Over the last 4 years I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Africa twice. I spent numerous days meeting people in villages, visiting coffee farms, and driving around the endless dilapidated dirt roads. I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of people selling their wares at roadside markets. I’ve seen many men and women manually working the fields, with nothing more than a shovel and hoe they fashioned themselves at home. I’ve seen countless houses without roofs. I’ve seen hungry street children watch me eat from across the street, hoping for scraps. I’ve seen mothers struggle to feed their children. I’ve seen the hope in a mother’s eyes as I held her baby. I’ve seen children in villages that have absolutely nothing share a piece of hard candy with 20 other kids, each taking one lick at a time, wanting to make sure each of them got a taste of it. I’ve fallen in love with an amazing continent, with amazing people that struggle every day. I’ve felt a deeper love than I could ever imagine for people I’ve never met.
However, something recently occurred to me. Poverty is a choice. It’s simple. No one has to live like that. No one has to wonder where their next meal will come from. No one has to watch their child literally fade away in front of their eyes. No one has to go hungry. No one has to be thirsty. No one has to try to live on unsafe water. Or to try to fill their little bellies on mud pies.
It’s a choice. There’s enough resources on this earth to provide for everyone, right? It’s a choice. A choice to buy the extra pair of jeans. A choice to have that extra meal out. A choice to have that extra latte today. A choice to save just a little more money this month. A choice that I know I make every day.