October 18, 2018

A Response to President Emmanuel Macron

I don't speak French so maybe I missed some nuanced reasoning in French President Emmanuel Macron's comment, "Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children." I'll tell you what though, my first response to that comment was a great big, "Forget you, Macron." 

Once I stopped calling him names in my head I read a bit more and saw that he was trying to advocate for education for girls and an end to child brides.  I appreciate that. I am 100% on board with that. 


But this is not the first time that Macron has talked about Africa as one large place where women unfortunately keep popping out babies. (I found this NPR article written by a Ugandan woman very helpful.) How condescending and sad that he - like most of the western world - does not see fertility as a gift and children as  blessings. And I feel a little furious about this man implying / stating that African women are only having big families because they are not better educated. 


I love that women from around the world (yes, not just white, middle class Americans) have shared pictures of their large families as a way of presenting themselves to Macron.  Look at us: we are educated - some of us impressively so - and we did choose this. Look at us, Macron: there are women all around the world who have not only educated  our minds but have formed our hearts and consciences so that we understand that life is beautiful, our bodies are amazing, babies are gifts, and love is the greatest resource we have.  We want you to know this, too, Macron, because it is beautiful and joyful and powerful. 




I know some of you will want to do more than post a picture of your large family on social media, or like someone else's picture of their large family, so I invite you to do what President Macron was talking about and support education in Africa. We can put our money where our values are. 


My former pastor is Fr. Julius Turyatoranwa. He served at my parish while finishing his doctorate in education. Last December he returned to his home diocese in Uganda and has been overseeing the fruit of several years of fundraising done in the States: he is building a school that will educate boys and girls who live in poverty.




When St. Patrick Boarding Primary School first opens in February 2019 it will serve as a day school for local children but once the dormitories are complete children will be educated and will receive three meals a day and clean water.  This kind of education and nutrition is usually only for the wealthy but Fr. Julius is changing that. 


Fr. Julius purchased the land the school is being built on. He has worked for years to raise money for his people. This is not a white man from an outside country telling the people of southwest Uganda what they need - this is a man born and raised there, with dozens of nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews still in the area, who is using all the resources and gifts God has given him to positively impact generations of Ugandan children. 



Fr. Julius would always say to us, "Fifty cents buys a brick. You give me fifty cents and I can buy a brick to build the school." If you can give $20 to the Building Hope in Kids - Uganda foundation you will buy 40 bricks. For $50 a month you can sponsor a child's education. Give them $500 so they can buy desks and books and posters. Give them anything you can and know that it is going to a school that believes in the value of all human life and exists to give children in poverty - girls included! - a chance to succeed. 




I personally vouch for this organization and I am grateful for any help you can give. You can learn more about Building Hope in Kids - Uganda and give to their efforts by clicking here



PS - Fr. Julius would be disappointed in my calling President Macron names in my head and would want us all to pray for Macron to have a conversion of heart and to go to confession. So let's do that, too. 



4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful project - I donated brinks in your honor. Thanks for bringing Fr Julian's efforts to my attention!

    And congratulations on your pregnancy - I pray that you have a healthy time of it!

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    1. Oh God bless you! Thank you so much!

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  2. My comment to President Macron would be, "The future belongs to the fertile...where are the French people?" And I'm into world domination with my eight kids!

    But even better is your response in the acts of charity--Fr. Julian's project is so worthwhile and I plan on asking my kids if they would rather donate to him than receive Christmas presents this year!

    Congratulations on your pregnancy, Bonnie! May God bless you in your generosity!

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    1. Actually France has one of the highest fertility rate in Europe, and a tradition of encouraging natality dating back to the nineteenth century. So his speech was not only crass, smacking of racism, ignorant and insulting, it was also politically inept. Idiot. (Macron, that is!)

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