Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

-Ethiopian Proverb-

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just the Facts!

No news on the referral front as of today, but I thought I'd take a few moments to relate some facts about Ethiopia. Sometimes I get stuck in the typical westernized, spoiled, materialistic, and consumerist mode of thinking, so I use the following facts to give myself a reality slap!

Did you know that in Ethiopia. . .

5 million children are orphaned, and over 1 million children are orphaned by AIDS?

1 out of every 7.7 children dies before the age of 1?

There are 3 doctors for every 100,000 people?

Fewer than 1 out of 4 Ethiopians have access to clean drinking water?

The average life expectancy is around 49 years of age?

Over 78% of the population lives on under $2.00 per day?

1 out of every 6 children dies before their 5th birthday?

These startling statistics are sometimes difficult to wrap my head around, but I believe that it is important to remind myself that I am in the very fortunate minority of the world's population because I have access to unparalleled wealth, opportunity, and standards of living. Sometimes I find myself struggling with feelings of guilt for what was a happy accident of birth, and sometimes I believe that I was born where I was because I am meant to learn to become a more selfless human being. The discrepancy between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is wide in this world, and so often I see people living their lives unaware of this concept. My future daughters are about to be endowed with the same privileges that I enjoy on a daily basis, but I constantly question what will become of the children who are left behind. International adoption only saves a few thousand Ethiopian orphans annually; what about the few MILLION who do not get adopted? Personally, the call to assist the Ethiopian population will not end when we bring Laurel and Willow home; their adoption will mark the beginning of a lifetime of joyful giving to the people of my daughters' country of birth!

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