Some days the weight of the world is heavy....and today is one of those days. I look around at my life, and though things aren't perfect, they are pretty darn good. I have lots of food in my cupboards, I go to school every day, I have the ability to safely get from point A to point B, I have a rented roof over my head, I have a husband who loves me, I have pets who follow me everywhere, and I don't have to worry so much about the health and safety of my family. I know that if something happens we have access to some of the best health care in the world. Spring has officially sprung around here, the weather is beautiful, the birds are singing, and the grass is turning green. And still the weight of the world is heavy.
Z and I watched Blood Diamond over the weekend. It is one of those movies that I've been meaning to see for quite a while, but didn't bring myself to do it. Z has been teasing me that I didn't want to watch it because Leonardo DiCaprio is in it (and he knows he is not one of my favorite actors). But, the truth is I knew what it was about; and I knew that watching it would force me to confront apathy (my own and America's in general). I know that I am one of the few very priviledged in this world. I didn't ask to be born as an American. I didn't deserve to be born here. And yet I was. I have so many opportunities, so much wealth, and I have a voice (whether or not I think I have a voice in my government is irrelavent - the fact is that I DO have a voice - whether I find a way to use it is the issue). So, what should we do when we are confronted with the injustice in our world? Should we get angry? Should we write letters to senators? Should we raise money (if so, what do we do with it)? Should we find others who see the injustice and join together? Should we try to educate others? Or, should we turn the other way; forget we ever learned about it?
There are so many things in this world that need to be changed. We need to find a way to redistribute wealth in our world. We need to STOP poverty (in our own country and throughout the world). We need to fight the AIDS pandemic and stop it in its tracks. We need to find a way to provide good healthcare to EVERYONE. We need to end unnecessary death caused by treatable diseases. We need to DEMAND fair trade for the products we purchase. We need to stop slavery (yes, it is still taking place - even in the U.S.). We need to find a way to give all children access to a good education. We need to find a way to use our voices to speak for those who have no voice. We need to make this world a better place for our children.
Just over this past weekend I was reminded of the following issues:
-Children are being bought and sold as sex slaves (this is a big problem in places like Cambodia and other Asian countries as well as some Latin American countries...though it is also happening here in the good old U.S.A.).
-Ethiopia still has not been granted free trade rights for their coffee...Big coffee companies are still making big bucks off of lattes, frappuccinos, and mochas while Ethiopian farmers earn less than a dollar a day.
-One of my very favorite products (CHOCOLATE) is being farmed and harvested by child slaves. About half of the world's chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast and about 12,000 child laborers have been trafficked into Ivory Coast to work on these cocoa plantations.
Since we've started the adoption process, I am reminded everyday that my future children will be children that have been directly affected by the unfairness of our world. They will no doubt be victims of extreme poverty. They may have parents who died or are dying from AIDS. They may have parents who died of malaria (or another treatable disease). For me, these issues are no longer problems that happen on the other side of the world. They are problems that are affecting MY children.
What do I do about it?