Recently some friends got into a discussion on facebook about a silly topic which has got me thinking. The conversation was about the ideals of philanthropy in Africa: How bringing clothing to the poor there doesn't help them in the long run. How hand-outs give little good. Educational opportunities are more important. Helping build up the local economy is more important. etc. How "The Gap" wouldn't be able to anything by giving the poor t-shirts.
Normally when faced with mild confrontation to my ideals, I would experience doubt. This time, I didn't have any. These friends, who I admire for their intelligence and intellectual abilities, did little to convince me that what I'm planning on doing is a bad thing.
I'm going to adopt from the Congo even if it takes me years. I will bring supplies to the children in the orphanage where he comes from. They will get food, clothing, and books. I will bring them a little bit of hope, I feel, by showing them that someone cares. If I have to spend an afternoon there hugging children and playing soccer with them, so be it.
In an ideal world, we'd not have poverty or a need for adoption except in extreme circumstances. We live in an imperfect world where people are literally starving to death. Children in the Congo are dying of malaria which could be cured for a few dollars of over-the-counter medication. Children in orphanages are "guaranteed" a small meal everyday. However, the meal is void of most of the minerals and nutrients they should be getting. Many of them don't have clothes to wear. Instead they were rags covered in dirt, feces or urine as some of the children don't have access to clean water for baths. In the Congo, this is the case in many of the orphanages. The children don't get baths or hugs. No one reads to them at night. No one cares for them. When they die, they are just a statistic.
THAT is revolting to me. Children need hugs, long chats with parents who love them, clothes to wear, food to eat, etc.
This is what I know: Children are DYING. I can do something about it. I'm not going to let intellectual idealism prevent me from making a difference. If people want to do more than what I can do by getting a school in the Congo started: fantastic! I don't have the knowledge or skills or resources to do so. But in the meantime, knowing that a few hundred dollars could buy enough food to feed those kids a month or two... I will do that. I will hopefully save some lives in the process.
I don't need to be an intellectual to change someone's life. I can just be a Mormon gay boy who has a big heart and a self-motivated desire for change.