320 million people in Africa do not have access to safe, clean water.
I’ve heard that ignorance is bliss, and knowledge is power. I believe that knowledge also holds potential for heartache. When we are aware of suffering in the world, such knowledge presents us with a choice: ignore what we see or open our hearts to feel others’ pain. Once that choice is made, we may either continue living as we always have or do something about the pain we have seen.
More than likely, you know someone who was affected by hurricane Harvey or Irma, and maybe you have even been personally affected by one or both of them. More specifically, maybe you know or you are one of the 118,000 people who lived without water in Texas. Maybe you or someone you know experienced the panic of the possibility of living without water in Florida. I’m willing to bet that your heart ached when you witnessed or experienced the suffering caused by these recent tragedies in America.
The reality is that hardship is easier to ignore when it affects someone we have never met who lives in a place separated from us by miles of ocean. My challenge to you and to myself is to refuse to allow our ignorance to bring us bliss while it brings pain to others.
In no way is one person’s hardship in Africa more important than that of a person in America, or vice versa, and in no way do I intend to undermine the suffering of those impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I am calling on us all to be willing to open our hearts to the pain of others, both in America and those living in Africa without access to clean water. We are no longer ignorant. Our knowledge has given us power. Now, let’s do something about the pain we have seen.