A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What can we do to help?

The news these days is very depressing. We're in a recession or nearing a recession. I don't know if it's true. One thing that is true is that food prices are rising all over the world due to subsidies, fields being used to raise fuel instead of food, etc. It's a commodity that every, single person needs. I read an article in the New York Times this morning that made me cry.

You all know I recently visited Haiti. I saw it's poverty first-hand. I know that if it were governed properly, it wouldn't have the problems it has. But so many of the people there can't even begin to worry about fulfilling their civic duties. They can't even worry about making sure there kids go to school. You know Maslow's hierarchy of needs...the only thing they can worry about is how they are going to eat.

This was what I read this morning...
"In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically consumed only by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.”

Haiti, its agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself. Outside investment is the key, although that requires stability, not the sort of widespread looting and violence that the Haitian food riots have fostered.

Meanwhile, most of the poorest of the poor suffer silently, too weak for activism or too busy raising the next generation of hungry. In the sprawling slum of Haiti’s Cité Soleil, Placide Simone, 29, offered one of her five offspring to a stranger. “Take one,” she said, cradling a listless baby and motioning toward four rail-thin toddlers, none of whom had eaten that day. “You pick. Just feed them.”

Can you even imagine?

Because I have been given much, I too must give. I don't want to just cry, I want to help. Do I give money? Do I volunteer? Any ideas? Can we do something as a family?


Crystal said...

That made me cry as well. So sad. We grew up really, really poor and I remember counting out 32 cents for a can of green beans to split between my 4 brothers and I, so all I could imagine was my 2 littlest brothers' faces during that awful time. Since I have been an adult, I have done my best to help my brothers be able to have food and clothing and encourage them to find good work in order to provide for their children. For the most part, they have done that.

I always am heart-broken in a seemingly hopeless situation and I start to wonder, why? Why were those precious children born into such poverty? What does that mean for them and how should I respond.

I have heard the bishop from my former ward is in the Philapenes (very poor as well) and his wife is teaching the sisters to do very simple crafts that they can sell at open market for 5-10 cents (pinatas and such) in order to help provide food for their families. I think that sort of thing will help families and raising awareness (as you are doing here) will open up the more entreprenurial minds of others with truly innovative ideas.

I am happy to help in any way possible. My absolute softest spot is for mothers an children, mostly because I have been there. On both sides- as a child and a struggling mother.

notthecroshaws said...

is there some kind of education we could do if we went down there? teach them some marketable skill? would we even be allowed into the country to help? take seeds down that they could plant? any ideas? what do they use there?

abbynormal said...

I've heard things about a lot of food being sent to Haiti, then rotting in the port because of conflicts over what to do with it. I would love to go down there and help, in some other way. Or, mom, what about those micro-loans you and I once talked about?

Leslie said...

So, I've been looking around to see what we could possibly do, and I found this on NPR. It was from someone who's been working as a missionary in Haiti for the past 10years.

She says, "My own experience in Haiti is that the churches are truly the grassroots organizations that are best positioned to meet people at their point of need, because they know their communities well. They can also work more swiftly than larger organizations because they are "leaner" and more efficient. I strongly urge anyone who has church connections in Haiti to contact them and see how they can partner to provide financial relief to the local community through the church."

I should have known that where there are Christians, they are people taking care of people. The Lord has set up the perfect organization to allow us to do our part in taking care of the poor. I checked on the church's Humanitarian Services website and it is currently running 24 different humanitarian projects in Haiti right now. I think what I'll do this month, and try to do every month is to be a little more generous with my donations to Humanitarian Services.

And...I'll keep looking for opportunities to serve and give where I can. I know there are the mini-missions lots of NGOs have overseas, where you can go and build houses, etc. (Like what you all have done in Peru.) I'm sure there are people here in Mexico who need help.

Anyway, let me know if any of you find or hear of anything else.

notthecroshaws said...

Tamara Green's (our ward) daughter, Lyndsay Crapo works with an adoption agency out of Haiti and has adopted four of the children herself. I could talk to Tamara and see if Lydsay's agency could use any help, either financial or otherwise.

Also, I agree with you Leslie - I know our Church has a lot of projects, some for which they need direct volunteers. We could consider some direct physical involvement in addition to humanitarian fund donations. When we have so readily available to us, such an efficient, well organized, and inspired agency as the Church, it would almost be a waste to donate through any other source. Once their stomachs are fed, then the Church can feed their stomahs as well. Really, the answer for all the world's problems is the gospel.

notthecroshaws said...

Following is an article that was in the Idaho State Journal this morning. A little long, but very interesting. This may give us some ideas of ways to help.

One Haitian woman’s struggles
by Nick Gier of Moscow, taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years.

