Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Empty Rain Barrel

I wish I could take it to Africa
The thermometer reads 35C in the shade as I drain the last drops from the rain barrel.
Without water the vegetable garden on my bush lot will wither and die. There is but one thing to do: Load the pickup truck with buckets and start hauling water from our cottage lake to refill the rain barrel.
As I lift buckets from the truck bed and pour the water into the barrel, my mind is replaying the news clips I’ve seen this week about the drought in the Horn of Africa. Cadaverous children with sunken cheeks and huge eyes. Adults barely able to keep mobile as they travel to find water and food.
They remind me of the forest animals I see continually foraging to stay alive. But these are humans, and they should not die because of lack of water. The little children with their bones pressing outward against their shrinking skins deserve to grow and experience the wonders of life the same way we have.
I see the news show gurus intoning the sad facts of the tragedy, then moving on to the next story. I want to scream: “get off your millionaire’s ass and tell viewers why it has become so difficult to get directly to these people the life-saving things they need.”
Our society is less and less able to act effectively on anything. Individual initiative is smothered by political correctness, stupefying bureaucracy, an over-thinking justice system and, of course corruption and greed for money and power.  All any individual can do is write a cheque, most of which will end up in some bureaucrat’s pay or pension envelope, or in the pockets of corrupt politicians or warlords.
I wish I could fill my rain barrel, load it and a million like it onto planes, and fly them into the deserts where people are dying. Why can’t it be that simple? There is water. There are planes. There are flat places to land. Is there no new, daring thinking on how to stop needless deaths?
I can fill my rain barrel and save my insignificant little vegetable garden. Millions of us, however, can’t find an uncomplicated way to fill rain barrels that will save humans.

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