I went to a lecture today.  My reason for going was to hear Deogratias (Deo) Niyizonkiza,  Doctor and Burundian-who has worked closely with Paul Farmer and is the subject of the New York Times bestselling  author Tracy Kidder’s most recent book, “Strength in What Remains”- talk about nonprofit Village Health Works.  

What I didn’t realize is that his lecture was in memory of a Baylor Medical student.  In 2000, a Baylor Medical Student was robbed and killed-during a robbery spree of 4 individuals.  This is what affected me.  It’s a life, a life that was unfairly taken in a split second.  So shocking, so heartbreaking…then I began to think of the millions of lives taken in the same exact fashion-worldwide.  Those lives may  not have a scholarship endowment fund named after them, or a slideshow about their life.  But as Deo said, ‘their dreams live on, through the people who knew them.’

why? is it fair that a good looking white boy, 22, is killed because he looks like he has money? That his life is taken and a mere $40 is the profit? That millions are savagely murdered without even the intent to take money or other items-soley because they are malicious or have dehumanized a people? This is one boy, so many stories were written about him-one boy who didn’t deserve what was done to him.  Who worked to help those in need, who had such a bright future robbed from him.   How do you pit that next to the thousands of Rwandans, Burundians, Sudanese, Congolese (insert all other African countries that have been subject to turmoil, genocide, and mass killings).  Deo showed a photograph capturing hundreds of bodies and explained that these were aspiring medical students, nurses, doctors, and other hospital workers-just trying to serve others-who were killed for no reason.  Not that there really is ever a reason to kill someone.  But really?  A murder 10 years ago has brought to the forefront this question.  why?  What has happened to humanity? Actually I take that back, I know what happened.  We’re fallen.  Ever since Cain and Able, man has been known to think it’s okay to slay their own kind. 

One thing that was said today gives me hope.  Deo told all of the Baylor Medical students attending the lecture, “It is our job to care for the sick.  People that did this to Matthew, and to my fellow classmates and community members in Burundi are sick. That is why people do things like this, they are sick….. Where there is health, there is hope.”

Take care of the sick around you-before they get to the point of no return.


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