did you shower this morning?
did you walk 6 miles in bare feet through thick, jungle brush to the nearest, nearly dry stream and carry it all back on your head?
have you taken a sip of water recently?
did you sift out the cow feces first?
are you wearing clean underwear?
were they washed with the same water you showered in yesterday?
did you eat today?
did you think about whether or not you could afford to actually eat your food rather than sell it?
do you brush your teeth with toothpaste?
some people wouldn’t know what to do with a tube if you gave them one.
do you use shampoo?
“shampoo” doesn’t even exist in some people’s vocabularies.
do you check the weather on your smartphone?
some people don’t need to. only sticks and branches separate them from the outdoors.
this is not a guilt trip.
no sir. not even close. just an eye-opener.
and a funny story.
several years ago, the Peace Corps came to Kpele Tsiko, Togo looking to do some humanitarian work.
family members of long-term patients stay on the hospital compound. in an area called the “cuisine.”
divided cement slabs. a pump. a couple of cement rooms with doors. some showers. places to cook. and build fires. clean water.
the conditions seem meager to me. but I know the Togolese that stay here think they’re living like kings on those cement slabs.
a while back, they didn’t have toilets. now, thanks to the Peace Corps. they do.
the funny thing is though.
they’ve never been used.
the brush is just fine, thanks.
really? yes really.
i know exactly what you’re thinking. i do.
i started out feeling sorry for them too. but then I noticed something.
they don’t feel sorry for themselves.
this is simply how they do things.
walking 6 miles to find water during the dry season isn’t a drag. it’s life.
wearing long skirts in triple-digit heat isn’t oppressive. it’s culture.
carrying children on your back while you harvest yams and hack squaking chickens isn’t crazy. it’s a living.
hard to believe. i know. but i’m beginning to understand.
i have been deceived.
i have mistakenly made the words “convenience” and “necessity”