Is Suffering Relative?

Is SufferingIS SUFFERING RELATIVE?  Over the past couple of days, I have received very nice comments following a few of my posts expressing concern and sadness for the conditions that my friends in the Azawak endure.  I am grateful that your heart has been moved.  Mine certainly was moved 12 years ago when I first visited the Azawak, and still is today as @ammanimman works to make life saving changes in the region.  And yet I’ve come to understand the suffering of my friends there differently.

Most of these people have never been exposed to other realities.  The older folk can compare life to the past, when the climate was friendlier, and the rains provided an easier existence.  But younger generations have only yesterday to compare with today.  They know that the dry season is harder than the rainy season, but generally life is the way it is, and its always hard.

Since they do not know that there is another reality, they do not compare or want for anything else.  They are happy with what they have, and with their love and trust in God.  In fact, their faith in a higher power helps them accept most things.  For instance, I have met mothers that have lost more than half of their children.  They grieve, but they believe in God’s will.

On my end, while I believe in God’s will, I also believe that those of us that have the power to make this world a more beautiful and pleasant place to live for all of humanity have an obligation to do so.  As an outsider, I know that there is no reason for this tremendous suffering.  There are sufficient resources on this planet to go around that no one should die of thirst or hunger.

No mother should have to bear the pain of losing most of her children. No child should live in a village infested with fleas, and only take baths during the one month rainy season.  Everyone should access quality health care and education.  I’m an idealist.  And while my friends may not know what they are missing, I do.  So I will continue fighting to bring them the pluses in life that may give their child the chance to not only survive, but thrive.