Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BlogCatalog's Dream--No More Hunger

April 29, 2009, is the day of BlogCatalog’s Unite for Hunger and Hope. BlogCatalog hoped that as many bloggers as possible would post about the seriousness of the world hunger situation. At last count, 598 bloggers agreed to participate.

My sister, Kelli Solsma, President of Project Rehema [see picture] has made me acutely aware of the growing problem of world hunger. Kelli has traveled to Tanzania, Africa, on numerous occasions. She began traveling there as a member of a medical and educational ministry team. The doctors on the team would perform much-needed surgeries for the citizens of Tanzania, often in hospitals with dirt floors. Kelli’s special focus was on the orphans, most of whom had lost their parents due to the AIDS epidemic. She has worked tirelessly with the Tanzanian government in an attempt to open adoptions.

When the ministry that she supported could no longer focus as much on the orphans as Kelli would have liked, she simply began her own ministry. Her heart could not forget a special little girl. According to the Project Rehema website:

“Rehema was a beautiful, but small, frail, little girl who was first noticed by a group of missionaries at 3 separate orphanages in July of 2003. When asked why she was moved so often, the reply was, "Rehema is HIV positive, you know." The perception that Rehema's mere presence would spread HIV to others prevented her from being admitted to most orphanages. Rehema spent her last days at one of the few orphanages that do accept HIV positive children. She died on July 24, 2004. She was only 8 years old. Project Rehema is named in her honor.”

Since so many of Tanzania’s orphans have AIDS, the food shortage has become especially painful for Tanzanian children. The AIDS medication that is available to them, has to be taken with food. Many children do not get enough food to even be able to take their medicine. They die, hungry and sick. 1 in 9 Tanzanian children die before age five.

Kelli related to me an especially poignant conversation she had with a Tanzanian adult woman. When Kelli asked the woman how many meals she had a day, the woman replied “Two.” As shocked as Kelli was by that answer, she had the presence of mind to pursue it further. “And what do you eat for your meals?”

The answer was shocking. “The first meal we have tea. For the second meal, we share a piece of corn.” [On the cob--shared among four people.]

That answer alone should make us grateful for every mouthful we stuff into our faces and for every plateful we scrape into the garbage. Super-size me indeed.

If your heart is touched this Unite for Hunger and Hope Day, Project Rehema does accept donations. They are attempting to fix the “Donate” section of their website so please call Kelli directly using the numbers on the website.

For some real inspiration, watch Daughtry's video, "What About Now?"


  1. Randi...

    A thoughtful piece about your little sis. She's doing good work. I'm proud of her.

  2. It's really rare to find such people who devote themselves to such causes. I wish I can do the same after my studies. I want to travel to those countries and help...

  3. Auntie M.: I am very proud of her too. It just goes to show that you don't have to do momentous works to matter, you just have to do *something.* She may not have the resources of a Bill Gates or an Oprah, so she does what little she can with what little she has.

    Nussaibah: My sister's mission began when she saw a small ad in a local paper, asking for people to help some doctors on their trip to Tanzania. Kelli went to a meeting armed with nothing but love. Now she travels to Tanzania every couple of years to make what difference she can. Perhaps your love and desire will lead you on a similar journey...

  4. She's an angel. Seriously.
    Having lived in Africa and seeing first hand what little people have and how happy and grateful they still are - it makes you ashamed of every crumb you toss away and how excessive our lives are.

  5. Jill: That's one thing that Kelli always says, and that is that no matter how little the people in Tanzania have, they always express gratitude for their lives and for what little they do have. Do you miss Africa?

  6. This is beautiful writing, Randi. Your sister is doing great work, but this post brought tears to my eyes and the world needs people like you to tell the tale and touch hearts. Could I post this intact as a guest post from you on my blog, please?

  7. Hi Janice!
    I would be happy to appear as a guest on your blog. It would be an honor. Take what you need.


You won't be paid for it, but at least you'll know that you have contributed intelligence to the universe...

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