Thursday, September 06, 2012

Cholera situation reminds me to be thankful...

I’m currently staying in a house with friends in The Netherlands while waiting for my return to Sierra Leone. I have a roof over my head that does not leak, continuous access to clean drinking water and good sanitary facilities. Meanwhile, the Cholera epidemic continues to spread in West Africa.

As of September 3rd, 15,834 cases, including 251 deaths, have been reported in Sierra Leone. All but one of the 13 districts nationwide are now affected. In Guinea, its neighboring country, 5,699 cases, including 109 deaths, have been confirmed. This is yet another example of people suffering and dying from a preventable disease. With rainy season continuing, chances are cases will continue to rise.

It is so easy to take things for granted. So often I worry about things that don’t seem to be going the way I think they should in life and I forget about the amazing blessings that God has given me. I forget how fortunate I am compared to those around me. Even in Sierra Leone, where I can’t drink water out of the tap, I can still afford to buy packets of clean drinking water from a shop nearby. At the same time, my neighbors stand in line to collect a bucket of unclean water from a standpipe, 10 minutes from my house.

According to Unicef, only 12.8% of Sierra Leone's 5.5 million people have access to proper sanitation, while 42.9% do not have access to clean drinking water; 28.9% defecate in the open. Who am I to complain?

Although I’m far away and can’t do anything about the cholera situation at the moment I can remember to be thankful. Today I am thankful for clean drinking water, a roof over my head and good plumbing (and good friends who have kindly let me stay with them for longer than expected!). Take a few minutes to name three things you are thankful for.

For more about the cholera situation, read:

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~