If you were to ask Walt, I'll bet he'd tell you that I watch just about every program on television, or at least as many of them as I can possibly fit in in a day's time. (If you were to ask Jeri, she would roll her eyes.)
However, today I found a program that I simply could not watch. It's on the new Current-TV channel (which is where you find Keith Olberman's new Countdown program) and it was called "The World Toilet Crisis." The documentary centered on places in India and Indonesia where there are no toilets and people just squat...wherever. Lake, river, field, gutter. The smell was apparently so overpowering that the reporter is shown vomiting into the field. The word "shit" is used. Frequently.
I actually recorded the program because I want to go back and watch it, hopefully with less retching on my part.
Why do I want to watch a program which I know is going to be disgusting and which may send me running for my own indoor plumbing? Because this is the way a lot of the world lives and while we sit in our air conditioned homes, with our big screen TVs and our microwaves and our washers and dryers, I think it's important that we become aware of the human condition in other parts of the world.
One of my sponsored chidren lives in India. Another lives in Indonesia. As I watch this program, will I be seeing how they live?
I watched the videos which were taken by the Compassion bloggers who recently visited the Philippines. Some of those videos were very raw and difficult to watch, seeing whole families crammed into one room the size of this tiny little office of mine, with no plumbing.
We need to care about the plight of people living like this to prevent us from becoming complacent. I just canceled my Mozy membership today. It's the automatic back-up for the files on your computer. They recently more than doubled the monthly cost and reduced the number of files they would back up. Each month when I paid the bill, I stopped to think what that money would buy for one of my Compassion kids. I was throwing it away on the off chance that some of my photo or music files might get destroyed. Crazy. Canceling Mozy will allow me to send a special birthday gift to one of the kids when his/her birthday rolls around. And that certainly will have a bigger impact on one small corner of the world than whatever peace of mind having a Mozy back-up would give me.
I need to watch "The World Toilet Crisis" and think about my kids living in those places and to realize how important it is to care. (And while I do I will be very grateful that nobody has invented "smell-o-vision" yet.)
The young woman at the left is the newest member of my Compassion family, Murugi. She is 19 and is from Kenya.
Murugi is one of three children who have no mother and apparently the father is not in the picture, so they live with the grandmother, who is "sometimes employed as a farmer."
Murugi attends college and I hope that when I hear from her for the first time I will learn more about what she is studying.
Because of her partnering with Compassion (through someone else's monthly contribution) she has this opportunity to learn. She receives nutritious meals and gets regular health screenings.
Most adults in her area are unemployed, but the lucky few who are employed earn about $18 a month, just slightly over what Mozy was asking me to pay to keep my iTunes tunes from being damaged.
It helps to put these things in perspective. I stand in the supermarket and try to decide if I want the single ply or double ply toilet paper, do I want the extra fluffy roll or the smooth roll. Do I squeeze the Charmin or not?
And then I need to think about people living in areas where the only toilet they have is the same river from which they get their cooking water, where the "toilet paper" may be a handful of dried grass.
It makes it easier to cancel my Mozy acount.