1 : 6,776,988,185

* The population of my small town is around 5,500 people. The population of abandoned street children in Guatemala City is about the same.

* The population of my entire state is about 550,000. If I multiplied that by 73, I would get the number of children living and working on the street in Latin America -- an estimated 40 million according to UNICEF -- who steal, kill and prostitute themselves to survive, who do drugs to forget their hunger and their loneliness.

* My two best girlfriends in town -- Sarah and Becky -- mean the world to me. If we lived in Afghanistan, one of the three of us would be guaranteed to live life with physical, psychological or sexual violence. And we'd all die at the ripe old age of 44.

* My house has 8 windows upstairs. If I built 49 houses identical to mine, and put red lights in every window, my neighborhood would glow like the Red-Light District in Amsterdam, whose more than 400 windows house thousands of prostitutes. I would have to build 300,000 houses to employ the 2.4 million worldwide victims of human trafficking. Or I could just sell the entire city of Chicago into sex slavery.

* I have two sinks, one shower and one toilet in my house. On average, I use 400 liters of water per day. More than half of the world's population uses 10 liters per day. And 884 million of those people don't have access to safe water, leading to the infection of millions with preventable water-borne diseases and the death of 5,000 children per day.

* I am one person. One out of six billion seven hundred seventy six million nine hundred eighty-eight thousand one hundred and eighty-five people in the world.

* But I have one mouth to tell all those people I care about them. I have two feet to carry me to where they live. I have two eyes to see what I should -- no, what I must -- do to help. I have two hands to work to relieve their pain. I have two ears to listen to their stories -- and ten fingers to write them for the world to read.

* I have one heart. And I'm learning, as I read and hear and see stories of pain and injustice and poverty, that a heart can hold an awful lot of love. Now I just need to learn to give that love away -- to family, friend, stranger and foe. That is my prayer.

* God help me love. God help me move. God help me. God help your people.

--Statistics and wake-up call taken from Relevant Magazine, March/April 2009 issue. Visit www.relevantmagazine.com for more information and to read "Reject Apathy" by editor/publisher Cameron Strang. Additional statistics taken from Living Water International.

--www.actionintl.org, www.unicef.org, www.compassion.com
--www.amnesty.org, www.wapha.org
--www.ijm.org, www.notforsalecampaign.org
--www.worldrelief.org, www.freeforlifeministries.com, www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

Coastal living in Tanjung Balai, Karimun, Indonesia. Behind me, as I took this photograph, was an open sewer, the stench of which burned my nostrils and made my stomach churn.

Riverfront property on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, Thailand.

This woman gathers garbage from the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, Thailand.

Children in Vang Vieng, Laos.

Typical housing in Vang Vieng, Laos.


Joanna said...

Numbers sure put everything in perspective. Though they can be overwhelming, it's good to be reminded what goes on in the world.

RELEVANT said...

Thanks for bringing up Cameron's article "Reject Apathy."

You can find the direct link for the article as well as other great pieces from the Mar/Apr 09 issue of RELEVANT on this page: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/magazine/archive/16140-digital-issue-marchapril


Sar(rah!) said...

Wow, Hannah, that is amazing. It does put a lot of our cares and worries in perspective.