Working with as many underprivileged, under-resourced yet seemingly healthy kids as I do as an after-school program learning leader in Tacoma, I am reminded every day how grateful I am to be living in a country where all kids are able to access vaccinations, education, clean water, food and, more importantly, electricity.
Hearing screams coming from students in the after-school program when the lights are accidentally turned off makes my skin cringe. Almost immediately flashes of children in Africa attempting to learn in dark classrooms and the challenges they face because they don’t have electricity at home start happening in my head.
While the children I work with have access to what we here in the United States consider essentials, most children in sub-Saharan Africa suffer through schools without electricity and running water and have few school supplies. Many are also dying from preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea, the two leading killers of children worldwide.
Although I am passionate about education, I also believe life-saving equipment at health care facilities, a home free of toxic fumes, a safe street to walk down and vaccinations are essentials that sub-Saharan Africans should be able to access, too.
Seeing all the Seahawks pride throughout the streets of Seattle and Tacoma is humbling, however it makes me wish people would get as worked up about eliminating poverty, and the Electrify Africa Act, as they do about football. That would be a beautiful thing. After this weekend, let’s commit to being Africa’s 12th (wo)man!