Friday, October 22, 2010

Not the longest week, but close perhaps. Rich people problems.

In a week consumed by business, my thoughts wander loosely from friend to friend.  A fellow I love is going into the hospital here for surgery; it'll save his life.  In the Ukraine, a friend's mom is in the hospital, but they can't figure out what's wrong; she's failing.  Here, my wife and daughter have their favorite doctor; me too, but he's a different one.  In Sao Tome, most of them won't know a doctor.
She was quite ill, we discovered in April.

In Africa, my friends won't even meet a doctor unless someone takes them to the hospital.  Here in the states, we get annual checkups for things like blood pressure and chemistry, screenings, prescription renewals.  They don't do things like that in Africa, mostly.  Marilyn was admitted to the hospital here a couple of times this fall.  Surgery and some follow-up care.  Expensive, but insurance covered most of it.  Great care, though.  My friends in Africa just die, usually.

Took her to the hospital, then the clinic.
Photos are of a girl we've known for a couple of years; the instigator among the teens that kidnapped me back when.  In Jan, we discovered she was quite ill and not being treated.  Took her to the hospital, then the clinic, then the pharmacy, paid for the medicines.   It was the equivalent of several month's income for a local family.  She's doing well, now.
Healthy & happy again.

So when I find myself struggling through a difficult task at work or tired at the end of the week, I'm reminded that I have a job.  I have health care.  I have two cars and a house and food and a grocery store down the street with dozens of kinds of everything.  I get paid well for my work, more for a day's effort than my friends get paid for a month.  Or three.  My problems are 'rich people problems' my wife reminds me.

My African friends, on the other hand; their problems are real and not easily resolved.

The company I work for is modern, aggressive, image conscious; they do humanitarian work, but they're careful to get credit for it.  They took tentative notice of the things a couple of us have been doing in Africa where we work; scholarships, family rescue, micro-business capital, nutritional assistance, health education.  I told them that for $20,000, they could take all the credit and publicity they wanted.  I need about $50K for the next 5 or so years of work we'd like to do in Sao Tome.  I'd be glad to put their company logo on the effort if they'll pay the bill. :)