I was chatting with a friend about the progress we were making on our house/living situation the other day when I was interrupted by an eavesdropping bystander, “No water, no toilet, no heat! That’s insane!” this person exclaimed. “You are living like a refugee!”
Well, I have to say put like that it struck a chord with me. We don’t have running water or working plumbing (we do now have heat – as long as our meager supply of propane lasts). We have to haul water (and groceries) up the hill on a dirt road to our house because we can’t drive up it when there’s ice or snow or if the ground is wet and muddy. We turn around and schlep out our trash and recycling. We don’t even have trash pick-up. Or internet! And people thought we were insane! I could feel the resentment bubbling up – we shouldn’t be living like this in Middle America in the 21st century!
Ah but that bubble burst in moments. I know full and well that our circumstances don’t compare at all to that of a refugee’s. We might not have running water but we do have the ability to easily obtain clean water to use for cooking, drinking and cleaning. Maybe I still haven’t had my longed-for soak in a tub of warm water and scented bubbles but we can take showers at our relative’s house a couple times a week. We might not be able to park in front of our house but we have a car within easy walking distance to take us where we need to go. We have food. We have shelter that is sufficiently strong (assuming we remain tornado free) and weatherproof.
Unlike refugees we aren’t running for our lives, imperiled by war, plagued by disease and pestilence, preyed upon by criminals or in danger of being cast out of our shelter. And we are probably not the only people in America, even Middle America, who are living without some of the modern conveniences and amenities that we all take for granted. The Haitians camped in tents after the hurricane, the Syrians in a refugee camp in Turkey, the Central Africans fleeing their war-torn country – those are true refugees – we are merely experiencing temporary discomfort!