Youth Ambassador Esther learnt valuable lessons from the children she met.
Visiting Ethiopia opened my eyes to so much in this world. Something that really stuck with me was the sheer difference in the number of possessions of so many families we met in Ethiopia compared to what I have here in Australia.
Some of the children I met didn’t have what we in Australia would consider enough for a good quality of life, while here at home I have more than I could ever need.
Burtukan was a seven-year-old girl we met who you might have also met through the 40 Hour Famine clips. She's a tiny girl with a smile that lights up the room. She invited us into her home and was super excited to show us everything she and her family had there.
She showed us literally every object in that home, and it only took her about two minutes.
Here was Burtukan, being able to show me everything her family owned in such a short time, when I can’t even list all of the things I have in my bedroom, let alone all the things my family has in our home.
There was just such a contrast between Burtukan, for whom every object in her home was cherished and looked after, and what life is like in Australia, where we buy new clothes or games not necessarily because we need them, but because we want what’s new right now.
Surely there must be some middle ground, where Burtukan’s family can have more blankets so they can be warm at night, and we in Australia don’t buy so unnecessarily?
We went to a primary school supported by World Vision and again I realised how much there was to learn from the kids we were meeting.
At the end of our visit there we gave out balloons to some of the prep kids we had spent time with. In Australia, kids who get a balloon will blow it up, tie a knot in the end of it, play with it for a bit until it either pops or ends up forgotten.
But when we gave these balloons out, the kids used a piece of thread to tie them up. That way, when they were finished playing with it they could untie the string, deflate the balloon and keep it for another time.
I realised at that moment how much I was taking for granted in Australia, and how much we have to learn about looking after our possessions.
It’s very easy to see the differences between life for many in Ethiopia and life for young people in Australia. But it is important to recognise our shared humanity.
Talking to Burtukan’s mum about her hopes for her daughter brought out the same love and support as if someone were to talk to my mum about her hopes for me. She just wanted the best future possible for her child.
In doing the 40 Hour Famine, we get to take a moment to get a tiny insight into what it might be like to have to go without. It can be 40 hours in which we are reminded of how privileged we are, and empowered by the thought that we can use that privilege to help communities like Burtukan’s.
Do something real. Register to do the 40 Hour Famine today.