Have you ever watched a promotional or news video for an organization like Compassion International?
It can be a bizarre experience because you realize, as you are bombarded by images of poverty, that you are also looking into a world that is utterly separated from yours not only by distance but, it seems, by time as well. Can you imagine living in a world where it is normal for you to cook over a fire every day or get up in the predawn hours to haul water from a river? If you are like me, the thought actually conjures up happy memories of camping or old episodes of Little House on the Prairie.
This worries me, because this is not a weekend of roughing it or a cozy evening by the fire with Pa and Mary.
There are millions of people who will live their lives today on the edge of living and dying, people who have no choice, who can't go home early if it starts to rain. People who can't just drive in to town to get extra toilet paper or garbage bags.
People who are being attacked every day by enemies too small to see.
I sponsor a little girl from Haiti through Compassion. Several months after the earthquake, I was told that Haiti was experiencing the world's first cholera epidemic in century.
|photo courtesy: http://www.guardian.co.uk/|
If you are alive and reading this you have probably never worried about cholera or The Plague. When you turn on the tap, you probably never worry about or whether or not your neighbor has dumped human waste or a dead rat in your drinking water. Videos, photographs, and articles have a necessary element of fantasy becasuse we have no point of reference.
That's why I love programs, like Compassion's Water of Life system, that bridge that gap between my reality and the reality of the millions of people in the developing world, human people who are warm and full of breath.
These are not actors, and this is not Little House on the Prairie. This is someone's life and it could have been mine.