Last year, we met a Zambian woman named Christine who had gone from riches to rags because of AIDS. Once the owner of three houses, she sold all her properties in desperation and used the money to pay a medicine man to cure her. In the end, she was left with no money, no friends or family to support her, and a worsening illness.
It can be humiliating to be treated as a charity case—the object of someone else’s pity and justification for their pride. Not being able to feed your family can be enough of a blow to your self esteem; but having food (or a house, or other basic need) provided in the wrong spirit can be almost as crushing.
For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is a time to wear green, eat corned beef and cabbage, and have a night out with friends. But behind all the merrymaking is a story of a 4th century missionary whose life exemplified the kind of self-sacrificial love we strive to emulate here at Cross.
As we move into the New Year, media outlets have been a buzz with forecasts about the U.S. housing market in 2010. One Wall Street Journal article proclaimed that the future was “uncertain” with things unlikely to recover much this year.
Though we evaluate our work in terms of the benefit to the poor, the fact is that our projects also have an incredible impact on the men and women who have dedicated their lives to charity and self-sacrifice. One person who comes to mind is Bobby Rodrigo.