a wish for something better

This is going to go off-topic from my travel blog but I had to write this.

On Friday March 30th my mum sent me a message.

“Joy your cousin has passed away”

Joy was 22 years old, newly married with a little boy. She lived in a provincial area of a developing Asian country and she had no chance. From what little information I gathered, she became sick on Sunday and because the family cannot afford the hospital never brought her there until Thursday morning. It was too late.

I’ve had so many thoughts and emotions run through me since that message. Grief, shock, anger, frustration, guilt… so many. My parents decided to leave their home country in the mid 80s and moved to Sydney Australia.

I was born and raised in a country where I had opportunities to grasp whatever I wanted. I sometimes forget how lucky I am that I managed to do what I’m doing right now. Joy never had the chance.

You read about this happening. Millions of people suffering, dying because they don’t have food, shelter, education. I’ve always felt strongly about these issues of inequality and being completely honest I’ve never tried any harder than monthly donations to a few charities. It’s horrifying and terrible and scary that this happened within my own family – I’ve lived with the ignorant knowledge that my family would never be touched by these issues. Now that I’ve had a taste, I can only imagine what so many people suffer through everyday.

I’m so grateful my parents made the choice they did. Joy passing on just reinforces what I’ve been doing these past few years. I will not let my parents sacrifices go to waste – I will take every opportunity, every advantage to live how my family wanted me to live. And I will fight harder to make sure that everyone else in the world could one day, someday be able to have what I have.

I’ll leave with this TED talk by Leymah Gbowee – a great talk with a wish, a dream for a better life.