By Jody C. Brown, Director for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group
You may have seen the pictures of our staff with their funny red noses on Facebook several weeks ago and just assumed it was because we were trying to entertain some of our patients. While they did get a laugh out of our funny faces, the reason behind the red noses was much bigger than getting a few smiles.
Red Nose Day
“A world free of poverty” is the goal of Red Nose Day. Red Nose Day is a fundraising campaign run by a non-profit organization, Comic Relief Inc., They bring people together to have fun while raising money to change the lives of kids who need it the most. This organization does work in the United States, but also in some of the poorest communities in the world.
Having spent time in three different countries in Africa over the past 15 years, I’ve seen real and deep poverty up close. Poverty is much more than a lack of food, water or shelter. It hits deep in the soul of a person. Poverty can deny a person of their dignity, self-worth and most importantly, security.
In Africa and other developing areas of the world, poverty may look different than what we see here in America. But no matter where it occurs, poverty has many of the same outcomes. Anyone who claims to care about the plight of the impoverished around their neighborhood, or around the world, must take concrete steps to help those who are suffering. We must invest in charities, programs or ministries that do real and lasting work to extend a helping hand. Just feeling bad for those in poverty is not enough.
A Story About Esther
Let me tell you a story about a young girl named Esther. Nearly five years ago, my husband and I, along with our three teenage sons, moved to Kenya, Africa for seven months. Not long after our arrival, we were introduced to Esther. When we met Esther, she was weak, frail and very sick with HIV/AIDS. It was very difficult for us to see a child in this condition. The most difficult thing by far was seeing the fear in Esther’s eyes. It was obvious she knew she was dying.
Why was this precious child in such a dire state? Because the very people entrusted to care for her had failed her and she was quickly running out of time. Esther did not have the medicines she needed, and just as importantly, she was not being given the food and nutrition she needed to make her healthy.
As a last resort, Esther was brought to the Catholic Charities Care Center, a center usually providing support for the elderly. Some amazing nuns took Esther in and quite literally nursed her back to health. Less than two months after first meeting Esther, we were visiting the orphanage where she was from. We were shocked to see her running and playing with the other children. Gone was the frail little girl who could barely stand on her own. The change in her was so significant we had to ask one of the caretakers if that was really her.
Here is what Esther looks like today.
This transformation did not happen by accident.
The orphanage where Esther lives is now funded by a group of people who see to the needs of all the children in this home. They no longer wonder if there will be enough food, if there will be money for new shoes or clothes, or if they’ll be able to attend school this year because there isn’t money for school fees or uniforms. This transformation happened because people just like you, and just like me, cared enough to give of their time, talent and money to care for a little girl half way around the world. So give. Find an organization, maybe Red Nose Day, maybe another organization that touches your heart, but give somewhere. Our world doesn’t need superheroes, it just needs people who really care and act on behalf of those less fortunate than themselves.