Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why do I do what I do in Kenya?

I've been asked this a lot. And I thought that I answered it here once before. Maybe I have hedged around the question but have avoided it because I am afraid that I won't come across the right way. I will sound like a crotchety crab instead of a diplomatic representative of volunteerism.

So why do I do this? Why do I spend so much of my time and money helping out people living in Kenya in poverty? See? Then I don't know what to tell you because it is beyond my scope to imagine why someone wouldn't want to jump in a plane, fly 12,000 miles, live in questionable surroundings without reliable water or electricity, eat bland meals, and be surrounded by dirt and poverty.

What I really want to do is ask you the question. Why haven't you traveled to a third world country to see how three-quarters of the world's population lives?

Here's why.

Because I can't afford it. How much do you spend a week on eating out for lunch? How much do you spend on soda from the vending machine? How much do you spend on your cable bill? Or light bill? Or fuel for the gas-guzzling SUV you have to have?

Because it's not safe. Have you see the news? Is it safe here in America to go to the mall or your kid's school or the movie theater? Or a military base? Bad stuff happens everywhere. EVERYWHERE. We cannot live in a bubble, live in fear. We have to go out and live, whether in our own hometowns or across the world.

Because we have poverty in this country too. That's true. So, then that means you are doing something about that, right? Good for you. Oh, or no, you're not helping out here at home either? Yes, there is poverty everywhere too. So do something about it - either in Africa, or the Appalachian mountains, or on an Indian reservation in the Southwest, or Harlem, or your own town. But go do it! Work at the food pantry. Mentor a kid in need through Big Brothers/Big Sisters or Kinship. Volunteer to read to the residents of your local nursing home. Work at church.

Because I don't have time. This one pretty much leaves me speechless (wordless?). I cannot hardly think of an answer that is going to come out not sounding sarcastic. Coz I want to know first of all how many hours a week you spend in front of the TV. Me? Maybe three or four hours. A week - not a day. Get off your couch and do something. I don't care what. Just turn the TV off. Also turn off the computer. I do have to admit that surfing the internet does waste a lot of my time, but somehow I still find the time to volunteer.

Because I really don't have the time, I have a family to raise. For starters it doesn't take that much time. But more importantly, what do you want to teach those kids you are raising? That they need to get a good education just so they can get a good job so they can have a good house and a good car? Or that it's better to help out someone in need, coz that's what Mom and Dad do? And better yet, take those kids with you when you volunteer, whether it's across town or across country or across the world. There is no better education then seeing how others live. Raise kids who care.

Okay, enough of that. See now why I hate writing about this stuff? Just me on my soapbox.

1 comment:

Denise said...

Only one comment, PERFECT