This week I travelled to East Africa with a supporter to visit three projects over two days.
A lot of work for a few days of travel. But an incredibly valuable experience for everyone involved. Especially for me.
All three had an element of water and agriculture involved. Two linked up closely with already established schools.
Each in arid and semi-arid areas. Meaning they have a hostile climate, fairly inaccessible and have incredibly limited resources. Availability of food and water and minimal.
For these people a normal day could be walking any distance between two and 10 kilometres. Maybe even further. Rarely less.
The time it takes to go and gather water means that girls don’t go to school and women struggle to find jobs that fit in with their household responsibilities.
Boys have a greater chance of going to school. But that doesn’t guarentee it. They may have to work to support the family. Whilst men travel to find jobs, generally in bigger towns and cities.
This is just life.
For us in London, this is hard to imagine. You wake up in a bed. In a house. With heating or a fan. You turn on the tap and there is water. You open the fridge and there is food. We complain that it is always cold, or grey, or raining.
Granted, rent is expensive, but jobs are available. They may not be jobs we want all the time. But they are jobs. There are almost endless opportunities to live a good life. At least if you have the right attitude.
One of the most humbling and noticeable differences?
In London everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is primarily looking out for themselves. We don’t take much time to look at our surroundings.
How often do we stop and value what we have?
We take what we have for granted.
In Isiolo and Meru everyone (or almost) was happy. They recounted stories of what life was like. How hard it had been. How they had come together as a community in these hard times and they are stronger together now.
They do not have much but they are grateful. They share what little they have, knowing it will make a difference.
If there’s one thing I take away from this week. It’s that I want to make more conscious decisions about how I live my life and how it impacts other people. I want to be grateful for the opportunities I have.