Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Role Reversal

What if the US reversed roles with a developing country in Africa. What would that look like?
  • First, there would be no healthcare system. Forget about making an appointment with your doctor every time you get a sniffle or aches and pains.
  • Instead of driving to your job where you sit in an air conditioned office all day, you walk a couple of miles to work...and once you get there, you spend the next 10-12 hours doing vigorous manual labor.
  • At the end of the day, you get your pay. Two bucks.
  • Your children are in danger of dying of a disease that Africa managed to eradicate decades ago.
  • For as little as $10 each, you could protect your children from the disease. But you just don't have it. That's a whole week's pay!
  • When you get home, tired from a day of work, you've got to find a way to feed the entire family on the two dollars you made today.
  • There's no trip to the vending machine during the day for a snack. There is no vending machine. And you couldn't afford it anyway. In fact, you may have to choose not to eat tonight, so your children get enough.
  • There's no sink to turn on for clean water. One of your sick children has to walk a mile down the road to get water from a well.
  • You can't afford to send your children to school. The supplies alone are out of your budget. (In one country, I met a mother who sifted through old notebooks in a landfill, hoping to find enough blank pages to sew a notebook together so her daughter could go to school.)
  • Forget about the house you have today. Your entire home is smaller than your current master bedroom.
  • Your "closet" consists of two pair of shoes.
  • No TV, DVDs, video games.
  • If you have electricity, you likely stole it by illegally tapping into a line that runs through your neighborhood. But most likely, the only light you have at night is provided by candles or the trash fire you set in your yard.
  • You don't get to take a hot shower every morning. But once every few days, you can make your way to the watering hole to bathe in the filthy, cold stream.

So what's the difference? Longitude and latitude. But for the grace of God you were born here...and not there. And why should that determine whether a person has their basic needs taken care of? Where a person is born should not decide whether they get a fair chance at life. Do something. You Can.

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