.

There are concerts and events that help boost funds for this charity.  When you attend one of these, you not only get to enjoy the entertainment, you can feel good about helping the less fortunate as well.

Out of site out of mind.  That is a good philosophy for hiding your cigarettes or trying to get over a bad relationship but it doesn’t work when it comes to those in need.  They will still be there, hoping and praying that help will arrive…in time.  I hope that you will join me in helping to make sure that it does.