Once called the Pearl of the Antilles, Haiti continues to experience violence and political instability. Sadly, the title of Nancy Heinl’s book “Written in Blood” accurately describes the history of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. by the cash from foreign remittances and the selling of timber that many Haitians no longer grow their own food.
Designated women from La Gonave are sent to the markets in the capital Portau-Prince where, if not robbed on the way, they limit their buying to vegetables that can survive the 24-hour trip back home.
The dramatic increase in food prices worldwide has hit the 8.5 million Haitians, who import 80 percent of their food, especially hard. Five people have been killed and 200 wounded in nationwide demonstrations about food prices.
The riots have continued even after Haitian President Rene Preval announced a subsidy that would have reduced the price of rice by 16 percent. Preval’s government has been accused of ignoring clear signs of starvation and deprivation among Haiti’s poor masses, who number 6.8 million and who try to live on $2 a day.
Followers of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide have also contributed to the violence. There is still a lot of support for Aristide among the poor, but most Haitians have given up on their government.
One woman who is trying to make a grass-roots difference is Afelene Rosemond from the Haitian island of La Gonave. Rosemond is a 28-year-old single mother with three children. She has been visiting Moscow, Idaho, since January sharing her experiences with students and area residents.
Rosemond has been a teacher for nine years, and she has decided that in addition to teaching her pupils academic subjects, she also needs to teach them how to cultivate vegetables. The Haitian economy has been so skewed Making matters even worse is the fact that food prices have doubled in the past six months.
Activist Nancy Casey of Moscow, Idaho, has been visiting La Gonave since 2003 and one of the things she brings is vegetable seeds.
International agricultural aid is based on hybrid varieties whose seeds do not breed true.
Deforestation has eroded the soil and the runoff has destroyed the local fisheries. In the 1920s, 60 percent of Haiti was covered by forests, but now that figure is only 2 percent. Some people on Rosemond’s island have to walk as long as three hours to get water and some have actually died of thirst.
Rosemond has also formed a La Gonave theatre group called Fanm Kouraj (Creole for “femme courage”) whose plays focus on issues of social justice. Rosemond’s group has performed once in Port-au-Prince and once on the radio, but otherwise they walk up to three hours to perform in their island’s villages.
Rosemond told me that Haitian culture is known for its proverbs, so her group has composed plays around famous sayings. One of them is “Don’t throw out the old cooking pot just because you have a new one.” The play is about spousal abuse and men who leave their wives for new girlfriends.
A play about the dangers of peer pressure is based on the proverb “birds of a feather flock together.”
The proverb “after the dance, the drum gets heavy” is a warning about the risks of premarital sex.
Only 13 percent of Haiti’s married women use contraception, primarily because of lack of education and supplies rather than Roman Catholic prohibition. Rosemond became the most popular person in her village when she was given 100 condoms to distribute.
Having babies is a dangerous practice in Haiti with 1,000 per 100,000 mothers dying in childbirth, compared to 17 in America and 4 in Austria. Abortion is illegal except to save the life of the mother, but still 7 percent of all pregnancies end in unsafe abortions, which either wound or kill many Haitian women.
In addition to spousal abuse, there are problems with child servitude and sexual abuse. In the Third World the temptation to sell one’s children is very great, and sadly Haiti has become a center for human trafficking in the Caribbean.
Rosemond has started five new women’s groups on her island, and as I watched her drumming and singing her songs in the University of Idaho Women’s Center, I felt deeply that “femme courage” will bring hope to Haiti’s oppressed people.

Lori, Colin, Mia & Jack said...

I think it is terrible to see people suffering like that. It's also hard for me to completely sympathize because I haven't ever had to go hungry. If you think of all the starving people in the world, think of how lucky we are to be born in the promised land and have the gospel. I for one don't think it is accidental, but it's still tragic. We are all also blessed with the means to help.
I remember grandma telling me about one of the families she was helping out in Mexico. I asked her about whether she has talked to them about the gospel and she said she hasn't talked to them about it because at that point it wasn't important. I think it would be hard for anyone to think about their salvation when all they really can worry about is whether or not they will be able to eat that day. Besides, we know that everyone who has or will ever live will get a chance to learn the gospel. And I don't think we will be held accountable for feeding someone who is starving and not getting around to teaching them what the Book of Mormon is. After all, meeting their needs is a big part of the gospel.
It really bothers me that so much of the farmland in the world is wasted on growing crops for fuel or the government paying farmers to not grow crops because it's better for the environment when there are things like this that happen in the world. So much money is wasted by our government, and even 1% of that money is probably more than the GNP of Haiti. I personally think the Iraquis have gotten enough of our money. Places like Haiti are much more in need.
Anyway, that's my rant.

notthecroshaws said...

OK, I just re-read my comment of April 19, and found proof that I'm an idiot, or that I should not write comments at 2:18 a.m. Among my babblings there was the sentence: "after their stomachs are fed, then the Church can feed their stomahs as well." Those of you who know anything about human anatomy or medicine likely got a pretty good laugh out of that one. If you don't know what a stoma is, then I won't ruin your day by putting that picture into your head. Suffice it to say that in my stupor, stomah was a typo for stomach, but since that doesn't make sense either, what I really meant to write was: After their stomachs are fed, then the Church can feed their SPIRITS as well.
OK, correction made. I'll have to start previewing before I post.