This morning I packed up some clothes and things for the next week and will be house-sitting for a board member.
I will be taking care of chickens, cows, horses, dogs and a cat. It’s been really nice so far.
I spent some time playing with the animals and then ended up resting and reading most of the afternoon. The sky got so gray and stormy, and we ended up getting a little rain.
In the chapter I read from the book, Half the Sky, it talked about the amount of women who have fistula after childbirth. Many women in the world—particularly in Africa—aren’t able to receive proper surgery, and end up dying.
-Right now the amount we Americans spend on maternal health is equivalent to less than one twentieth of 1 percent of the amount we spend on our military.
-The World Health Organization estimates that 536,000 women perished in pregnancy or childbirth in 2005, a toll that has barely budged in thirty years.
These figures are introduced in the book between firsthand stories of women who suffered from this. Women who were abandoned by their husbands and their families; women who were put in a hut on the outskirts of their village. One village community even went as far as removing the door to the hut, in order for the hyenas to come a dying woman after she gave birth.
It’s really heartbreaking to read these stories and know that so many of these issues are still taking place in the world. How fortunate am I to have been born in a country where you can receive decent health care services, and a trip to the doctor or hospital is simply a walk down the street. A trip to the hospital for others isn’t just a walk down the street—it can be a walk across their country, down unsafe roads that leave them even more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
I am so grateful I have been given the opportunity to travel to some of these “faraway places” of the world; to be able to witness and experience some of the struggles firsthand. Too often a study abroad these days can be a European adventure past tourist traps and through the pubs of France, England, Italy, Spain etc…But a more valuable study abroad experience can take you much further outside of your comfort zone than that. If done right, it will shed light on issues in the world and open your eyes to problems you can’t erase from your mind. Problems that are worth your time and energy to fight for.
So someday, I will return to these places, and do all that I can to give back. I may not be able to change the world on my own, but helping individuals is a start.
As my eyeballs begin to close shut for the night, so does my laptop screen.
Good night, all.