Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Here's a great articulate letter I received via the ONE.ORG mailing list. Sometimes we can think that nothing we do "is making a difference". Or that all the governments in Africa are corrupt- here's a story from the front lines of good things happening in Africa!

Dear ONE Member,

I just returned from a trip to Rwanda with my friend Senator Bill Frist, MD and leaders from both political parties. Senator Frist and I went to Rwanda not as politicians, but as students, to learn about people who are rebuilding their country after the unspeakable horror of genocide.

My news from Rwanda is very encouraging. The hard work of the Rwandan people and the generosity of Americans are coming together in partnership to create a model for how we can end poverty in the most desperate countries on earth.

I came home more convinced then ever that we’re all in this together. Rwandans' daily struggle to start anew, even as they deal with poverty and disease, is also our own struggle to build a more prosperous and safer world.

To further the progress in Rwanda and spread that hope, we need to take full advantage of this election year. That’s why Senator Frist and I will be meeting with our respective parties' leaders in the next few weeks, as they’re writing the platforms that will be unveiled at the presidential nominating conventions in Denver and Minneapolis. These platforms contain the policies on which Barack Obama and John McCain will campaign for the presidency.

We're going to ask these committees to make sure that their platforms take on the generational challenge of tackling global poverty, and we need your help to do it.

Click the link to sign the petition seen below, and I’ll deliver your signature when I meet with representatives from the Democratic Party – and Senator Frist will do the same on the Republican side – to ask these political leaders to include extreme poverty and global disease in their 2008 platforms.

As a proud American, I urge you to make ending extreme poverty and global disease in the developing world a core part of your 2008 platform by including commitments to:

Fight AIDS, TB and malaria and improve basic health services, particularly for mothers and young children Ensure access to clean water, basic sanitation and sufficient food supplies Spur economic growth through equitable trade and investment policies Modernize and increase development assistance, focusing on partnership, transparency and accountability Achieve universal primary education

In Rwanda, I saw the tremendous impact of some of the very things you’ve worked to make possible. Deaths from malaria have been cut by 66%, in large part because of the increase in bed net and anti-malarial medicine distribution. The death rate from malaria, as well AIDS and TB is going to continue to fall, because of your work pressuring Congress to reauthorize PEPFAR, America’s global AIDS bill, for five more years.

Victories like PEPFAR are saving lives and giving people in places like Rwanda new hope, making the whole world a safer and more prosperous place. Now we have the chance to make ending extreme poverty and global disease a focus for the Democratic and Republican parties.

Click below to sign the petition and I’ll deliver your signature when I meet with Democratic Party leaders to ask them to make the struggle against global poverty a priority in 2008.

My late friend Paul Wellstone was fond of saying that, “The poor don’t have a lobbyist. That’s why I went to Washington.” The hope for a better future that Senator Frist and I saw in Rwanda shows what’s possible when two million of us “go to Washington” on behalf of the world’s poorest people. This summer, together, we have the chance to go to Denver and Minneapolis and show that ending global poverty is a priority for both political parties.

Thank you for joining me,

Senator Tom Daschle
ONE Member and National Co-Chair ONE Vote ‘08

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I couldn't have said it any better...

Now that the Chinese adoption process has slowed to a snails pace, I
am growing a little weary of the questions that I am asked about our
adoption. I get everything from, "Oh, you are still doing that"…
to "Oh, you really are getting another one"… or my personal
favorite, "Have you done anything more about your adoption"….

It is almost as if people think we are doing this on a whim, that we
submitted our paperwork just because we had nothing better to do one
day… and then the next week decided to move onto something else. I
can't help but wonder if anyone would be so silly to ask that
question of a pregnant woman… Oh, you are still doing that?

Here are the top 10 things I wish people knew before asking me again
about where we are with our adoption…

1 – The adoption process may not be common to you, but if you care
about us, then you should at least try to remember all the previous
answers we have given – or better yet – find out more about it.

2 – We didn't come to the decision to add a child to our family
hastily. Please understand that this is a commitment we have made, no
matter how long it takes.

3 – The long wait is painful. No matter how infrequently you may
think about our adoption, be assured that we think about our new
daughter every day.

4 – We have no control over the process, other than submitting our
paperwork – from there is it is in China's hands… and God's.

5 – Being asked un-thoughtful questions is hurtful and doesn't do
much for our relationship.

6 – The very long wait is increasingly hard to handle, and just
because I don't say it, don't think for one day it is easy.

7 – It is ok to say that you don't understand the process, but when I
explain it for the third time, understand I will grow impatient.

8 – Waiting for our third daughter is no easier than waiting for the
first, and no less exciting for us either. (this was written by a woman adopting
a third child- we are on our first!)

9 – Not saying anything is probably worse than some of the comments.
If I were pregnant would you forget to ask?

10 – As anxious as you were waiting for your own children to be born,
is no different from how we feel now. We too are scared, nervous,
anxious, excited, wondering what she will look like, how she will
act, wondering when she will sleep through the night… waiting couples
are all the same.