the news stories that you haven’t heard:

The news doesn’t stop. Not ever. Even if I’m out of touch, the news will still go on. Because whether or not I believe things are noteworthy, life continues to happen. And someone out there thinks they’re worth reporting on. But from time to time, stories which are newsworthy go untold.

I wish to shed light on the stories happening just outside my doorstep that don’t often get reported on…because rather than major crises, they’re more like daily experiences.

  • The news you heard: Major BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The news you didn’t hear: For decades, oil companies have exploited the Niger delta to supply 40% of all the crude oil for the United States. And between 1970 and 2000, there were more than 7,000 reported spills. In 2009 alone, Shell spilled over 14,000 tons in two major incidents. And what’s being done about this? Many of these spills are still awaiting cleanup and no significant action has been taken on Nigeria’s behalf. Sadly, the local people suffer tremendously as they are fully dependent upon their environment for drinking water, fishing, and farming.
  • The news you heard: the American economy is in a recession. And no doubt, it has taken a toll on your mental, physical, and emotional health.
  • The news you didn’t hear: The Heritage Foundation published a recent Economic Index ranking the economies of nearly 180 countries, evaluating trade freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, among other things. Despite the recession that many of you are experiencing firsthand, the United States still ranks among the top 10 economies. Guess who scored among the 10 worst countries for economic freedom? Yep. The Democratic Republic of Congo ranked 172 out of 179 countries. Pretty sobering.
  • The news you heard: the World Cup is occurring…in an African nation, no less. Experts agree that this shows huge progress for the continent.
  • The news you didn’t hear: A large majority of Africa still lacks the ability to participate in such an event. Speculating, I’d assume that the stands are filled with more expats that nationals. But attending the event is only part of it. Millions on the continent are still without electricity, internet, newspapers, or postal services. Hence, its pretty doubtful that Africans—whose deepest love is soccer—are able to enjoy these games. They don’t have the opportunity to watch the matches, read about the final scores, analyze the lineup.
  • The news you heard: Traditional casket-makers are branching into a new market, manufacturing over-sized coffins for the obese. I can’t help but wonder how many of the deceased requiring these caskets died as a result of their obesity. In America we eat ourselves to death.
  • The news you didn’t hear: Yesterday morning, Angelia, 6 year-old girl from the surrounding UCBC community sat on my lap during chapel. Her oversized, secondhand dress was worn to shreds and missing any type of closure (buttons and zippers had long since fallen off). At the end of chapel, she leaned forward, picked up a small piece of discarded chalk from the dusty ground and began eating it. I tried my best to discourage her from eating the chalk, but her face was sullen as she explained the ache of hunger. I guess hunger makes you desperate when you wake to it each morning.

5 responses to “the news stories that you haven’t heard:

  1. Oh Megs, thanks for perspective. We all need it.

  2. Meg, thank you for bringing this all to our attention. It is very sobering to read these things and sadly, they are things that we Americans overlook every day. I love keeping up with your blog and learning about what you see and are doing there

  3. The casket story is very interesting. Along your story lines imagine all the itty bitty caskets they could be making for the thousands of children that die in Congo every year and are under 5 years of age!

  4. love love love the blog. you are a great writer and communicator! I feel challenged to be a better blogger for my supporters.

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