Friday, March 4, 2011

"Live simply so that others can simply live" - Mahatma Ghandi

Did you know that 40% of the world's population lives on less than $2 a day? And that one of the main problems with keeping impoverished girls in school in Africa is because they don't have the means to maintain their menstrual cycles so they have to stay home during that time. They usually find themselves too far behind and end up dropping out.  I read this in a fantastic book call Half the Sky.  It discusses women's oppression around the world and the local grassroots organizations that have - and continue - to make a difference in the lives of millions of women and their families around the world.

I often ramble on and on (usually to my husband, poor guy) about spoiled, ungrateful people who continue to raise spoiled, ungrateful children to follow this seemingly unending cyclical pattern. More often than not I wind up sound completely un-American and if this were the 1970's you'd probably assume I was one of those long-haired, grass-smoking hippies burning flags in public and harassing people outside Federal buildings. But it's so not true! I love this country. It's the people without any appreciation for what we have that drives me crazy. It's unfortunate that frivolous, wasteful people who have so much will never be able to fully appreciate it. There is always more to be had.
While I was in the Philippines once, I went to the market and saw a girl - no more than 4 years old - selling plastic bags to people who were shopping for food. My mother told me she would probably be the one to feed the family that day. A 4-year old girl! Selling plastic bags! The same ones we use 2 of for a couple of sodas so that we don't have to use both of our delicate arms to carry our stuff to the closely parked car.
It's usually a joke among my friends and me how fanatical I am about reusing things. "If you're ever mad at Krystal, "a friend once joked, "just use 5 bags to bag something at the grocery store, then ball them up and throw them in the trash can right in front of her". It's funny because it's totally true! But some people seriously do that, and if they had seen that little girl, I guarantee they would think twice about being so wasteful. I truly believe - at least I hope - that it isn't that people are apathetic toward the majority of those who don't have IPods or SUVs or even more than one pair of torn shoes. I hope it's simply a lack of awareness. I'm not even saying I wish people would give more - although we probably should, myself especially - I just wish that we as a society were more grateful and stopped assuming the world owes us something special. Mark Twain said it best when he said, "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

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