I am currently sitting in the lobby of a nice hotel. I hear a television downstairs (American Idol is on). Behind me is a beautiful balcony I am on a Mac. In the room my classmates are using iPods, iPads, smart phones…. There are tile floors and silk comforters on the beds. There is a pool here (supposedly). I fall asleep listening to my iPod and wake up to an alarm on my cell phone. I eat at a table with cloth napkins and fancy plates. I am served by hotel staff and allowed as many helpings as I please. I read books on my kindle on the bus. (Did I mention we take this bus everywhere? That we have a driver?)
Why am I telling you all this? Because I am conflicted. I don’t know how to feel about. I’m in a third world country. I visited refugee camps where the children can’t afford to go to school, wear shoes, or have clean clothes. Just outside the hotel grounds there are families that are probably not eating as well as I am.
Should I be living like this in a third world country? Is it hypocritical? Is it just of me to visit these places with fancy camera equipment and tell these people that I care and then drive away on a bus so I can go eat a buffet style dinner and sleep in my queen sized bed?
That’s the hardest part. The driving away. The driving past. I have driven away from families that have babies dying from malaria that they can’t afford medication for. I have driven away from children who can’t afford to go to school. I have driven away from people who want me, need me, to help them. I have driven past children dressed in rags on the side of the street. I have driven past families living in small dilapidated grass huts. I have driven past people who are suffering.
I have driven past, driven by, and not once have I helped. Am I just another “tourist” who is abandoning these people? Will I go back to my comfortable home and beautiful school and forget about all the faces I have seen?
This post has been many more questions than answers. When I find them I will definitely share but for now that is what my head is filled with. Questions. Questions without answers. I am feeling overwhelmed by the medley of emotions within me.
I will make this video and I will be a witness for these people and a witness to their stories. But is that enough? Couldn’t I do more?