Friday, October 13, 2006

Third world blues

So we Chicagoans get to see the sun for the first time in three days, but I am still wrapped up about a conversation I had last night at my parish. There was a priest from the Comboni Missionaries there who had just come back from south Sudan this past June. He had lived there for the past ten years as a parish priest.

As we ate pizza, I asked what they ate in south Sudan. He said that people in the regions where he lived only ate one meal a day. The meal was composed of a some flour and water with peanuts and a sauce on top. This was the only meal you ate every day. The people could not grow very much food in the region and they didn't have the resources to raise much more than a few chickens and goats.

I then asked about disease, in particular AIDS. He said something that really shocked me. Since Sudan is an Islamic State the government will deny anything that makes it look as if the country isn't perfect. This includes AIDS. While there is obviously a growing epidemic, the government flat out denies it and medical clinics treat people with AIDS by giving them some form of aspirin.

I guess anytime you get a real description of a third world country it is a bit shaking. I knew that life in Sudan was bad, but it seems that every time I hear more about the country it is worse and worse. Of course, it also makes me question what is the use of computer science when people are out there are starving and being marginalized by a blind government.


Adam Molnar said...

Andy, don't you think computers are helpful in developing AIDS drugs? And designing the original test? And more efficiently building planes to transport food? And evaluating agriculture to make better grains and peanuts?

The question is if what we do makes things true and good and beautiful. Perhaps not. I find much of "academia" focuses too much on True and too little on Good. The U of C is particularly poisoned by this problem. Maybe your job is.
The other question I have sometimes is why I just don't go to Sudan, or try to open a shelter for abused kids, or whatnot. Acts 6 is something I read on this. (Yes, I study Bible!) There are roles for the distribution watchers too.

Andy R. Terrel said...

Yeah I know, but sometimes you really want to make a positive difference and see its affects immediately. But you are right.