O’s Success Tips: Give

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The noise from the rain pelting the empty runway, could barely drown out the noise that vibrated through the public announcement system, “flight 4062 to Seattle is going to be delayed another hour.” This was the third delay notice we had received in a span of less than an hour. The passengers at the gate had become restless and the frustration written on their faces was impossible to hide. Each person had their reason for being on the flight. There was an old lady who whispered words of encouragement to her grandchildren, as she explained why she was not going to make their bedtime. Right next to her was a romantic couple that didn’t seem to be affected by the announcement, in their minds it was extra precious alone time. However, each of them including myself had one goal. “Seattle.”

Seattle was beautiful, a city blessed with scenic hills, clear lakes and the smell of Starbucks coffee which drenched the air. Unfortunately my trip to Seattle was not to adore its beauty, but rather to uncover the inhumane state of unbeauty that orphans faced thousands of miles away in Africa.

As I watched the intensity of the rain increase, my mind raced back to my mission. I was going to speak at an event for an orphanage organization “Little Drops.” Their motto “little drops of water make a mighty ocean” (sheer irony when contrasted with the little drops of rain pelting the runway). I thought about my speech, what was I going to say? And how was I going to say it? Cranking out my trusty Dell Inspiron I set out to write a message. I stared at the blinking cursor and as the little drops of rain fell, I typed..

My mum was not the conventional mother, she was different. She was very loving but she expressed her love physically, a little too physical at times. While other mothers hugged, my mum flogged. And she was good at it! Her unique style of love for her children influenced greatly our academic performance. Being an average high-school student I strived to maintain an acceptable ranking of about 50% in class. However, there was one semester where things didn’t quite work out that way. That semester in a class of less than 40 people I came 35th! The tears streaming down my face did nothing to mask my disappointment and fear. Dissappointment with my result, but fear from my Mums reaction.

How would she react? The question plagued my mind through my entire drive home. I finally got home and braced myself for a rough encounter with my Mum. As I handed her my report I expected the worst, a can of ass whooping intertwined or at least a generaous barrage of insults and condemntations, but what I received instead was absolute silence, I must admit that that silence hurt more than any beating I had received in my life, it hurt more than any screaming I had received in my life, it hurt! As I stood I felt a deep sense of abandonment and the reverberating sound of Silence..

That same feeling of emptiness and loneliness I felt at that moment of my life, is the same feeling of emptiness and loneliness that is felt every minute of the day by an African orphan. Orphans who have no idea what its like to be hugged by a Mum, have no idea what its like to be loved by parents, orphans whose only definition of hope is a shorter day of suffering. They are the victims of society’s corruption, unjust wars and inaction. Victimized victims.

In Rwanda alone there are more than 500,000 orphans on the street. Of that number only a paltry 40,000 are sheltered, which leaves a staggering 90% unaccounted for. And what does society do with these orphans, far from noble they exploit them, exploit them for cheap labor, exploit them for cheap sex. And if they are not exploited they are abandoned left to starve for days and days. Deprived of external food their body loses all logic and devours itself. Starting with the fat, and then the muscles and then the organs, the liver, the kidney, the intestine and finally the heart. The heart shrinks, unable to circulate blood and the child dies. Dies from starvation, dies from inaction.

Martin Luther King in his “I have a dream” speech spoke about the “fierce urgency of now” in changing America’s attitude towards slavery. For the orphans in Africa there is no more urgent time than now to make a difference. For every 15 seconds we wait another child becomes an orphan, by the time this article is finished there will be 10 more orphans on the streets of Africa. What will happen to these new orphans, will they be exploited or will they be abandoned by a society of inaction?

Sir Issac Newton said it best “you cannot solve a problem with the same mentality that created it.” The problem faced by orphans around the world today was created by a mentality of inaction. A mentality of sitting around. Unfortunately, we just can’t sit around when 15% of abandoned orphans end up committing suicide. We just can’t sit around when 60% of female orphans end up in prostitution. We just can’t sit around when 70% of male orphans end up in one violent crime or the other. We just can’t sit around, when right now somewhere there is a child that is dying of starvation. We just can’t sit around because this is an epidemic, and you don’t solve an epidemic by sitting around, you don’t solve an epidemic by blaming the world as unfair, you don’t solve an epidemic by looking at yourself as a loser, you solve an epidemic by being an activist, by getting up and doing something. So that the child stuck on the streets of Africa with no hope or vision can say that someone somewhere got up and did something so that they might have a little vision to hope for. We can do this, not only can we do this we have to do this. We are the change that we have been waiting for. Now is the time. Now is the time for us to get up and do something.

Okechukwu Ofili
Africa’s #1 Success Coach
Copyright © 2008 Ofili Speaks, Inc. All rights reserved

Ofili

Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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