This past week I watched God Grew Tired of Us about the "Lost Boys" of Sudan relocating to the United States. I also read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini which tells the stories of refugees in Afghanistan. (By the way I highly recommend them both). So I was already entering Thanksgiving time reflecting on how fortunate I am and lucky to be born in this country and time rather than somewhere else in history. I fully realize it did not have to be this way. (Try the lottery of life to show students this).
Yesterday I had a long conversation with my cousin and his wife. They live in Haiti, not just dropped in after the earthquake, but have lived there for years (they blog about their life here). He is a horticulturist and tries to find drought, insect, and disease resistant plants to grow in Haiti's harsh climate and poor soil. His wife is a doctor who works at a clinic and trains Haitians in medical care. They are offering sustainable help that will last years after they are gone. His wife has just finished writing a book about health, basic first aid, and personal hygiene.
She explained how Haiti has more aid organizations in it than any other country in the world, but to little effect. She also recommend the book When Helping Hurts to explain a better way to help the country. I was reminded of this Ted talk that compared the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and explained how Chile had very few deaths even though their quake was much stronger.
So I have found myself reflecting on how fortunate I am to live in the time and place that I do. I love history and am fascinated by many time periods and especially the cultures there but would not want to live in any time but the present. I have so many blessings starting with my family and including my home, food, clothing, secure job, health insurance, and friends. I also have the opportunity to study and learn about anything I choose. Lastly I am thankful that I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.