Bruce Knight: If you don’t … |

Bruce Knight: If you don’t …

To the Editor:

My daughter and I recently visited Ethiopia so she could be involved in a running camp there. While words cannot adequately communicate what we experience there, I’m going to try anyway. (No, we didn’t stay at the Hilton compound.)

Basically, in your home town, if you don’t see horribly deformed people dragging themselves around, if you don’t see beggars in rags (a lot of them children) working the streets, if you don’t see ratty dogs digging through piles of garbage, or have to avoid donkeys, horses, goats, sheep and oxen crossing the road, if you don’t have to sit around idle all day because there is nothing to do and even “brown bagging it” is too expensive for you, if you don’t see kids kicking around a balled up piece of paper pretending it’s a soccer ball, if you don’t have to carry food, water, or cooking firewood home on your head or back, if you don’t have to live in a hovel, if you even have that, if a bomb goes off in your city killing more people than Sept. 11 and the world hardly notices, if you don’t have to worry about polio, typhus, TB, and malaria or yellow, typhoid, or dengue fevers – oh yeah, did I mention HIV? – if you don’t have a hard time finding contestants for the Biggest Loser, if you don’t have hospitals that may be more dangerous to you than what ails you, if you don’t have to worry about whether you can drink the water coming out of your tap, (that’s even if you have one); then you don’t live in Ethiopia.

This U.S. citizen has had Ethiopia redefine the words “RICH” and “POOR” for him. Ehtiopians ask me embarrassing questions like, “Do you own a car?” “Well, yes, uh, I do, but actually I own three cars.” I didn’t want to answer any more questions after that one. The reality that I am spoiled you-know-what-less was slapping me in the face. Normally I detest telling people what to do, but I am going to make an exception now before Ethiopia starts fading from my memory. You should thank God (or your lucky stars if you prefer) that you “occupy America.”

Bruce Knight

Grand Lake

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