Tuesday 13 November 2007

all i want for christmas is....

It's autumn. From my warm kitchen I watch the rain lashing down and the wind beating against anything standing in the way.

winter is looming, I think as I calmly turn on the tap and open my full fridge. My phone beeps and the book on the table lays ready to be picked up and read.


Clean, fresh water
A job

It's nearly Christmas. How will I celebrate my Saviour's birth? Will I add to the already full shelves of my life or do I build shelves for someone without any?

Warmth: How often do I pass people selling the 'Big Issue' on Belfast's streets? Or the children busking on the corner with their accordions? How often have I handed them a warm cup of coffee and how often do I just walk by, irritated by their pleas for "Beeg Ishu"? How often have I handed them a scarf or hat, a cup of soup?

whatever you do unto the least of the people, you do it unto ME.

Shelter: There were 9,749 homeless people in Northern Ireland on the streets in 2006/07. More than 2 million people have been left homeless in Darfur, Sudan. That's 300,000 MORE than the population of Northern Ireland.

For £32 ($65) a family could have an emergency shelter - lasting at minimum, months. That's one meal out for two people - something that lasts roughly 2.5 hours.

Clean, Fresh Water: In Northern Ireland, water costs on average £160 per year, per household. For £72 ($149) I can give clean water to 100 people.

Every year 1.8 million people around the world die from drinking unclean water.

is the


population of Northern Ireland.

Food: A mum with three boys my friend knows lives with nothing in their cupboards but bread, mayonnaise, and ketchup until my friend care enough to ask what she can do - and we all feed and clothe them with our excess.

It costs £3.05 for a latte at Starbucks - that's $6.30. With £17 ($35.25) I can feed 100 children for a day.

A Job: I work 5 days a week, get free health care, and education for my children. I work 37.5 hours per week. I get 25 days paid holiday plus 12 statutory holidays. There are at least 4 websites offering jobs to NI. Unemployment is less than 5%.

Unemployment in Mongolia is, obviously, decidedly linked to their high percentage of poverty. Of their population, 36% is below the poverty line and in that 36 percent, 52% are unemployed. South Africa, a country I would consider 2nd World, has an unemployment rate of 25%. For £40 ($83) I can help start a small business in a 3rd world country. My dad runs a small business, and he supported our entire family, and then some with it.

Education: If I walk into a shop and see a top I like for £10 ($20), I buy it.

I spent a year of studying at Queens University, Belfast. That year of study cost £7500 ($14,500).

For my £10 ($20) a child in Mongolia can go to school for a year. And not justt one child, but their siblings after them as well. My £10 buys them books, they learn to read, and education changes the cycle of poverty and unemployment.

whatever you do unto the least of the people, you do it unto ME.

1 comment:

Philip said...

this verse has been on my mind a bit lately as well...
i see changes i need to make in my life else what am i doing?

bro the youngest