05 Feb You Can’t Help Where You’re Born
YOU CAN’T HELP WHERE YOU’RE BORN
It’s so interesting to me that something so completely out of your control can have such a big influence on your life. You can’t help where you’re born. It’s a fact of life that doesn’t require much thought. Being in Nicaragua has made me think about it more than ever before.
I’m currently staying in the city of Granada not too far from Central Park. I’m in an area that caters to tourists. Lots and lots of good food, options for different excursions, beautiful scenery, and nice hotels. Around here you’re able to walk to one of the hotels and use their pool for the day. You’re able to walk around town and feel relatively safe. You can go around the corner and get a nice massage or facial or mani/pedi. This was my first impression of Granada, Nicaragua. It totally exceeded my expectations.
A few days ago, during my volunteer assignment, we went into a rougher part of Nicaragua. It was a serious wake up call. People living in shacks, burning garbage, sick dogs running around, babies babysitting babies, etc. The living conditions were deplorable. The fact that most people here live on about $2 a day and have no choice but to leave their children to look after themselves under conditions like that is disturbing. How much sense does it make that there are ones in the world with more money that they will ever be able to use while others are living on top of garbage? The system that we live in just isn’t fair.
What’s even more unfair about it is that you have no control over the life that’s handed to you. You or I could have easily been someone born in a third world country (assuming that you weren’t). You or I could have easily been one of those living on $2 a day, constantly wondering where our next meal is coming from. You or I could have easily been one of those living on top of a garbage mound, constantly engulfed by the smell of burning refuse day in and day out. It’s a hard life to live but it’s not a life that they chose. You can’t help where you’re born.
Many argue that point with “you have to make a life for yourself. You can’t let your circumstances decided what kind of life you’re gonna live.” I totally get that. In life you have to work hard for the things you need and want. You have to be persistent. But what if you’re born into a life where there’s no way out? In order for someone here to leave to go the States for work for example, there’s mandatory paper work that has to be filled out. In order to get that paper you have to pay over $100. 28 Cordobas, Nicaraguan money, is worth 1 U.S. dollar. Now if the average person is making between 2 and 3 dollars a day you could see how that might pose a challenge for them. Well lets say they save up the money and decide to get the paper work anyway. They then have to provide proof that they have work in the States. Even if they do so there’s still a very high chance that they will be rejected to leave to go work outside of the country. So not only can they not leave to try to find better work but they also just lost over $100 filling out the necessary paper work. Pure insanity.
It’s terrible that people have to live this way and being here has really made me appreciate everything I have at home. It’s also made me realize how many unnecessary things I have. It doesn’t take much to be content and happy. Even though the people here don’t have much they have hope and each other. It keeps them going. The warm, genuine smiles on their faces and the fact that they are truly content with their way of life builds in me an appreciation and sense of gratitude that I would only have gotten from an experience like this. I thank Nicaragua for that. I can’t wait until the day when everyone will be equal and we all can experience true contentment and happiness. I’m sure it’s coming soon.