After a long day, I usually like to stretch out on the couch and hope that falling asleep for a nap comes easily. I like some ambiance when I’m relaxing so I usually put something on TV. Today, I thought I’d finally get around to watching Tales by Light on Netflix.
I like photography and I like human stories so I thought it would be a perfect fit. And, it was. What I wasn’t expecting was my emotional response. By the end of “Children in Need Part 2”, I could barely contain myself. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’m actually working for.
“What tragedy has befallen this world! What kind of bullshit am I really complaining about? What can I do?”
To watch children, as young as or younger than the students I teach, polishing aluminum, lifting 50 kg bags of cement, and fishing through lakes of garbage in search of discarded plastic, was heartbreaking. Children are mining with only a headlamp to light the way, like some twisted satire of Zoolander returning to his roots. These children are supporting families that live closer to train tracks than I’ll stand away from the edge of the platform at a subway station.
These are children. Children.
How has the world become a place where Elon Musk can add nearly 150 billion dollars to his fortune during a pandemic, and about one-and-a-half million children in Bangladesh are wading, barefoot through shit – fecal matter – to get to work moulding rubber balloons?
Who am I to say anything? I’ve been worrying about my mental health because the task of waking up in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto to go to work ten feet away, in the den, where I sit on a Tempurpedic desk chair and stare at a $3000 computer, complete with hundreds of dollars worth of peripherals, is too arduous.
Simply thinking about changing the world has little impact if you’re trying to make a difference.