Just a thought I've been thinking a lot about lately, what is normal?
A group that just recently visited MOH mentioned something about how tent cities and various things in Haiti seemed to become "normal" to them during their week long visit, and then commented on how absurd that was, that living in tents would be normal, that going to bed hungry would be normal, that drinking from an unclean water source would be normal. Right, it is absurd, to those of us from North America where Starbucks/Timmy's on every corner is the norm, where 3 bedroom homes with central air and heat is the norm, and worrying about gaining too much weight at Christmas is the norm.
I'm really not being judgmental at this point. When I was home I LOVED Starbucks, daily if I could manage to drive by one. This is just one thought that has stuck with me, because when I was in this debriefing with the team, I found myself agreeing with them, thinking "oh my gosh, this stuff has become normal to me! How awful that I have gotten used to the living conditions in this country." I felt guilty for not being able to fix every bit of hunger that crossed my path here, or for not bringing every sick child back to the mission until they were better. But with a bit more thought in the following days, I realized that this is very much the norm for the Majority World. Not that every developing nation has tent cities or all of the issues that are currently affecting Haiti, but I just feel like it's important for us as North Americans to realize that we are not the norm. Our way of life is not sustainable, and our standards of living are, I want to say, ridiculous. And I did.
I've had some understanding of this concept in the past, but I think it just slapped me in the face in a different way this week. Hopefully it helps you think about this as well.