Monday, September 3, 2012

Mercy Project

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.
–Mercy Project

The problem with living such a cushy life in America is that there's an impulse to pretend that most everyone else lives the same, or close to the same. To look hard at the face of injustice and abuse - especially toward children - threatens our own coziness, somehow. 

It's difficult to wrestle with the dichotomy of have/have not. It can't be tidied up and tucked away in a labeled box. It messes with my head. It kicks me in the gut when I should be sleeping.

I can't make sense of my life juxtaposed with the lives of three little girls who live in a one room shack just a few miles down the street. Their existence complicates my bliss a little. It should.

It's even harder to process the lives of children in third world countries. Their existence involves crippling poverty. Hunger. Slavery. 

Children. Slavery. I can't make it compute. 

Today, my children will wake up thrilled to the ends that Daddy has the day off. They'll argue over whether we go to the zoo or the mall. We'll pay for one meal what over half of the families in the world live on for a week.

Across the ocean, in Ghana, Africa, mothers living impossible lives make the unthinkable decision to either sell their young children to someone who can provide for them, or watch them starve to death. They are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves. Their mothers never see them again.   

Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

Calvin and I watched this video together a few weeks ago and it provided an amazing opportunity for him to see the way so many other children around the world are forced to live. I want my kiddos to understand from a young age that they are not the center of the Universe, that people are hurting all around, that they have a responsibility to help the helpless.

Today, as we celebrate the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, let's remember the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them. 

Get involved by connecting with Mercy Project  via  Facebook, twitter, or their website.

Help spread the word. And later this month, when they free their first group of children, we can celebrate together.

Happy Labor Day, friends.