Within the larger story of Hurricane Katrina there was an amazing story about journalism — the stunning performance of the journalists at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Not only did this newspaper continue to cover the disaster, they did so with few if any resources since their own organization was caught up in the storm. Shut down, the newspaper evolved into a blog that continued — 24/7, as best it could — to break stories.
I mention this as a prologue to the following feature story that ran this past week (hat tip to Rod Dreher, an expert on all things Lousiana). One of our goals here at GetReligion is to bring you more examples of wonderful religion writing — whether by Godbeat reporters or not — from newsrooms all over the place. To do this, we need more tips.
It is hard to know what to say about this story by reporter Bruce Nolan, but I urge you to read it. It tells the story of a circle of women in impoverished, war-ravaged Uganda — many of them dying of AIDS — who decided to do something to help raise nearly $900 for hurricane victims in New Orleans. Yes, you read that right.
You won’t believe the details of the story told by aid worker Amy Cunningham. You see, this is a lot of money when a woman earns $1.20 a day crushing rocks by hand.
The charity of the Kireka residents is partly the story of Rose Busingye, a charismatic 36-year-old Ugandan nurse who founded Meeting Point International, a private relief organization that has embedded itself in Kireka to help the people who live there. … Many of the women of Meeting Point International — in fact, most of those who donated their work to New Orleans — are infected with HIV, Busingye said.
“There are so many groups out there that would basically give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it,” Cunningham said. “They are so empowering. These are very strong women who identify, in particular, with suffering. “We would consider them disenfranchised, but they are just extraordinary. They just said, ‘We can do this.’ And they did it.”
The group’s motto is “One Heart.” It’s members believe that blood is blood, suffering is suffering. Read the story. (United Nations photo)