Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If I was born somewhere else... - part 1

Have you ever stopped to consider what your life would be like if you had been born in another country? Not just another state (if you live in the USA), but another COUNTRY.

Last week, I went to visit a friend who came to Colorado from Mexico. He and his wife just had their fourth child. Their family has struggled to make ends meet since they arrived several years ago. They live in a poor neighborhood, in an old house with only very basic furniture. Yet, he works longer hours than most people I know.

As it often happens when I am exposed to people who were born and grew up in developing countries, I stopped to think about what my life would have been like if I had been born in a poor village of Mexico instead of the town of Verona- Italy, if my parents had been migrant farmers instead of working in a bank, if I had had to work in the fields every day instead of attending private school and being able to go to college.

In the end, a lot of what we have is a result of the country, environment and family into which we were born. What if we had been born in a place and family which had no running water or regular food or would not have been able to send us to school? Our life would, likely, be drastically different.

It is a sobering realization, but there are millions of smart children and adults around the world that will never be able to achieve their full potential because of the circumstances they are in, for no fault of theirs. What contributions could these persons provide if they had the opportunity? Find a cure for a disease? Negotiate a peace agreement in a war-torn area? Win the world cup of soccer? Or simply teach at an elementary school and empower children to strive for a better future….

There is a simple but interesting website that gives a glimpse into what our life would have been like if we lived in any other place around the globe. Just pick any country you are thinking about and check out the few simple statistics presented. Here it is:

So, what should be thankful for today? Why have I been blessed to have hot water, a warm house and a job that allows me to have enough money to feed my children?

I will post a video-story about this subject in a few days. Stay tuned. :-)

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