Upon returning from Uganda we have discussed the difficulty in deciding how to best react to the poverty we witnessed in such places as Ave Maria and Abia. Also, reading some of the personal stories of those who are sacrificing a life of comfort for a life serving the poor can reveal inadequacy in my own efforts to fight injustice (see the efforts of Paride Taban for example).

On this note, Dr. O’Keefe pointed out that to be discouraged by this inadequacy to the point of stagnancy in one’s own efforts to serve others is the wrong response. It is like the person who does not vote because he/she believe that their vote won’t matter in the grand scheme of an election. While I may not have the money to support one candidate and noticeably sway the outcome of an election, if I do not vote I support and perpetuate an unhealthy ideology. This ideology says one person cannot make a difference in a world of 7 billion humans.

This thought has crept into my mind several times since I have been back in the United States. Seeing the poverty in Abia desensitizes the problems I have witnessed in America. But to think that because something is worse makes lesser problems not as real is once again the wrong response. It is a fatal path that can lead to inaction. Just because I am not in Uganda does not mean I cannot make a better world at Creighton. Bigger problems should make smaller problems more real; they should awaken us to all injustices.

I speak to myself when I advocate for both small and large changes, to not be tempted by the whisperings of inadequacy. To say that the poverty in Uganda marginalizes the problems here is wrong. Both should be given attention and deserve action fighting the problem.

At Ave Maria, a young child no more than a year and a half old is carried by his older 7 year old sister. 1 in 3 of the children at Ave Maria are HIV positive, while many are orphans.

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