Re-focus on Africa

Time to open our hearts to those in need on the Horn of Africa

It’s amazing what a little compassion and a whole lot of perspective can do.

There are people — and now animals — that are throwing their efforts into raising money and awareness of the plight of East Africans in the midst of famine. Much of this effort is last-minute, but all accounts show their work is being rewarded with support from the people. 

Take the work of Shannon Willey, Lynette Kershaw and Jean Young. They have each put together — or worked together — on fundraising events in Oceanside this week and this month. Their goal, even though they are running different events, is to send more help to Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa in the middle of drought and devastation.

The same is true for Shirley Gong and the gang from Port Alberni’s Seventh Day Adventist Church, who are holding a Mutt March with their little dogs. As Shirley points out, the federal government is offering to match these donations — an incentive if we needed another one.

With all that is going on the world — from riots in London and Greece, to world financial turmoil — it might be easy to turn away from the tragedy unfolding in Africa. Or at least keep it in the backs of our minds. After all, there’s so much upheaval that for many people, it’s hard to focus on what’s important.

Yet, the efforts of these people to get something happening for Africa — even if it is on a very small scale — must be recognized for what it is. It’s a gentle shaking of us back to attention, away from the freak show that is Wall Street, and back to the actual suffering of a significant population of people with no say in world finances.

We might be worried about our level of comfort in our retirement, but many thousands of Africans are more worried about their immediate lives and those of their children. 

    — editorial by Steven Heywood