Oh yeah, unlike the song, “if only in my dreams” we’ll ACTUALLY be going home for Christmas…I can’t believe it myself! As cliché as the saying goes, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
America, I will never criticize you again. Your ever-available public (EXTREMELY clean by African standards) toilets, $1 meals, and orderly traffic laws…sigh, it’s making me teary eyed just thinking about it.
But seriously, allow me to go on a tangent for a minute. It’s really difficult to live around poverty 24/7 knowing that at the end of three years Mike and I get to fly back to our comfortable homes, with our air conditioning, and endless access to food.
Sometimes you find yourself asking, “Why on Earth did God allow me to be born in the United States? With access to SO many resources and little things that, as Americans, we take for granted?”
Well, I think I finally figured out the answer. I think God allows some of us to be born into places of privilege so that we can use our resources that he’s gifted us with to help others. Think about it, if all of us were comfortable with the conditions that many people in poverty find themselves living in, we wouldn’t want to make changes.
However, when you come from a place of comfort, where the government truly does take care of you (if you’re homeless here, there’s no such thing as a shelter…no resources for you what-so-ever…as an example) then you realize what drastic changes need to take place.
After all, we are all just human. We all cry when we’re upset, and we all know what hunger feels like.
It’s hard to see other humans, knowing that they have the same emotional capacity as you do, suffering and begging for help on the side of the road. I would argue that if you come from a background where you CAN give of yourself to help others, that you should; it’s just the ethical thing to do.
Now sometimes when people read writings like this they think that I’m implying that we should just throw money at the problems and check it off our list of obligations; that’s not at all what I’m saying.
I don’t even think money is the most important component. I mean, there’ll always be rich people throwing money at different causes-the money will always find a way. What I’m arguing is that people who are educated, and who know that there are better options out there, should give of themselves whether it be their time, their expertise, or their influence to help those in need.
So, as a middle-class American, because I know what it’s like to not feel hungry, because I know what it’s like to have access to a clean public restroom equipped with toilet paper when I need it, and I know what it’s like to sleep without fear of the elements intruding on my sleep; I believe all humans have the right to access these same things.
You might also be reading this article thinking, lady, not even every person in America has access to the aforementioned items. This is true, and I’m not ignorant of that fact. But why must that always be pointed out? Can’t we simply focus on HUMANS as a whole? Why does their location matter? Does one life matter more simply because of it’s geographical location? I don’t want any person in the entire world to want for anything.
In other news, Mike and I are MORE than excited to be heading home for holidays! We leave tomorrow morning to head up to Lilongwe, which is about 5 hours north of Blantyre. We leave Wednesday morning at 10am and should be flying into Des Moines at 4pm on Thursday.
I foresee eating lots of Mexican and other foods we can’t have here and more importantly, hanging out with our families and friends. We’re as giddy as two elementary school children on Christmas Eve before Santa comes.
Viva la Des Moines, Iowa!