Saturday, August 25, 2007

Night for Africa

Northpoint Community Church held a fund-raiser "A Night for Africa", last night ("fun raiser", as Lanny thought it was). It was a good time and somewhat educational. Jeff Foxworthy was the headliner - he had gone with the 410 Bridge group to Africa. They also played video from their trip and had slides showing some of the depressing statistics about life in Eastern Africa. They handed out these informative "passports" at the event.

While they did highlight some of the issues with water availability and quality, and the mortality rates of children, they didn't much mention the rampant AIDS problem (as I recall). I'm on the donor list of Doctors without Borders, so I get alerts and newsletters about many of the issues in Africa. Amazing how wonderful our quality of life is in sharp contrast to others' around the world.

Naturally, what's a fund-raiser for Africa without representative indigenous smiling faces. There was a young lady who's been sponsored by an American couple - and who wants to be the first female Kenyan president in, say, 2030. There was also the talented Daraja African children's choir. In all it was a good night, though I wish they had highlight a bit more the real depth of the problems in Africa. However, had they done that there probably would be those who felt that they were using emotional manipulation (can't win sometimes, I guess). I did like the philosophy of 410 Bridge, which is to work with the Compassion International and local organizations rather than come in with their own Westernized agenda.

Generally I'd rather see funding for humanitarian efforts go to dedicated organization rather than through church organizations, which too often focus more on the "soul" than on solving the physical problems. Telling someone that one day they'll be happy in heaven doesn't make their life here on earth any better. Yet must of the focus of this event is on addressing the very real problems that exist in the here and now.

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