Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When is a chicken worth its weight in gold?

When is a chicken worth its weight in gold? To answer this question, let me tell you a story about a disease and a diseased. It is a story about the dignity that every human deserves.

Leprosy - despite all the advances in medicine in the modern world – is one of the most debilitating diseases that still run wild in Eastern Chad.

Leprosy is a disease that attacks not only the body, but also the heart and soul of a person. As a leper’s hands and feet lose the ability to feel and are worn down to bloody nubs, the leper becomes an outcast. Shunned by family and friends, they are forced to live in the outskirts of town and are denied basic human interaction. If they take their family with them, they too are shut out of life with others. They live by begging and survive on the barest of threads.

Growing up the son of a doctor whose life was dedicated to serving the poor people of Eastern Chad, we often came in contact with the ‘despicable’ members of society. I remember clearly spending one whole day cleaning up a leper colony (a place where outcasts had joined up to form a new village) and seeing the amazement on their faces that someone valued them.

My father began to befriend and give medical treatment to one leper in particular. He would bandage his wounds and then sit and talk with him – treating him not only with medicine, but also with dignity and respect. Over time, they became good friends and we helped out their family on a regular basis.

One night, in the cool early evening of the desert, the old leper came limping into our front yard. As he approached, clothed in dirty rags, he called out my dad. In between the stumps that use to be his hands, he had clinched a tiny, scrawny chicken. My father went out to greet him and the man looked up at him. With tears in his eyes, the elderly man looked at my dad and thanked him for caring. He told my father how he had never been treated like a human after getting the disease. He recounted the abuse and the discrimination that he faced because of the cards that life dealt him. Through his tears, his eyes shone with dignity and pride. He thanked my father for noticing him and taking care of him. Then, he reached out his arms and offered my dad the tiny bird – it was so small, but it was an entire meal for his family. He apologized for not being able to give my family a nicer gift of thanks, but he was giving all that he could.

That is when a chicken is worth its weight in gold.

Right now, almost 400,000 men, women and children - with the same dignity and right to life and respect as the old man - have been slaughtered in Darfur. Millions are displaced due to the violence taking place there. Please, take a stand now for Darfur and help save an entire race of human beings from being wiped off the face of the earth. Save my friends.

1 comment:

lvs said...

Hey Scott, it's Sarah's old bud, Lindsay. I've thought about you recently, with the Darfur situation (finally) all over the news... so sad that it took three years before many of the "movers and shakers" began to take notice. Glad you're speakng out.