17 May 2010

An Inspirational Letter

Below I am including the email letter that my Program Letter sent me and the 9 other girls in my group a few days after we returned from Morocco after that fateful trip in 2005. I hope you can see why it was inspiring to me at the time, and still!


So, as program leader (hey hey), I don't feel it is my role to tell you what to do now, but instead to go and do something, whatever you may be moved to do. All of you have wonderful ideas and the true challenge is to avoid falling into an apathetic space where the world appears to be this gigantic pile of shit and there's nothing we can do about it. If the world indeed is a big pile, we happen to be the ones sitting on top, and luckily we have access to shovels. Alright, the analogy sucks, but my point is that each one of you can do something, whether that be telling your little sister Jenny or writing an article for the school newspaper.

Other things to find out more about could be the things we consume, whether that be food, clothing, toys, games and whatever else you can think of. If they're made in the Third World, why do we have these things and they don't? By buying these things am I supporting the economy of a starving nation or am I supporting a system that intentionally exploits the Third World so that I can buy affordable shirts at Zara? Once again, I don't have all the answers, only my own ideas that may be different from a lot of yours.

Only a few days ago, all of us walked through a tiny village, through the mountains, and arrived at a house where we spent the afternoon with a Moroccan family. Remember that although the family we spent time with has a bathroom and running water, most of the families do not. Few families have refrigerators. Most have a solar panel that supports one or two light bulbs at most. Every adult we met at that home besides Abdo is illiterate. Fortunately all of the kids we met have the opportunity to go to school, but remember that villages 10 miles or more into the mountains with no roads also exist in Morocco leaving it considerably more difficult to receive an education. And Abdo, one of the first persons from his region to get a college education, is now facing unemployment and struggling to find a way to put his skills to use.

To put our experiences into a global perspective:
-More than 50% of Africans live on less then one dollar per day.
-115 million children on this planet are not able to go to school.
-20% of the population in developed nations consumes 86% of the world's goods.
-Western Europe and the US spend more money on pet foods then all countries of the developing world combined are able to spend on basic health and nutrition.
-Less then one percent of what the world spends every year on weapons would be needed to put every child into school... and yet it does not happen.

So, like I said, the first time I went to Morocco, I had an overwhelming experience and came back to Spain feeling like there was nothing I could do about all the problems I saw. I know that all of us have different "change views" and I can only speak for myself. And although I don't see flowers springing out of all of the shit tomorrow, I do think that some of the things I'm doing could eventually make things improve. Hopefully some of you feel empowered from the trip, and if some of you don't, talk to each other about what you've seen and what you can do. If you've gotten this far in the email, word. You're all wonderful people. Big smiles.