Mark Ritchie's description of the economic and medical conditions in third world nations in his globalisation and poverty essay comes from first hand experience. In his travels to and time living in the Amazon, Afghanistan and Cambodia, he had first hand insight into the pain and suffering of the third world. As many wonder what is the future of poverty in the third world, Ritchie decided to take matters into his own hands when he spent the summer of 1979 in Thailand after the atrocities of the Vietnam/Cambodia crisis. He describes this experience in his chapter "The Love of God Compels US" in his book God in the Pits: The Enron-Jihad Edition:
What is the Future of Poverty in the Third World
It was sad how little was actually being done for the poor in the third world. Some middleclass theologians had defined Christ's words so that the "oppressed" were seen as those who are spiritually and emotionally distressed. Anyone who had walked in the shadow of economic oppression, seen it reflected in the eyes of its victims, knew that it was of these Jesus spoke when he talked of oppression.
Translating idealism into reality, however, involved things that had little romantic appeal: hard work, sacrifice, tears, even the preservation of sanity.
How do these workers maintain their mental stability in a place like this, I wondered? The answer was, some don't.
Observing Christian Missionaries in Thailand
One missionary girl sat in the oppressive heat hour after hour nursing a little baby. Thirty-six hours later, when the baby died, she broke down and cried bitterly. It was Christmas day. If one could get that emotionally involved over the loss of one infant, I couldn't see how a person could keep himself together in this cradle of perpetual death.
We helped set up makeshift beds and moved patients around while the nurse went about the duties of tending the sick. I wondered what spurred these people to not only give up so much to be here, but also to work in such an untiring manner in this awful heat? Then I answered my own question; it was the same thing that brought me: a commitment to one's fellow man stimulated by a love of God himself. I felt ashamed, though, to think of myself as a committed person when compared to these people.
Every family that came across the Cambodian-Thai border had a survival story of movie-thriller proportions, the kind of trauma that would convert an atheist. Shortly after my departure, a massive Christian renewal took place in the camp. I was told that when the people lined up to be baptized, the line stretched out of sight.
Excerpt from God in the Pits, The Enron-Jihad Edition, by Mark Andrew Ritchie
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