December 3, 2012
Making a Difference For One or...1 in 7,000,000,000
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."
"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!" ...The Starfish Story, adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley
In a world of over 7 billion people, is it important to make a difference for just one child? It must have seemed that way to Jill Bozzy, Leslie Douglas and the Antioch Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska.
On a recent Opportunity Education trip to Uganda, Jill was going through a market in Kampala when she mentioned to one of the women running a booth that she was a special education teacher. The women told Jill that her seven-year-old nephew was in need of a wheel chair. ...a starfish that needed help! So Jill took it on as her mission to find a solution for Douglas, Eva's seven-year-old nephew.
Jill mentioned this to another of the teachers on the trip, Leslie Douglas from Omaha and after Jill did months of research and numerous emails, she tracked down the Center for Disability and Rehabilitation in Kampala, a place that makes wheel chairs locally. For $350, they could provide a wheelchair for Douglas. Generally, wheelchairs in Africa are made out of used bicycle parts. Because the organization is local, the chair can be repaired easily if needed.
With the research done and solution identified, Leslie, got her church, Antioch Baptist Church to fund the wheelchair. Now Douglas no longer has to sit on the ground. What a difference for his quality of life.