Sunday, September 18, 2005

punching some numbers...

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?
- G.K. Chesterton

This week i met a woman with one eye. The other had been gouged out during a rebel attack during the war. Does she know she's still beautiful? I also met a 10-year-old boy who was a deaf-mute. Does he laugh? I met a grown man with no hands. Another victim of the rebels. How does he feel when his small child feeds him?

i am grateful that i can relate to chesterton. i love that poem, but it took on new meaning for me this week.

something else i've been thinking about...

the price of gas went up this week. it was 10,000 leones for a gallon, but now it's 11,250 (a substantial increase). the exchange rate is currently 2920 leones to the dollar. so... a gallon of gas here is $3.85 which doesn't sound much different to what many of you are paying right now i'm sure. HOWEVER, if you compare that to the cost of living in freetown, based only on how much the average person spends on food (because i didn't have time to check out all the other cost stuff...) figuring that the average sierra leonean can eat well on 2000 Le per day, and the average american can eat well on $6.00 per day (both of these estimates are more than adequate) .... that would be the equivalent of an american spending (drum-roll please) $33.25 on ONE GALLON of gas. rediculous.

it gets worse. everyone except the UN and the NGOs and the Lebanese business people have to take public transportation. the transport system consists of taxis (you know what those are) and poda-podas, which are essentially mini-vans with the seats yanked out, and benches welded to the floor. at full capacity a poda-poda holds 20 adults, but they can usually shove a few kids in there too. no joke. so i'm sure you can imagine that those beasts get awesome gas-mileage to begin with... :) well, because of the raised prices in petroleum, they had to raise the price of public transportation. it used to be 600 Le one way. now it's 700. makes sense to me that they would raise prices considering the poda-poda drivers didn't make much profit to begin with. so it's good for them and their families, but what about all of the people who have to take transportation to work and can barely feed their families to begin with? it's so crazy.

i don't have any solutions to this problem... i've just been obsessed with it for the last couple of days. i woke up thinking about it yesterday (the day after the price went up), and it mostly just makes me sad. but other than being sad, i am mad. i don't want to bust on america all the time, but there's something really wrong with the fact that we're paying $2.69 per gallon (9/18, circleville OH), and people who could survive on half of that are paying a lot more. i know that this is not up to the average, gas-buying american. i'm not holding any of you responsible because i'm one of you and i don't like to pay much for gas either... but i have friends in freetown too. friends who work hard and long and can't keep their heads above water. the issue isn't even gas, the issue is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. i don't see any justice in that equation. i somehow doubt that God sees justice in it either, and that's a lot scarier than putting up with one of my soap-box sessions!!!

this was really a fun and busy week, but it was hard too. i'm tired still and tomorrow is monday! pray for me! love and miss you guys. later...


Sarah Seaton said...

Hey Stephanie,
I just got your email and it made me miss you SO much! I knew Smore Pop Tarts would save you! :) I always take them with me when I go to Africa! Just wanted to say I love you and will update you soon. Actually, I just watched a video Jared Landreth gave me about Sierra made me think of you and how awful Omaha is without you! :) Love you...

jarabeara said...

sweet stephanie. i'm so glad that you're in sierra leone. we need more people like you in the world. you give me hope that there are people who have hearts...hearts that break for our friends, brothers, sisters...
sending my prayers and love your way.

Anonymous said...

Hi stephy-pooh!
I finally got on here and have read all about what has been going on! i'm soooo glad you are sharing your experieces this way, and you are doing a great job! i can almost pretend i'm there with you! anyway...can't wait to hear more! keep yourself safe and healthy! i'll be praying for you, all your good work and all the people you are touching!!
love and miss you!