I’ve meant to finish this post since last week, but I’ve been busy with a few other things.  Turns out this week couldn’t be more perfect, since Thanksgiving Day is in the minds of most Americans (my Canadian friends already had their Thanksgiving day, so they’re well ahead of everyone else when it comes to Christmas preparations).

 

Sometimes, we do a whole lot more complaining that we should.  Living in a third-world country does tend to open your eyes at the vastness of resources and opportunities people in first-world countries have.

 

Here are three things you should be grateful for and that, at least for today, think about those that don’t have them:

 

1.  Clean Water

 

So abundant in richer nations that we often forget that humans can’t live without drinking water for more than 5-6 days.  We often forget how essential it is.

 

We use water for more than just drinking.  We cook with it, wash with it… our lives revolve around access to clean water.

 

Water Tank Antigua Guatemala

Take a moment to give thanks that you have water access.  Then think of the ONE BILLION people in the world that do not.

 

You can do more than think about it too.  John Bardos, from JetSetCitizen.com has excellent information about what you can do to help those who most  desperately need access to clean water.  Check it out here.

 

2. Electricity

 

Electricity is one of those things that seems to always “just be there.”  We don’t notice it, pay attention to it, or care that we have it… until it’s gone.

 

And even when it does go, it’s either briefly, or during emergencies, like when a hurricane hammered New York and the East Coast not too long ago.  Eventually, things always seem to go back to normal.

 

electricity shortages
Flickr @ vl8189

 

For some people, not having electricity is the “normal”.  In Guatemala, about two out of every ten people lack access to electricity in their homes.

 

India has massive problems meeting its energy requirements and the poorest of the population have to do without it for hours, sometimes days.

 

Experiment and try to go without electricity for an one or two one night.  You’ll be amazed how much you rely on it to make your way around your house, to relax and entertain yourself, to keep your food from spoiling in the fridge, to power your gadgets…  Now imagine going without electricity for days at a time.

 

Support Habitat for Humanity, who has ongoing projects all over the world to help villages get the basic services most of the world has.  Do what you can to be mindful of the resources you consume.

 

3.  Access to Education

 

That you can read this on a computer puts you in a very small minority in the world.

 

A computer, or even an Internet-enabled smart-phone, gives you access to all the information you could ever want in this and next lifetime.

 

Could you imagine what this kid could do with a computer and unlimited Internet access?  Many children will never get the opportunity.

Mayan Child

It’s a common sight here in Guatemala to see otherwise bright, smart children, working on the streets to support their families.  They often lack access to schools and other basic resources we take for granted, like libraries and school supplies.

 

This Thanksgiving week, don’t forget to be thankful for what you have, the dinner you’ll enjoy, and the presents you’ll be able to buy others come Christmas time.  But also remember that billions out there will also join you in giving thanks…

 

…For making it through another day.

 

What are you thankful for?

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the mention Rich!

    I often think about how much the world has changed in my life time.
    Black and white to color TV
    8-track cassettes to iPods
    Rotary telephones to smart phones.
    Container shipping and the rise of abundant cheap goods.
    The Internet
    On demand movies
    The rise of English as the global language.

    We live in amazing times, however there are still billions of people without basic access to clean water, enough to eat, electricity or an opportunity for education.

    • Thanks for commenting!

      So true, John. It’s amazing how far we’ve come and how little of that has reached the people that need it most.

      Thanks for what you do to shine a light on issues that need our attention.

      -Rich

Comments are closed.