I have often wondered how my life would have turned out had I not had such a stable upbringing. Even though I grew up in an underdeveloped nation, where poverty is rampant and political instability is the norm, I pride myself in having a boring life. Aside from my never-ending fight with seasonal viruses, I am healthy and I am safe.
The thought that 24,000 children die each day because of preventable causes, as UNICEF confirms, infuriates me. We live in times where we can get shots against cervical cancer and yet we cannot provide the children of this world with clean water. I am saddened every time I see the picture of a malnourished child from Africa, for example, when children in the U.S. are diagnosed with obesity.
Yet my plight is not political, it is moral. “I think it’s absolutely terrible that they never had the opportunities that I have to grow and thrive,” junior Jil Staszewski said.
Unfortunately, I grew up seeing children begging for food on the streets as normal. Most of these children eventually become drug addicts, mostly because they are hungry. They do what they can to earn a few Cordobas, the Nicaraguan currency. I often see them in parking lots and next to street lights selling crickets and roses made out of palm leaves their parents taught them how to make.
Even though not all children are malnourished, an overwhelming majority in rural areas are. “Seeing their upbringing makes me grateful and appreciative of my life,” Staszewski said.
This is not a fundraising tactic either. I do not wish to depress you with stories which might make you feel uncomfortable. I am trying to explain my reality and what is waiting for me back home. This is simply a friendly reminder of the inevitable fate of children in the Global South.
“There is no shortage of food or anything else in the world,” freshman Mantaa Thinlay Lhamo said, “just a shortage of people who care enough to allocate it where it is actually needed.”
We ought to be responsible world citizens and be informed of what goes on in the world.
On Monday, April 19, at 8 p.m. in the Taylor Little Theater, UNICEF-MC will be hosting Invisible Children, as they give a presentation on the atrocities committed to the children. As an advocate of children’s rights, I would like to encourage you to attend this event to learn more about how children are affected by war-torn regions in Africa.