As a child I remember the first time injustice entered my life as reality. Up until that moment injustices were something you saw in the movies. In the end, good conquered evil and everything was right with the world again. But this was “real life”, not the movies, and this type of injustice couldn't possibly happen. I remember in that moment, even though I was so young, I felt a great anger, how could this be? I remember the passion I felt, I wanted justice to be done! I had a voice and I was determined to stand up and use it. I would make a difference! I was going to let my voice be heard, and people would listen. I used that voice several times with great passion, and several times I was broken by someone that either chuckled at my determination or had a negative response to my outbursts. I don’t think that I was alone in this, we become conditioned to believe there are too many injustices in the world and we can’t make a difference. The thing I remember most was the great passion I had to do something. That passion exists in many children and unfortunately many times it dies a slow death only to be replaced by conformity as we get older. If you can at all remember that passion, you can find it again, and a difference for many injustices can be made. Recently, I was asked why I went to Africa when the problem there is so much bigger than I am, surely it couldn’t make a difference. I have several answers to that question but the simplest was the one I used-
The Starfish Story...
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a little boy, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The little boy paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the little boy replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
Discouraged he began to walk away. Suddenly the little boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one." The man looked at the little boy inquisitively and thought about what he had said and had done. Inspired, he joined the little boy in throwing the starfish back into the ocean.
I love this story. It shows how you can truly save a life one at a time if you are willing and daring enough to just try.