(All puns intended)
Stand and deliver – your money or your bra!
A few weeks ago, when the scale of the famine in East Africa started seeping into our news, I began to look at which organisation was best to donate some money to and saw that Oxfam were on the case. I shared links via social networks and hoped that one or two people would notice, repost, and that I might possibly have done a tiny bit towards raising awareness. I didn’t donate anything straight away but decided to check with Richard if it would be okay if we donated £25.
Two days later our puppy became very unwell and by the next day he had to be left at the vet’s for rehydration, antibiotics and something else that I can’t remember the name of. The bill was just enough to be not worth contacting the pet insurers (they only pay out over a certain amount) but enough to make us gasp.
The comparison between spending that much on a dog and how much difference the same amount could make to maybe three or four (?) people in East Africa disturbed me. How could we pay that on an animal and then give less money to help literally starving fellow humans? How much would it take to rehydrate one baby, for instance, I wondered?
“Charity begins at home,” is one statement people think they can use to justify that.
Or maybe, “The dog is my responsibility and those people are not.”
Well, as far as I am concerned, the whole planet is my home, we’re all interconnected and we are all responsible, to a greater or lesser degree, for each other. I also believe that famines in Africa, due to past Western interference and extreme and irregular climate change, are the direct and indirect outcome of the way we, in the West, behave or have behaved on the past and therefore (arguably) they are our responsibility.
But of course that still leaves the problem of money. And the problem of explaining my decision to donate my new chosen amount. If I’m going to take £X amount of money out of the (partly because of recent doggy addition) dwindling household budget, do I have to have a manly steak dinner on the table, cold beers in the fridge, no claims to the remote control for a month, the dog walked and bloody good answer to where the money’s going to be coming from?
Currently, I’ve been thinking about replacing all my worn-out underwear. I do this about once year.
Only, I’m not going to. I’m going to make do and spend money on support where it is really needed.
I’ve given donations today to Shelterbox (link) the emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world charity based in Cornwall that I know have been out to East Africa delivering supplies this week,
and DEC (link) The Disasters Emergency Committee which covers Oxfam and other charities supporting the East African crisis appeal.
And when you look at my profile pic you can think of me sitting in my shabby old knickers.