We’ve been in Colombia for two months now. And our salsa dancing had come a long way!
But instead of a note about that, we wanted to share a note about compassion. Because while life is temporarily hard for some of us, life is always hard for many of us.
Obviously, the whole world changed recently when the world began talking about contagion, deaths, stockpiling of toilet paper, “flattening the curve”, and difficult decisions that doctors have to make about who to save.
Before this latest Coronavirus crisis, I was planning on sending a note about the Venezuelan refugee crisis. We hadn’t realised until arriving in Colombia that Venezuela’s economic collapse meant ordinary people’s bank balances were basically reduced to zero, and that 3-4,000 absolutely penniless economic refugees were arriving in Colombia EVERY DAY, their life savings wiped out because of power-hungry, incompetent dictators.
Colombia is the last country helping Venezuelan refugees. Why? Because Colombia remembers what it was like to go through hard times — just ten years ago.
Many of us (not everyone reading this) have had our life savings, 401Ks, pensions and so forth slashed by 50% at least once in our lives. Maybe again, soon.
But we’re still infinitely richer than every Venezuelan or Syrian refugee, or anyone else who’s had to give up everything, including the certainty of staying alive, to try to get something better (or less terrible) for themselves or their families.
Life is temporarily hard for anyone in the developed world unable to do grocery shopping, travel, or go outside.
But life was ALWAYS hard for many people who can’t move around freely in Gaza or the West Bank, for people escaping brutal civil war in Syria, for those escaping a state that completely collapsed in Venezuela, or for Iranians living under an oppressive regime. And many others — some of them right near you.
Life was always hard (in different, unique ways) for most women, most people of a minority, most who are mobility or mentally impaired, and most people identifying on the LGBTQ spectrum.
So while life becomes hard, think about that. And be grateful for the roof over your head that doesn’t leak, a pantry that will suffice even if we can’t get our favourite chocolate, running water, the option of a hospital, and the freedom to complain about it all online.
Let’s not ever forget that many people will never have those things, and remember to share when we can.
Dana & Jo