Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Are our choices really that simple?

August 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Be Present, Featured Posts

Cup of coffee or child in Somalia?

I love Facebook conversations.  They lead to the most interesting places.  Here is one that really resonated with me, and got me thinking (and taking action):


My Status: “And there I am, sipping a $4.95 Mochaccino, and 600,000 Somalian children are dying of starvation ….”


FACEBOOK FRIEND RC: Rid yourself of the guilt…you’re NOT at fault and at best, you can appreciate that Mochaccino while praying for the children.


FACEBOOK FRIEND AO: Your thought Margie is profound. Doing the washing up of the breakfast dishes I found myself wasting water and thought of those drinking from filthy sources. At every moment we have an opportunity to serve others in thought and action. Bless you!

FACEBOOK FRIEND CH: U earned it do not feel guilty


ME:  no guilt at all – just wondering at the contrast, and thinking – what can I do to help? Prayer is the first step ….


FACEBOOK DRIEND TM: I wish that all those idiot youth in UK would pause and think like you before they trashed their neighbours community, stores, services and took innocent lives for nothing!


FACEBOOK FRIEND RWK: I just mentored at a camp for (largely) American teenagers in Tanzania. After having to walk to a river to fetch water with buckets, for plants at a beneficiary local school, and walk uphill (puff pant, lots of water loss and blisters) to water said plants, I was very clear that we were going to use our precious water for the corn and veggies INSTEAD of the beautiful grass that they perceived that their American donors would want to see. It was a lesson in choices for the American kids who had never endured the painful task of fetching water from a river and they all gave the ‘flowers garden’ a miss, in favour of the food plants.  Being in the midst of drought the choices were immediate and hard, albeit easier to make, even though we knew we couldn’t mail a bucket of water or beans to people in Somalia.  I guess unless hardship is right under our noses, it makes it tough to make those choices. I’m sitting all the way over in Ghana (5 hour flight from the drought and famine), and like you, can’t immediately see how my cutting back will help famine victims. I know there must be a way, but my lazy little selfish brain hasn’t figured it out yet.


ME:  Well I had this thought, that every time I am tempted to buy a moccachino (which I LOVE and LIVE on), I will resist and send a donation to an aid agency …. every mikkle mek a mukkle – plus my waistline will LOVE it! Yes, I think that is exactly what I shall do starting from today


FACEBOOK FRIEND AO: Exactly Margie! One one coco…

ME: Here’s a link if anyone wants to donate – http://humanitariancoaliti

FACEBOOK FRIEND LM: Di worle no leble!


FACEBOOK FRIEND DM: This is true it may do wonders for your waist line and feed a family in a drought stricken part of this plant but don’t forget the flip side.

  • The college kid or emigrant serving you trying to make a better life for themselves
  • The paper mill, printer and the graphic artist
  • The farmer of coffee, cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon, dairy and sugar. Not all of them are faceless corporations; some are small selling basket by basket to a cooperative.
  • The cooperative digs the well and builds the school.

The list can go on.  All depending on that $4.95 cup of coffee. Are our choices that simple?



Are our choices that simple?  How interconnected we are as human beings!  Our actions have huge and far reaching impact on individuals, communities, nations and our planet and no doubt, the universe.  A simple decision – to buy a cup of coffee – is actually very complex, and goes way beyond “I need a shot of caffeine with a dose of feel-good chocolate to keep my energy up for the rest of the day”.  What other uses are there for my money?  What else would make me feel good?  And what is the immediate, short, medium, long term impact of my decision?  Who will my choice affect, and how?


The danger of pondering these issues too long, and too far, is that we run the risk of taking no action at all.  In the endless pondering and wondering I would get to keep my $4.95, but would help neither the child in Somalia nor the production chain so eloquently outlined by Facebook Friend DM.


So I return to the moment.  Cup of coffee or child in Somalia – in the moment I chose the child in Somalia.



2 Responses to “Are our choices really that simple?”
  1. Richard Coe says:

    Thanks Margaret
    Your coffee image stirred (forgive the pun!) me to stop being too busy and to go online and make a donation.
    Peace and Love

  2. Marguerite Orane says:

    Wonderful Richard! Reminds me to go online again and donate! We cannot overgive!