Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Are you there, world?

I suppose what I want to do for a while is just tell a few of the stories I know. Just because they're being ignored, and they shouldn't be. We shouldn't act like someone's suffering doesn't matter, doesn't affect us. Or at least I don't want to anymore.

A few days ago I was talking to someone I know in Guatemala, about the violence and crime, and things like that. It's more horrible than you can imagine. I suppose I will try to tell anyone who is reading most of these stories, but to be honest it's really hard. It's so horrible that even I don't really want to talk about it that much. It's scary to think that these things, these nightmares, are some people's reality. And that I know these people.

One of the most unbelievable things I was told was regarding the Public Health Service (IGSS) in Guatemala. There, most people who can afford it will have a private health insurance. Although there is a public health insurance that covers all working citizens (I guess it comes from taxes, I have never lived as an adult in Guatemala so I haven't really had a reason to fully understand the system), but it's unreliable to say the least. Doctors don't earn much so they don't really care about the patients. I mean, you have to understand what life in Guatemala is really like. You can't sit comfortably in your first-world problems and judge the doctors for not caring. Everyone is frantically trying to survive. It's like a zombie apocalypse movie. "Everyday, I see my husband off to work. I wait in anguish by the phone until he calls to say he made it to the office. Then it's his turn to worry when I leave the house." I was told.
Can you imagine that? Honestly not knowing if you're ever going to see someone alive again. Every single day.
That's life, you know, so you do what you have to do, to survive. It's almost animalistic.

So there's not enough money for medicines and supplies, and the doctor's don't give a shit about the patients, so to save money, they stop testing donated blood for disease. As a result, countless people have been infected with a variety of disease, even HIV. Because the hospitals of the IGSS stopped testing the donated blood for disease. I have this story on good authority. How can something like this actually happen in the real world?

I was also told that some families were told their newborn babies had died during birth, when in fact the babies had been taken for human/organ traffic. I don't really believe this one. I mean, it's sounds taken straight out of an urban legend or something like that, not real life. Could something like this happen in Guatemala? I suppose it would. I suppose we could believe it. I don't really know. I think at least the blood story should be investigated. Do we have any reason to believe in the integrity of an anonymous doctor over the word of a person from another profession?

I want to do something but I can't even begin to think of a way to help such a helpless, abandoned, hopeless place as my country. Is that why no one even tries? Maybe there's nothing to be done but look away.
I still feel like we should at least try to help.
We can't just let all those people live and die like that, can we?

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