Crying Out for Help | Teen Ink

Crying Out for Help

March 27, 2008
By Anonymous

Crying Out for Help

When people have never experienced the razor-sharp hooks of hunger mercilessly clawing at their insides, they tend not to concern themselves much with this issue. Although they may not consciously make the decision to ignore this worldwide crisis, their prosperity naturally separates these “haves” from the “have-nots.” I must now switch from “they” to “we” because I have lived comfortably all my life amongst the “haves.” In this position of comfort, unfortunately, I have frequently succumbed to selfish bouts of “the world revolves around me” syndrome. Moreover, as a high school junior, the stress and demands of schoolwork, athletic competitions, and squeezing in a social life in between have drawn me further away from the greater world and deeper into my own little one.
However, a couple of weeks ago, I received a project in my English class entitled “Honors Proposal” that tugged me back into the real world. According to the project guidelines, I had to choose a cause and then take action to advocate it. Because I am from Cameroon, a country on the coast of West Africa, my mind naturally jumped to Africa. And, because food is such a dominant factor in my everyday life, the plight of those who have none of the food I so liberally consume led me to choose starvation as my cause. Now, I have been to Cameroon numerous times and have seen this starvation up close, sometimes frighteningly so, such as when the desperation of one little boy forced him to crawl after me, begging with complete body, heart, and soul for just one scrap of food. But, the fact that the extent of hunger in Cameroon does not even compare to the famine that pervades other parts of Africa truly illuminates the gravity of starvation.
Case in point, one-quarter of Niger’s population does not have enough food to eat, and with the population set to double in less than twenty years, there is no relief in sight. Also, in Malawi, a tiny country in Southeast Africa, the relentless cycle of drought and poverty keeps spinning wildly, causing thirty-five percent of its people to suffer from undernourishment. Moving further south, in the country of Zimbabwe, where farmers make up over fifty percent of the people but can only find nine percent of land suitable for cultivation, the lopsided availability of men to farm land and land to be farmed dash any hopes of coming ahead. And finally, as a country with only two physicians per one hundred thousand people, Burundi has very little hope of reversing sicknesses brought on by malnutrition. I only wish I could list every country in Africa suffering from the dreadful calamity of famine, and I only wish I could list every other ill endured by these countries, such as AIDS, lack of clean water, and dreadful levels of illiteracy, but the list would run far too long. However, everyone can, and should, take the initiative to educate himself or herself about the numerous problems in Africa to discover what can be done to help.
Although I have only scratched the surface of one particular issue in one particular continent, I earnestly hope to have increased your awareness of the ills which plague our world. After all, a global issue that affects eight hundred and fifty-four million people across the world deserves the utmost attention. As the most extreme form of poverty, hunger kills one child every five seconds, or in the time it takes you to open the microwave door and retrieve your hot meal. These children and their families need our help. Countless organizations exist that are just waiting for volunteers to go to Africa, Asia, or Latin America as medical aids, educators, or building constructors, and if such a trip is out of reach, any amount donated to these organizations can help. Although I am currently raising money through a car wash for Africare, a nonprofit organization that has delivered $710 million in aid to thirty-six African countries since 1970, organizations such as the World Food Programme, Bread for the World, and Project Peanut Butter all work towards defeating starvation. To get to one’s website, you simply have to type the organization’s name on Google and watch how a wealth of opportunity on how to save humankind opens up to you with a click of your mouse. Even if you do not search the websites after reading this article, just spreading the word to others to raise awareness about the severity of world hunger can help. I strongly urge you to do something—anything—to help those who are crying out loud, but whose voices are never heard. Save a life today.

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