Saturday, May 13, 2017

Doing without

Quick! What was the thing you most recently complained about? Got your answer? Hold that thought.
Now read this.
“I am only replying now (it’s around 1:36 a.m.) because this is first time in days that we have had power. Add that to the recession and you have a really “beautiful” picture of life from my end.”
Electricity off for days? Recession? And I’m upset because my WiFi isn’t fast enough.
The quote is from an email my Nigerian friend sent me the other day. I’ve been getting reality checks from him for some time now. I look around my house. What would I be forced to do without if there were no electricity? Lights, stove, fridge, microwave, TV, computer, iPad, Paperwhite, phone, humidifier, heat; even the gas fireplace needs its electric starter.
I’ve a book I’d like to send you, I write. It’s not available in ebook format. What’s your address?
“The post office building is vacant and has been for some time. The last time I received a letter was six years ago.”
Okay, I think. I’ll courier the book. I check with various companies to find that no one delivers packages in his area of the country. Scratch that idea.
Each missive from him jolts me. He rarely complains, but I can sense how hard his life is and how difficult it must be to remain optimistic.
We take far too many things for granted in our cozy corner of the world. Does his plight make me want to give up what I have? Of course not. But it does prompt me to stop buying things I don’t need, to be less wasteful, to “use it up, wear it out, make do, do without.” And, knowing him has prompted me to increase my charitable donations to organizations like KIVA. It’s the least I can do.

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