06 June 2013

Lately, I have been feeling overly sensitive to the pain that is ever-present in our world.  Poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, racism, sexism, war.  Living in Saudi Arabia, I do feel like I am confronted with these issues on a daily basis.  I have a very high standard of living, but all around me I see people struggling.  Just last night, I was at the supermarket talking to my favorite grocer and he said, "You, are happy today!  You have two days off (today is the start of the weekend)."  And I said, "Yes, it will be nice to relax a bit, won't it?"  And he says, "I am sure it would be, but I work tomorrow, I work 7 days a week."  And I said, "Wallah (really)?"  And he said, "Wallah."  

This is not the first time that I have heard of such unjust working conditions.  What really gets to me, though, is that millions of people- Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, and Filipinos- leave their countries to move to the Middle East because life is better here than at home.  Some of these people even end up living their entire adult lives abroad with wives and children back at home.  Families that they get to see once a year, if they are lucky.  The world shouldn't be like this.

I don't mean to be depressing and I don't think that pity helps anyone.  It seems that positivity and a focus on one's strengths is more supportive, but I think in order to acknowledge and appreciate the good, you have to fully take in the bad.  Look at it, stare at it, take pictures of it, and ask questions about it before you make your judgements.  Think of a way to turn it into something beautiful and magnificent.  


  1. I know. I was so sad to learn that the young women who worked at the front desk at my apartment had little toddlers at home in the Philippines. So depressing that they will miss seeing their kids grow up!

  2. Sometimes we forget about the things other people are going through especially when you live in places like Abu Dhabi. You get so caught up in your own comforts and tend to forget everything else.
    It is really sad. I met a taxi driver whose sister had suddenly died and he couldn't go home to help his family take care of the funeral or to even grieve with them.my heart almost broke for him.

  3. Here in KSA, I feel much more in-tune with the woes of the world than I would, say, if I was living in the US. Here, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is very very apparent. All you have to do is talk to the people around you to hear hardship. I suppose all expats are in KSA for one reason, though, to stay for a little while and then leave with savings and the possibility for a better lifestyle. Some people just have to sacrifice a lot more than others and that doesn't seem fair.

  4. Very thought provoking, I was feeling a little down, a bit jealous maybe of others that have even more than the ridiculous amount I have. Thank You for the reality check.