Tuesday, February 2, 2010

it goes on.

Life goes on here.

In West Englewood, where my office is, there was a knife fight 2 days ago. Across the street. The people involved were 13 year olds. Why is this happening? It seems whenever the community takes steps forward, it is paired with steps back. So frustrating. There is a guy I have been reading named Gary Slutkin who did work for the WHO all over Africa as an epidemiologist. He studied cholera, AIDS, TB, etc, and is renowned for his prevention methods. He moved back to Chicago recently and discovered violence showed the same “symptoms” as an epidemic disease. He has launched a campaign called Cease Fire to confront violence the same way he did disease, and deaths in some of the worst neighborhoods have been down over 50%. I think the solution to a lot of the world’s most intrinsic problems is creativity. Thinking outside the box like Mr. Slutkin did, and getting incredible, sustainable, results.

As far as work goes, some fun things have been happening. Tony Blair has decided to match all donations we receive toward bed nets, which was an encouraging and unexpected announcement that will hopefully garner a lot of interest in our work. Here in Chicago, we hosted a Hunger Banquet for Haiti this past weekend. This is an event that shows hunger disparity in the world (some people sit on the floor and eat only rice, others get a full meal, etc). It was a smashing success, co-sponsored by over 20 diverse clubs and religious groups at UChicago, and raised almost $500 for Oxfam in Haiti. There was lots of interesting discussion about global poverty and what people can do to connect to issues that are far away (ie, Haiti, malaria, etc). Also, I am now used to always having a layer of weird crust on my shoes from the salt constantly being dumped on the roads; and I am incredibly grateful for the radiant heating in my apartment.

Multifaith cooperation and demonstrating how we all can work openly across faith lines with people different from us without compromising the intrinsic parts of what we believe has been woven into the fabric of who I am. I don’t know what is coming after this Fellowship, but I do know I have the most diverse group of friends one could ever ask for, and the communities they represent I want to respect and defend because of the friends I have within them. I more than ever believe my own faith is real and true, but that does not dissuade me at all from wanting to work with others who think differently than I do. It is fascinating and encouraging for me to hear so many diverse perspectives on why others are motivated to serve, and it challenges me to be a better version of myself.

Also, I have recently become completely addicted to the musician Matt Morris, and am now convinced that Huck Finns in Chicago has the best apple fritters on the face of the earth.

Off in a few hours to DC for the National Prayer Breakfast.

Like I said, life goes on. Thanks for being a part of my journey!