J.K Rowling wrote in one of her books that a time may come ‘when we have to make the choice between what is right and what is easy.’
This year I found myself facing such a choice when God gave me the opportunity and the calling to work as a volunteer in East Africa with Tearfund ICS. Being 18 years old and having just finished school I found myself trading my comfortable life at home (and my University place to study Social Work) for life and work in Rwanda.
For me staying at home would have been easy, but despite the raised eyebrows from friends, family and teachers I knew that the decision to go was the right one.
As I am writing this looking over an awesome landscape of hills and valleys, (Rwanda is true to its nickname the ‘Land of a thousand hills’) I find myself also looking over what an amazing but challenging few months it has been so far. There have been many ‘hills’ from fundraising to farming – something I am very new to – but God has been faithful every step of the way and has shown and taught things to my team that you can never learn in a classroom or lecture theatre.
We have fallen in love with the beautiful country we have had the privilege of living in and even more so with the beautiful people who we have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with. But at the same time our hearts have been broken for this country and its people. Rwanda is developing at a fast and impressive rate but there is still a long way to go.
For many people in Rwanda they do not have something which we take for granted- a choice.
Due to lack of funds many students do not have the choice to study in school or university. In the UK we have a choice of medical treatments, facilities and specialists when we are sick, but here many do not even have access to healthcare. Children still have to carry water for up to 10km, they do not have the choice of tap water or bottled water, for many clean water isn’t even an option. But you have heard this all before, we all have.
We are continually bombarded with heartbreaking stories, facts, and statistics to the point where we can become numb to them. Yet our world is still suffering, the issues we hear so much about still exist. But what can we do? What can we actually do? For me it’s very simple. For me it comes down to one word: Choice.
Ending poverty, ending forced labour, ending modern day slavery is a choice, a choice that we all have to make. The decisions we make in our day to day lives affect the world that we live in. The clothes that we wear, the food that we eat, the products we consume as well as the money and the time we spend determines the fate of countless people around the globe. So what can we do?
On the back of our team t-shirts there is a quote stating ‘Challenge yourself to change your world.’ That is exactly what I want to do. I want to challenge us to change our world. It is easy to bury our heads in the sand. It is easy to live in our comfortable bubble. But I want to remind us that there comes a time when we have to make the choice between what is right and what is easy.
What choice will we make?