Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be Thankful.....DAMMIT!

Nothing like the Holidays to totally zap your Holiday Spirit.  People.  Really?  I'm so irritated by the incredibly self centered, ungrateful, entitled, bullshit behavior that I have experienced in the last 24 hours that I feel the need to have a little Thanksgiving related rant.

I am truly thankful for everything I have.  I recognize, on a daily basis, my incredible good fortune.  I am healthy, my family is healthy, we have a safe, warm home, good jobs, and access to a multitude of resources.  None of this is a foregone conclusion and I know, on a cellular level, how blessed we are.

Much of the world lives like this:

This Tanzanian family looks pretty good, actually.  Clean clothes that are in good shape and everyone is wearing shoes.  This appears to be their house, and they have a goat (also looks pretty healthy) which they clearly are very proud of since it is front and center in the photo.  Kids look quite healthy.  By their own local standards, I suspect they are fairly well off and probably grateful for what they have. 

My family lives in a house too.  It's safe, and warm.  We have clean water to drink here in my town, and you know what?  It actually comes straight into my little house, so that we don't have to risk our lives walking to a well somewhere.  There is so much water that comes into my house that I can just turn the faucet on and let it all run down the sink...all day long!  We have jobs here.  Good jobs, that pay really well.  There are a lot of jobs that are inside.  I don't have to make anything or even get dirty doing anything.  I just sort of talk to people all day long, which, of course, is exhausting.  But that's okay, because I get paid a lot of money. (A lot more than Tanzanians get paid, as it turns out, as 60% of them live on $2 a day, another 20% have to make do on $1 a day.  Good grief, my daily latte costs more than that combined!!!)   I can use some of my money to buy food.  Our food is all in big stores.  It's organized, and refrigerated.  I don't have to grow or kill any of it.  I can just go in and buy it and take it home and either cook or just eat it, it is clean, and safe and delicious.  We have so much food, in fact, that we have special storage rooms in our homes, just to keep extra food.  In my town you can tell that people have lots and lots of food, and that they eat as much of it as they can.  All the time.  Sometimes though, we don't even get around to eating all that food, and sometimes we just throw it away in the trash.  A nice man comes to my door and takes my trash away, I don't have to throw it in the yard.  Which is a good thing, because there is so much of it.

In spite of the clean water and all that good food, sometimes we get sick though.  Fortunately we have a hospital in my town.  In fact we have TWO and they are both really big and super nice, and clean.  We have over 1,000 doctors working here, just in my hospital alone.  That is 200 more doctors than there are in the entire country of Tanzania.  No wonder only 64% of that country's population lives over the age of 40 (this is kind of funny, actually, as the mortality rate in my country is on a downward trend....turns out eating all that food can kill you.  If that isn't the definition of "irony" I don't know what is.  I wonder what the Tanzanias would think about THAT.)  Turns out about 40% of the people in Tanzania can't afford to pay for medical services, and that same amount couldn't even get to a doctor (if they did have the cash the doctor required up front to see them) because there is no transportation.  I have to pay cash to see my doctor, too, fifteen dollars!  But if I forget to bring it, that's okay, they'll treat me anyway and just send me a little reminder in the mail. the lady in the brand new mini van with the 99% bumper sticker, with the two kids in the back seat watching t.v. as she backed out of Whole Foods this morning with her $350 worth of looks like the joke's on you.  The amount of money you spent on that bumper sticker alone could have fed our Tanzanian family for an entire day.  Your 3 bags of groceries?  That could have fed that family for half a year.  Turns out its the Tanzanians that rightfully belong to the 99%, not you.  (Guess where that leaves you?) 

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