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Confessions of a Poverty Pimp
Last week was the first time I have ever been called a “poverty pimp” in front God and everyone—in public. It certainly got my attention!
As Director of International Child Care Ministries, I straddle two worlds—the America I call home and the 30 countries where our sponsored children live. I travel back and forth between these two worlds several times a year and experience the stark contrast between my world and theirs.
Here in the U.S., part of my responsibility is to advocate for the children at conferences, churches, and other venues. Last week at an event I had my display set up, 20 kids’ faces looking out from their brochures, silently imploring conference attendees to choose them and become their sponsors.
My accuser was an eloquent professor of African American Studies. He is offended at groups like mine who apparently profit off Africa’s poverty and perpetuate an image of Black helplessness. He is concerned that African American children who view pathetic images of hungry kids on TV internalize a sense of racial inferiority. And that’s not the half of it.
Haiti's Only Hope
The Colorado wildfires are raging this week. I’m in Denver, and the grey haze over the mountains in the distance gives me a sick feeling. Countless trees on hundreds of thousands of acres have gone up in smoke. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Even human lives have now been forever lost to the flames. It’s tragic, and it’s not over yet.
But here’s what I believe. One day, when these fires have been extinguished, this land will be restored. People will do whatever it takes to reforest these hills and rebuild their homes. In a few years, mountainsides that are charred and blackened today will be green again. We have the will and the resources to restore our environment when it has been destroyed.
Two weeks ago I was in Haiti. Unlike the deforestation that has happened in Colorado in a matter of days, Haiti’s 98-percent deforestation has happened over centuries. The destruction to Haiti’s natural environment is almost complete. Birds are rare. Small animals are almost gone. Fish that once teemed in the waters around the island are barely there.
It gets worse.