Friday, October 28, 2016
“I have everything I thought was important and nothing that really is.” ― Lorena Bathey
After a mere nine years of loyal and reliable service being used almost every single day and sometimes for twelve hours at a time, our generator is having to have major surgery. It’s only piston broke, but happily generators are very common here and parts are available for all of them. Shaban had to go to Musoma yesterday for some and has gone to Mwanza today to get the others, but, if all goes well, “Lil Mikey” (our generator) will be back in business for tonight. As if Tanesco (national power company—“Tanesco” means off-and-on apparently) knew we were generator-less it actually has gone almost twenty-four hours without an outage. Pretty sure that won’t last, but we are thankful. Most of you cannot grasp what it would mean to have your power going out two or three times a day and then being off for a whole day once a week. For you guys, power is a given (if you pay your bill) and is only a problem during ice storms and hurricanes. Some of you go years and years without even a hiccup in your electricity. You also don’t have to worry about malaria or getting AIDS from bad blood or needles used to test for malaria. You probably have never gone to get gas for your car and discovered that there was none to be had, or wanted a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs and couldn’t get those either because they just weren’t in the stores. Your public schools are free and no one has to take a test in another language to move from elementary school to secondary, but that is not how it is here. Almost all your roads are paved with stripes painted on them and there are no speed bumps on your highways. You have 911, good hospitals, fire departments, ambulances, and police who will come to your house in minutes if called. We have no paramedics, no drug stores filled with over-the-counter medications to take care of all the little ailments that plague us all. You can get a hot meal for everyone in your family in minutes by just driving through a fast-food place. Many, if not most of you, can have lots of food delivered to your door, piping hot—and everybody can get hot pizza delivered. Most of you also have good mass transportation and dependable taxis and personal cars. Many of you can ride good quality bikes that are very light and have multiple gears to get you over the hills—and none of you has to have a 300 lb. bag of rice across the bike’s luggage rack or carry twenty, eight-foot stalks of sugar cane so you can sell them and bring food home to your family. If it’s cold, you’ve got the clothing to keep you warm and if it’s hot you’ve got air conditioning in your homes, businesses, and cars to keep you cool. We have none.
What’s important is that we are almost always happy and it seems you guys are almost always unhappy—if your Facebook posts are any indication. Just keep in mind that what’s important is what’s in your heart and how much you give to those in need. That’ll make you happy. If you don’t believe me, try it. Just be kind and generous and loving to others for one day or even half a day. It will change your life, not to mention the other lives it will change. Do it, please.