The choices we make.

I arrived back home late last night, safe and sound after a gruelling 36 hours travelling. It felt good to be back in my own surroundings and I didn’t take it for granted when I sat down on my sofa and wound down from the previous 12 days working in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. I hit the sack soon after arriving home, pretty certain that if I could get to sleep, it would be a peaceful and uninterrupted sleep. I woke early this morning, feeling surprisingly refreshed and awake and ready to face the day. The kettle went on, a cup of tea was made and I sat reading a letter that had arrived in my absence. This was all done in peaceful surroundings, enjoying the moment. I showered, washed my hair and walked my friends dog, all before 9am. I walked down the canal, enjoying the cool breeze and spots of rain. Rain on my face makes me feel alive and after a few dark weeks this year anything that makes me feel alive I am grateful for. I kicked the autumnal leaves, stared at the full rainbow and breathed in the cool morning air. You may wonder why I’m writing about my seemingly mundane morning. That it all seems rather normal and you’d be right, that is a normal morning to me. However this morning I thought about every choice I made, all the variants I could have chosen to do. I could have had coffee instead of tea, chosen to skip the shower and head straight out on a walk. I could have sat in front of the TV with the heating on, hands wrapped round a warm cuppa or curled up with a book. Numerous choices and options. 

Now to one of the people I met during my time in Kutapalong refugee camp. Nour Islam is 22 years old and is a mazih in one of the areas we set up our clinic. A mazih is a kind of leader of an area of the camp, having a degree of responsibilty for those living within this area. He assisted us by making sure that patients we referred went to the correct hospital, he knew everyone and knew who needed our help. Nour Islam was born in Kutapalong refugee camp 22 years ago after his family fled Myanmar due to persecution. All he has ever known is that camp, day in and day out. He told us he has been out of the camp on a few occasions over the last 22 years, only within a very small area and always with permission of the local ministry. He fears for the future of the camp with the recent influx of refugees and is concerned that they won’t receive enough food. He would dearly love to be self sufficient and not rely on aid. Simply put, this isn’t an option in Nour Islam’s life. He has choices he can make, but they are not like the “simple” choices we make on a daily basis. I feel incredibly lucky this morning with the sun streaming through into my kitchen, the door open, the radio on and a cup of tea at my side. I have choices, big ones and small ones. I can choose to live the one life I have. I can choose to be grateful for the life I have and the choices that I am able to make on a daily basis. I choose to do this because there are millions of people around the world who don’t have these choices. But that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. They do. Be grateful for the small things and be grateful for the choices you have. Some people don’t have some wealth. ️

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