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In the light of Thursday morning

By Michael Sitzman

Section: Arts

November 10, 2006

Its an ordinary evening as we sing at Positive Foundations coffeehouse, helping fellow students in their efforts to raise money to fight extreme poverty worldwide. Im performing with the gospel choir, Voices of Praise, and this is my first time singing at Chums. I hear someone speak about how the actions we take today will have an effect on tomorrows world.

Taking a peek into the money-box, I swear I see it instead filled with random things: Some little bag of powder, a thin net, a handful of seeds, a pair of old shoes, and a used book. And I wonder how tomorrow came so fast

The Millennium Project was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2002 to develop a concrete action plan for the world to reverse the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people. *

A blue planet turns in space. Daylight emerges on the rim of a celestial crescent. While Chums counts down Wednesdays last hour, some other part of the turning planet is witnessing tomorrows dawn. As we sing, Thursday mornings light shines on a mothers loving hands that open a packet of powdered infant formula. It looks familiar

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the worlds time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions — Income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion — while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. *

A thatched home in the rainforest drips with the mornings first downpour. As the A cappella crooning of Manginah brings our day to an end, Thursday mornings light breaks through a cloud in a humid sky. The early sun shines through the open window onto the small head of a child now awakening beneath a net that gave shelter from a mosquitos malarial bite. A soul has survived to see a new day. I think Ive seen that net

0.7 refers to the repeated commitment of the worlds governments to commit 0.7% of rich countries gross national product (GNP) to Official Development Assistance… Ours is the first generation in which the world can halve extreme poverty within the 0.7 envelope. *

Out on the savanna, a village surrounded by fields shakes off the morning dew. For us, as nighttime in Boston is warmed by the lovely South Asian rhythms of Saaya, Thursday mornings light bathes a cornfield, imparting metabolic energy to the growing crop as little fingers lift food to the mouth. All of it from tiny seeds

In 1975, when the donor world economy was around half its current size, the Millennium Development Goals would have required much more than 1 percent of GNP from the donors. Today, after two-and-a-half decades of sustained economic growth, the Goals are utterly affordable. *

Up on the high plains that run down the spine of a continent, a town is rebuilding from the ruins of war. As we sit on the rug, watching the slideshow and holding the closing day in a mug of hot cider, Thursday mornings light shows the way for two little feet, wearing shoes for the first time, as they head off to school. They seem a good fit

By investing in health, food production, education, access to clean water, and essential infrastructure, these community-led interventions will enable impoverished villages to escape extreme poverty once and for all… **

The tiny planet turns, carrying six-billion souls on a timeless journey as the horizons curved edge careens ever eastward into oncoming daylight. As students gather their books and head out of Chums Coffeehouse on a cold night, Thursday mornings light illuminates the page of knowledge for two curious eyes as they read from a book held in little hands. I read that book once too…

7 cents can buy crayons for a class… $1 can immunize a child against polio… $10 can buy a months worth of biscuits for three kids… $150 can provide clean water for a village. ***

As I sing on a chilly night at the coffeehouse, there is a place, somewhere in the world, where human skin is warmed in the light of Thursday morning.

* unmillenniumproject.org
** millenniumpromise.org
*** unicef.org

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