Monday, February 12, 2007

Cathy Hetrick, my colleague with Mosaic, and I just recently returned from Kenya. We were there to continue our community partnership with people from Buchifi. Emotionally, it's a draining experience, especially since we are trying to do prevention. The challenge of prevention is culture change. Not easy, slow, and often frustrating, but necessary, both in Kenya and at home.

Below is something from the trip:

Kenya/Can you/Will we?
- Brad Ogilvie

Beautiful Country
Hard Country
Dead dog on the roadside, killed by a car
Dead Child on the roadside, killed by a car
People Standing
People Staring, No sign of an ambulance
Witnessing doesn't change the truth
It changes your truth
About the world as it is

So, as we return
To our world of healthclubs
of coffee shops
of playdates,
of resorts, vacations, and therapy
and massages and healing arts
How do we never forget
That we are one world
That Kenya exists everyday
But not only in Kenya,
at home as well.
People die from AIDS at home
People acquire HIV at home
And it’s not just AIDS
It’s poverty, hunger, disease
It’s homelessness, it’s greed, it’s climate change
And we say "but it's Africa that matters"
We now are the Kenyans of America
Waiting, watching
For the ambulance that doesn't come.
How do we become that ambulance
That responds to that child of humanity that we all see
That is lying at our feet.

But instead, we look away
we analyze and study
We gaze overseas or deep within
Never realizing we see the same thing
Never making the connection
that when we start from afar
or deep within, and don't look between
we must sidestep the child
That is lying at our feet.

How did that child get there?
Who is this child?
Was he a boy, or was she a girl?
Was he gay or was she straight?
Would she have been a doctor
or would he have been a drug addict?
If I could have prevented this,
would it matter?
Should it matter, if
I can stop another child from lying dead at my feet?

To look in horror,
To look away,
To shake our heads,
To say "That's another world" or "That's not my concern"
Will not do.
We cannot save this dead child at our feet.
It is the next one, and the next one
That matter now, in Kenya, in Chicago, in Salt Lake, in Wheaton
So that we no longer stand and stare at the dead child
That is lying at our feet.

This was written on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 in Kericho, Kenya on the return trip from Buchifi to Nairobi. The first six lines are actual scenes, not metaphors.

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