Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Dandelion Principle

Dandelions were introduced into the New World by fur traders because they grew so well and had enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
Another benefit is that the dandelion as today, is a good cheap and easy - to - grow food source.
So with a profitable fur trade calling, dandelions accompanied these early colonists.
Once the colonists were settled in and the dandelions planted, the fur traders ships sailed back to merry old England, only to return two years later.
Upon their return, they found all of the colonists dead, but the dandelion thriving.

My story begins just after my recent return from a mission trip with my team to South Africa. My lawn, even though cut well by my son, needed my personal touch to make it perfect.
Facing me was a wall of yellow: dandelions!
As I routed out each one individually, I asked myself: Why did I not chemically exterminate them all before I left on the mission?
My answer was that I had decided to be greener this year.
The City of Calgary is also tending to go green, and the result of all this green, was the yellow sea before me.

When I calmed down a bit, I realized that there are more important issues in life then dandelions.
How can weeds compare to the life and death issues faced by some of the people whom I had met in South Africa?
For them, lack of housing, food and Aids are the killers.
There are no means of extermination for these issues yet.

Though many agencies work hard to give hope, we are only plugging holes in a fragile dam.
The NGO agencies provide medicine, support and friendship but nothing lasting.
My question is: what about a more lasting legacy?

In my talks with the Zulu people that I met, I came to the conclusion that something more permanent was needed. The majority of their children who we talked about, after high school will work menial jobs, or will often resort to a life of crime, drugs or alcohol abuse.
They do so as in so many other places, in an attempt to escape the squalor and hopelessness that surrounds them all.

My idea is that a new beginning might be made by supporting local initiatives, such building better homes like those built by Habitat for Humanity.
This would require government involvement, enhanced education and support for trades plus the whole hearted co-operation of the local leaders.
The new built homes would then give hope and a brighter future with permanence, in what I call the dandelion principle.

So to those who see a mission such as my team and I were on, as a mere drop in the bucket, I reply that this bucket will eventually fill, if enough drops fall into it!

We can like the dandelion seed, spread on and on and from these humble beginnings, it is how seeds of hope will be spread.
I am proud to have played (along with my mission team), our small part in planting seeds of hope for future generations.

Written by Richard G. Abbenbroek
Aka, Muzikayifani

Note: Muzikayifani is a Zulu name given to me by my friend Thabo Sithebe.
It means: Mzikayifani (Zulu for homesteads are different)

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