We are approaching Thanksgiving, and even though I’m jumping the gun a bit, it is a good time to reflect on just some of the things we as a society often take for granted, some of the things we don’t even think about in most cases.
This is not a column about my life, I have too many things to list here that I am blessed with. That is another column for another day.
A trip to a foreign country a few years ago made me realize just how blessed the society we live in really is.
I am often reminded of this when I turn on water at my house or anywhere else in this country. Clean and safe water is literally at our fingertips at the instant we want it.
If some of my friends in Honduras saw this they would simply be awestruck. They get one supply of water in a tank, not running, each week. The animals, babies and adults use that water for everything.
Trust me, the first time you see people and cattle drinking from the same source where a child was just bathed, as an American, it leaves you with a dropped draw.
The same is true when you see sewage flowing in the streets, in yards and other public places. Americans mindlessly flush, not thinking of the next step in the process. Here it is safely gone.
Often, when our dedicated law enforcement officers pass me on the road, I am also reminded of my trip to Central America. Here, we trust our county deputies and local officers to take care of us and in almost all cases they do.
They respond whenever and however they are needed, often during hours when the world around them is asleep.
We all assume, correctly, that they are merely a phone call away. It is doubtful even the phone is available there. The same applies to our fire, rescue and other first responders.
In other countries, citizens fear law enforcement. The hosts on our trip strongly discouraged us to walk the streets without a local escort. My father and I tried and were quickly rebuked. The fact is, being an American in many countries makes us targets.
The reason is that many police officers are corrupt. A foreign citizen does not want to end up in a foreign jail. This happened recently in Honduras and it took pleas from the highest level of our government to get an American citizen who meant no harm out of jail. It is probably safe to assume that behind bars there is not the same as in one of our modern facilities.
We don’t think about just how lucky we are to have an infrastructure of roads here in America. As my friend and driver in Honduras said, the roads there are “muy mal” which is translated as very bad.
Speeds of 70 mph on straight interstate highways simply don’t happen there. Two-lane roads with large potholes are the norm. Trips of an hour here take double that time, if you’re lucky, in many places in the world.
My purpose in these words is only to point out things most of us don’t even think about. When we reflect on our blessings during the upcoming holiday season we will think about the obvious things, our health, family and other personal things that in other parts of the year we take for granted. I only think we should look at the bigger picture.
This picture shows amenities and luxuries that are only dreams to citizens in other parts of the world.
Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at (910) 230-2038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.