domingo, 25 de abril de 2010
Lately I have been asked many times, "How can I help?" . " I read your blog, and I had no idea about the sad reality that you describe....I would love to do something ....but what can I do?? I will not change anything! I am useless concerning this big problems....".... WRONG !!
I will share with you some of my thoughts about how to answer this question.
1st) TO KNOW : We will never change anything if nobody knows what is going on.... try to know, look for the information..... share that with as many people as you can!! Open the newspaper in the World section, instead of reading how is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie :) .... Go to the internet, to look for news of the countries that we know nothing about... Ask yourself why the war in Iraq is in every tv or magazine.... and nobody knows that there is a war in Somalia, in Congo, Liberia, etc... ask the media why they dont search for that!! The Media give us what we want.... if we want reality shows, they will give us that.... if we want to know why children are carrying guns, women are being raped, HIV, malaria (it kills millions of children and its so easy to treat), hunger, thirst, etc.... they will give us that... and we dont need to cry about it.... we need to do something and smile about what we did !
2nd) MONEY: No money, no love.... find an organisation that you trust and give money.... There is nothing that can be done without money.... I always had this 1% idea in my mind! 1%...its nothing ...if we give 1% of our income every month we will not feel in our budget and for sure it will make a huge diference .... I have been doing that since I was living from my parents money... I gave 1% of what they were giving me :) .... Think that maybe you dont need a new car... that a 5 stars hotel maybe its not necessary to enjoy the place that you are travelling to, etc.... Think if your luxury is really making you happy ....
3rd) IDEAS: Besides money, we can give our work, our ideas.... its not just doctors that they need in Africa....they need everything!! They need the knowledge that we have from our developed world for sure. It will be very important in many countries.... health, business, law, art, engineering, sports,etc.... !!! They need help in every field that you can imagine....
4th) EDUCATION: In my opinion...much more important than Doctors without Borders would be Teachers without Borders.... It might sound very obvious what I will write.... but instead of treating their patients we should be focusing more in educate them to be Doctors..... Its easier to count the lives that we save when we work in a hospital.... but for sure we would save much more by educating them with our knowledge.... Teach what you know...
5th) ANYWHERE: We dont need to go to Africa to save the world.... There is so much we can do right next to our comfortable lives.... Just open your eyes and choose to see!
Never give money to a poor.... or a pen, or a soup, or whatever.... they will get use to get things for free.... Give your money for a service.... as reward or a payment of something.... Give your money to an organisation that knows to whom and why they are helping.... that gives food to the ones that really dont have, and will try to find a job for them or community service....
These were just some thoughts and opinions of a person just like you....
Yes, there is hope in all of us, yes, there are solutions to these huge problems, Yes we all can help in many ways ....
We all live our lives to be happy..... And Helping will make you really HAPPY!
sexta-feira, 16 de abril de 2010
Dedicated to the Congolese Women....
Probably everybody knows that women are not treated as equal still in many parts of the world, probably you also know that, the more undeveloped the country is , more you see female discrimination… You also know that in every war, when some fight for land or money , women and children suffer the most…
It is quite impressive to see the difference between the roles of men and women in this part of the planet…. Many things of their way of living I haven’t understood….but many others shock you deeply and don’t take long to realize…. All the hard work is done by women, all the farming is done by women and of course, housekeeping, taking care of the children, etc….
That region was very hilly and it was the women that always carried the heavy loads up the hill and down the hill….while the men were carrying nothing…. These mountains were step as they come, and they would carry 40, 50, 60 kgs….who knows, on their back and still take a baby on their neck and walk for hours ….. their effort was huge….and it was the way it was…..their daily life …. My respect and admiration for African women is just beyond what you can imagine…after I saw what I saw…
But do you really know what woman go through? Have you any idea how their rights are violated? Do you imagine what they suffer physically and psychologically during times of war?
I will tell you a story….
….story of a woman … an African Woman…. a Congolese Woman…. That is just one life story in the middle of million others…..
She was already in the Hospital of Masisi, when I arrived there to start my mission… She was 39 years old, she was very quiet… always with a shy smile when we approached her…. Big and expressive eyes, beautiful and proud…. Like most of the other patients, no french, meaning no communication directly with me… but there was something in her look, her expression, her actions , that told me that she was a very wise and calm woman…. Like all the other women covered by colorful fabrics that give life to all these stories….
She had many bandages holding her right arm, and so I asked what happened to her… The local nurses started telling me the story…. :
“She was shot in her arm….”
“Why would one shoot a woman?”
“She was resisting ….”
“Did she escape?”
“She did at first, but then they went after her, shot her in the warm, grabbed her and raped her anyway…”
“The Congolese army!”
This was my first day at work in Congo…too much reality for a first day… She had a whole in her arm caused by the bullet of the Kalashnikov, that broke the Umerus (bone of the arm)….and probably she will never be able to use her right arm again, with the conditions that we had to treat her….. We took her to the operation room many, many times to clean the wound… and the healing was going well, but when you are missing 10 cms of the bone there is no way it will consolidate…. She was suffering a lot… And it was obvious that she hated to go to the operation room…. But I saw trust in her eyes…. Looking at us with hope, asking no questions, ….and I have no idea where she was getting this hope ….as we didn’t have much to offer her… She needed some sort of prosthesis to hold the weight of her arm so she could use it….and after a long burocratic struggle we were able to send her to an handicap program in Goma (the biggest city in the region)….and I want to believe that something was made for this innocent woman….
Stories like this where countless…. During the war, men get what they want with one simple method : The Kalashnikov ! Their food, money, ….and women as well of course…. The rebels, but much more often the Congolese Military rape their own women…. The ones that were suppose to protect their people are the ones who rape the women, steal the population and burn their villages…. Showing no regret…. You have your gun, you get what you need!
(Sorry for the reality of this picture, Its the first I have shown like this, but I thought it was important the understant the severity of this issues)
Congo , more specifically the region where I was , The Kivus, is by far the worst region of the planet in terms of sexual violence…. Some reports say that around 70% of the women of that region have been victims of sexual violence at least once in their lives….
Doctors Without Borders, created in that hospital a program for victims of sexual violence, offering these women, prevention of sexual diseases, contraception and psychological and medical support, ….. establishing bonds with many of the villages and communities all around, so these women could come to the hospital with secrecy of the true purpose….And every day many new victims came to that program….
Attempt of rape, raped, raped by groups, raped and shot, raped and killed….children, young girls, old woman…..whatever you can try to imagine…. And as one can imagine the pain that this women care inside will walk with them until the end of their days….. Many run in shame from their villages, many hide in silence with fear of rejection…..many are reject by their husbands, or even rejected by their family and communities…. There are reports of women who were used for sexual purposes during several days by groups, that when released put an end to their lives, choosing death over shame !!
Thousands of women, NOW, match this truthful description that you just read…
Why? Because of a war that nobody knows about…. But is very real….