Africa Genesis Foundation

Embracing Poverty Series

AFRICA GENESIS FOUNDATION

Embracing Poverty Series

By Wanda Waterman

Africa Genesis Director

Montreal, QC  Canada

Giving for the Stingy


Giving can be remarkably easy for the extravagant, but for those of us who’ve learned to watch every penny it can be hard to give to charitable organizations. How can we know if the receiver is investing 100% of our contribution in real and pressing needs?


If you fall into the skinflint category, don’t condemn yourself for worrying about where your money is going. Like everyone, your means are limited. Besides, is not wise giving as important as any aspect of financial management?


I’ve learned to accept my inner Scrooge; and in so doing, I’ve silenced that part of my brain that clamors, “Why aren’t you giving to this and that and those?” I’ve simply started giving, as meagerly as I can, to the people and organisations that I trust to use my gifts well.


I knew that I could trust the Africa Genesis Foundation to use donations wisely and effectively to help the rural peoples of rural East Africa, but I was delighted to learn today that the Omeli orphan children in Kenya will soon be united again in their own home, thanks to help from AGF in making their home safe. Speaking online with Dr. Colleen Weiden and Joseph Kikete, who has carried out many of the AGF’s initiatives on the ground as well as providing the guidance and support of a father figure to the Omeli children, reassured me once again that compassion is still alive and effecting positive change in this broken world.


For the five Omeli children even a small contribution was all that was needed to fix the doors and windows, provide a few food essentials, and help in the planting of maize and beans for sustenance. Learning all this, I felt buoyant for the rest of the day. However extreme the difficulties the world is facing now, human kindness is making a difference, and even a tightwad can help.


Joy of Simplicity and Solidarity


I’ll never be telling the rich to sell all they have and to give it to the poor. Sadly, I don't come from a place of such moral purity that I could even suggest such a sacrifice. But living simply, making non-material riches my treasure, and befriending the poor are doors opening into the splendor of life. Part of that splendor is the deep, intrinsic value of the poor, the rejected, and marginalized. Embracing poverty through simple living and identification with the poor is a joyful practice and one that perpetuates itself.

 

Here’s How It Plays Out

Loving the poor is good for my soul. Showing kindness to people who can not do anything material for me in return has allowed my heart to grow wiser.

 

Living a simple life outside the control of consumerism leads to greater freedom and a deeper love of life. Thus, I am more adequately able to grasp the complexities of this world rather than resting in my prejudices and centering my actions on my own ego.

 

Living simply, I can more easily identify with the poor, relating to them not from superiority, but rather from solidarity and an honest admission that they and I are equals while embracing that at times, I, too, am poor, rejected and marginalized.

 

Embracing simplicity and solidarity, I can more tranquilly love them – and love myself.

 

Hearing about struggles of the peoples of rural Kenya and Uganda from the Africa Genesis Foundation, I am reminded of how small my troubles actually are. Their news also reminds me that here are very old cultures filled with refinements of etiquette and mutual respect whose meaning would be lost on the typical North American. The poor are my brothers and sisters, and in the prospect of getting to know them, I am joyfully enriched, undeniably. Every best wish and prayer.