Reflection from Orant's Support Team in Texas

Texas was recently hit with a devastating winter storm. Many people lost power and water. We bundled under blankets in cold houses trying to stay warm. Burst pipes damaged homes and property, which will be costly to repair. Texans are receiving energy bills in the thousands. Much like in Malawi, the poor bear the worst repercussions from unexpected disasters. 

In the US, many of us feel entitled to electricity, WiFi, and a hot shower. Last week was a wake-up call. Many homes in Texas had no running water. Or we had running water, but our water was contaminated. We had to boil it before washing our hands, drinking, or cooking. It was an inconvenience, yes. But it was temporary. In so many Malawian communities, clean water is still a 30 minute walk or more away. 

Because of the power outages last week, pharmacies and doctors in Texas were closed. People weren’t able to access medicine or treatment if they were sick. This, too, made us empathize with our friends on the other side of the world. People in Malawi can live an hour’s walk or more from the nearest medical center. Too often, centers have a limited supply of medicine. A trip to the doctor can take an entire day and might still end with no prescription. 

Last week’s winter storm devastated much of our state. We send our deepest sympathies to all those who suffered worse than we did. Our experience invited us to reflect on why we’re doing what we’re doing. In other words, why we live in the US, but work to support those in Malawi

We live in a global world. We share one planet. And our planet has limited resources. In the US, most of us benefit from those limited resources. In Malawi, most don’t. It is an important time to ask: What do we have? How can we share? How can we create a more equitable world? By asking these questions, we challenge our own comfort and complacency. We tap into a deep and irrefutable connection to others. Such questions invite us to act not from a place of self-service, but from a place of empathy, compassion, and community. What happens when we allow our hearts to extend beyond borders? Who do we become? 

The Orant Journal