Getting to know them

As humanitarians, it is our goal to help improve the welfare and happiness of people. 

But how can we know how, unless we know them? 

My goal as a storyteller for World Vision is to try to understand people—who they are, what motivates them, and what inspires them to go on, even in the most challenging of circumstances. 

To do so, with my partner Jon Warren, I’ve tried to walk in their shoes—at least a little bit.

· We’ve lived in a village surviving on food rations to see what hunger feels like. 

· I’ve carried 70 pounds of water from a filthy river to a home, to understand the difficulty those without a good water supply face. 

· We’ve slept under insecticide treated mosquito nets in Mozambique to find out if we awoke bite free.

Through these experiences and the time they gave us to ask questions and listen to answers, we’ve been able to gain some wonderful insights into the human condition. 

These experiences have allowed us to marvel at those to whom life gave very little, but the beauty and strength necessary to endure the hardest of hardships. 

And they have inspired us to want to do more.

By Jon Warren, WVUS Photographer

Statistics on malaria, more than 200 million cases and 600,000 deaths per year, leave me numb.

And then I'm confronted by a heartbroken father tenderly caressing his critically ill son in a remote hospital in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo. I hear a clinic nurse say the 7500 Congolese Francs it will cost to treat the little girl laying on the floor is half her mother's yearly cash income -- and the clinic doesn't have the medicine anyway.

Now malaria becomes personal and my job of sharing their story even more compelling.