It’s cold in Algiers at the moment, not quite snowing like it is in Chrea (pictured above) but it is wet and very windy and much colder than I remember it being before…so when my boiler broke a week ago it really was the last thing that I needed! It will hopefully be fixed soon but in the meantime I am sat huddled around an electric fan heater while wearing several pairs of socks, 3 cardigans and boiling up pans of water just to do the washing up….(I keep telling myself that I will never take these things for granted ever again but, I know that is probably not true as it is so easy to forget once the moment is over…) but it got me thinking about the people who live without the basics all the time, the ones for who the moment is never over, the ones like the family I was told about the other day who are currently living in two tents-just thin plastic sheeting protecting them from the thrashing rain and gailforce wind….. How ever does it get to that stage?….The choices we make? Surely no-one chooses to live in hardship and poverty do they?
I am frequently told that people can’t be trusted, that people always lie about their circumstances or at least exaggerate them. We rigorously check the details of all families before they are added to the list of those we help and unfortunately during the process have, on occasion come across those that are lying so yes, there are those that are dishonest but, I like to think it is a small minority rather than the norm. Besides, is it really fair that ALL people get tarred with the same brush? Like beggars for example, there are lots of beggars in Algiers. Some wave prescriptions asking for money to buy medicine, some seek sympathy and money because they are disabled in some way, women sit with babies and children with lost looks on their faces and there are also many refugees from Mali and Syria who appear to operate in groups…are ALL of these lying? With the average wage being very low, much lower than the cost of living some say beggars earn more than those who are employed.. like it’s a legitimate career option with zero start up costs or something. Do people really want to beg? whatever the reasons of the adult I know for certain that it is not the lifestyle choice of the child sat on his mother’s lap, or of the group of young girls that ask for spare change. I know, because as children they have no choice.
Assisting vulnerable children has always been one of our priorities but this year we plan to step it up a little and go beyond just assisting we want to help create happy memories for these children. Are you in? I hope so as together we can do so much.
Have a wonderful (and warm) week!