Looking Beyond the Borders

By Mark Bettle, Hampton-Piggs Peak Partnership

Last week I read a post on social media that said, in Canada, the homeless go without eating; the elderly go without medicines; the mentally ill go without treatment; our troops go without proper equipment; and our vets go without promised benefits. Yet, we donate billions to other countries before helping our own.

Without doubt, many people in our country are going without proper care and deserve our help. But the “us or them” mindset is troubling. It is the “our country first” attitude that would have us build walls and say, “we will take care of our citizens, let others take care of themselves.”

That approach would work if every other nation was able to take care of itself; but, sadly, that is not the case. Canada is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and, as much as we would like to think it’s the result of our hard work and intelligence, it is largely the result of an overabundance of natural resources. There are many smart, hard-working people in underdeveloped countries that, simply due to a scarcity of resources, have no chance to come close to our level of affluence.

The rock star, Bono, has said, “Where you live should not determine whether you live.” Unfortunately, this is often the situation. If you were born in Canada, you have already hit the jackpot, enjoying access to the many benefits of an affluent society. There are certainly those Canadians who are poor and marginalized and need our help. But let’s not draw the line around our borders and dismiss inhabitants of other less fortunate countries who are unable to support themselves.

As a person living in Canada, you are probably reading this in your own house or apartment with heat, running water, and food in the cupboards or refrigerator. If you were born in Swaziland, you would likely live in a hut made of sticks and mud, getting your water from a nearby stream and cooking what little food you may have on an open fire. The country has been ravaged by disease, resulting in economic stagnation, widespread unemployment, and pervasive poverty. Some of the young people for whom the Hampton-Piggs Partnership pays school fees, receive their only meal of the day at school.

There are many organizations that allow you to help people within Canada that are worthy of our support. But that doesn’t mean we should NOT support those who don’t live in Canada. The Hampton-Piggs Partnership is a registered charitable organization that allows you to help a smart, hard-working young person who needs help because they were not lucky enough to be born in Canada. It’s as easy as making an e-transfer to hamptonpiggspeak@gmail.com .

Posted in Feature Story, Piggs Peak.