blog posts from GYC's participants, alumni, & staff
By Logan McLean (USA)
Imagine living in a world where your every move is monitored. You can’t even leave your neighborhood without getting special permission. The possibility of finding work in order to provide for yourself and your family is non-existent; you depend completely on others for a daily ration of food and water, of which there is little variation. Although this alone is sufficient for frustration, you also find that you do not have access to a library, electricity, Internet, privacy, and comfortable living conditions.
Can you imagine being happy in such a place? Does it sound a little like prison?
These are just a few of the conditions one would find in Kiziba camp, a refugee camp located in a secluded area of Rwanda. I have been in the beautiful country of Rwanda for approximately two weeks now and learning about the conditions of this camp has been one of the most unsettling experiences for me. Any human being deserves better treatment, but no one more than a refugee. These people are fleeing persecution and find a home completely devoid of life within the refugee camp. No one would choose such an existence unless their life was threatened, such as these people. The testimonies I have heard lead me to believe that these rights are being blocked. Much more can be done to allow these refugees to access their rights, whether it be more humane living conditions in the camp (because these are people, which we seem to have forgotten) or ready acceptance of these people into new communities.
By my definition, life is worth living if you are able to share it with others, decide for and express yourself freely. It seems as if the world says, “never again” whenever crimes against humanity occur, but we never take the time to truly make a difference when it counts. The moments that matter can even be found in the mundane—we don’t need to wait for something extraordinary! In fact, those are the moments where we transform the world. We need to wake up—as individuals, as a community, as a nation, as humankind—and see what injustices occur around us everyday. We need to see ourselves in those that are suffering—literally identify ourselves—for it could have easily been us. We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into the apathy of daily life when we know the road only leads to regret.
So I challenge you to take a step back from your life and discern where you have personally grown indifferent to the injustices you walk by everyday. Figure out why you’ve grown cold and then take a step, no matter how small, toward justice. Didn’t Martin Luther King, Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela do the same?