Eugene Cho

Africa is beautiful: The danger of how we frame the story of other nations and people.

Thank you for your prayers.

After about two weeks in Kenya and Tanzania, I’m back in Seattle. I spent most of my time in Kenya to assess ODW’s partnerships and projects in response to the worst drought the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) has encountered in the past 60 years. I have some both encouraging stories and difficult stories to share – as well as images – some of which I’ll share and some that’s best not to share.

But before I share some upcoming posts about things that discouraged me, encouraged me, and the rise of skepticism and cynicism in development, I wanted to share a post detailing how much I’ve enjoyed my two weeks in Africa, my first trip to East Africa, and my third visit to this beautiful continent.

In fact, this post may be the most important of the ones I share about my trip – even if it doesn’t directly engage the main purpose of my trip: to assess ODW’s Horn of Africa response.

The responsibility in story-telling.

It’s important because the last thing I want to do is perpetuate a false picture of how Africans or for that matter, people of all “developing” countries are perceived as helpless, hungry, needy, incapable, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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We can’t do everything but we have to do something. Why I’m in the Horn of Africa.

Dear Friends, Supporters, Readers, and Encouragers:

I hope you’re doing well.

I’m writing to you from Kenya. Yes, you read that correctly. Kenya as in Kenya, Africa.

I just recently arrived and depending on circumstances, may also visit Somalia and South Sudan. Over the next week or so, I’m privileged to be a guest of World Concern (one of our main partners). We’re also joined by a representative from  ONE. Together, we’ll have the opportunity to personally assess the progress and the arduous work ahead. Just this week, I read reports that the current situation in Somalia – while it improved last year – may be entering into another dire situation.

The Context

In 2011, the Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in its region in 60 years. This drought in combination with rising food prices, extreme insecurity, and violence led to famine conditions that affected over 13 million people in the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is the “horn” shaped portion of northeastern Africa that includes the countries of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

In fact, the UN declared famine in six regions in Somalia. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes in search of food, water, and safety. Many of them walked for weeks, trying to reach refugee camps in Kenya. And sadly, many died along the way, including more than 30,000 children.

When tragedy strikes – whether it be in Aurora, Colorado or through a famine or drought in the Horn of Africa (and another current one in the Sahel region of Africa)…we are reminded of our finitude.  Read the rest of this entry »

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dear world: please wake up!

Numerous sources have stated that over 12 13 million people are being impacted by the worst drought & famine in the region of the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Most tragically the number of people on the very brink of death has soared to 750,000 (read ODW’s latest update & Nick Kristof’s update in the NY Times).

While it’s clear that the situation is complex (isn’t it always?) with political overtones and the Muslim militia called Shababs unwilling to let aid enter into regions of Somalia where people are dying, we are left with an epic humanitarian crisis impacting 13 million people.

12 13 million people.

How do you wrap your head around such a number?

13,000,000

You begin with one.

The World Food Programme, for example, has shared that they can provide a nutritious meal for one person for .17…

as in seventeen cents.

These statistics are overwhelming but while we may not be able to remedy, fix, or respond to the entire situation, we must respond. I’m often reminded of Mother Teresa’s wisdom and quote:

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

Over the years, I’ve grown very uncomfortable (and at times, angry) at what I consider to be borderline exploitation of images (and people) used by non-profit organizations to Read the rest of this entry »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Invest in your soul.
Read the Scriptures.
Pray & listen. 
Embrace silence.
Go for a walk.
Laugh with friends.
Enjoy a good book.
Soak in God's creation.

#NatureIsMyLoveLanguage Final sunset.

Aloha. Mahalo. Hana hou. Ohana.

Thank you, Kona, the Whitlocks, YWAM, sea turtles, Nemo, Restorers DTS, and Scandinavian Shaved Ice. Our three children.

One will be heading off to college in one year. The 2nd in three years. In six years, Minhee and I will be empty nesters. As a young parent, my prayers for them often surrounded their purpose in life. While I still ponder those things, there are three things that I most pray for:

1. That they may love Christ and obey Christ. Not just the idea but to actually follow Christ and thus, to love people.

2. To hold God's Word - the Holy Scriptures - dear and near to their hearts.

3. To love one another and be there for one another for life. To be loyal to one another. To protect one another. To never allow pettiness, conflicts, jealousy,  money, or whatever to get between them in the future. Ever. 
May it be so. Amen. Kona sunset. #nofilter

Perhaps from the outside...things look great but this has been one of the most challenging years of our life. The most painful has involved one of our kids who've had to endure through a lifelong chronic illness. This year, we've gone to the hospital 3-4 times/week trying to get her better. Ups and downs. Emotional roller coaster. Parents will understand this but nothing hurts more than a sick child...especially when you can't "fix" the situation. We were praying that our trip to Hawaii would be a balm for her soul...but it has been hard. Really hard. Lots of tears hard. But soaking in this sunset with our kids is something we don't want to take for granted.

We continue to pray and hope. Hope is not that God promises us perfection or everything we want but that in all situations...God is with us. Believing - while faltering - in this truth for our child. My Hawaiian Seattle Korean queen. #kona @minheejcho A family that hikes together stays together. #kona #pololuvalley

my tweets

  • Great World Cup final and tournament. Now, if we can just get FIFA to change their corrupted ways. || 1 minute ago
  • Congrats to the USA Women - 2015 World Cup Champions! And respect to Japan for a great tournament & never quitting. http://t.co/x4lmf0si9F || 4 minutes ago
  • USA Women haven't scored a goal in over 5 minutes. This is pathetic. What's wrong with them? ;) || 1 hour ago
  • USA. WOW. USA. WOW. USA. WOW. USA. WOW. Four goals and counting... || 1 hour ago
  • Grace doesn't necessarily fix everything...but it can change everything. || 2 hours ago
  • Happy B-Day, USA. May we have the gratitude to celebrate our freedom, courage to atone for our mistakes, & humility to pray for our future. || 1 day ago

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