Monday, May 17, 2010

Continuous Pain

Continuous and excruciating pain, that was just the way this man lived. Because he was working with American troops in Iraq, this man was kidnapped and horribly tortured leading to a life of constant and almost unbearable pain today. In addition to his own suffering, numerous other members in his family were kidnapped and or killed as a response to his work with U.S. military.

While visiting with this man and his family at their home on the opposite side of the city, it was evident that his past suffering and traumas were the least of his worries. Within the first few months of arrive to Jordan, his family's entire savings was stolen. As it can take an immense amount of time after registering with UNHCR for families to begin receiving cash assistance, this often puts families in a very uncomfortable financial situation in addition to the already mentioned physical and psychological struggles so many of these families must overcome.

With no savings, only recent cash assistance, and rent and medical expenses stacked against him, this man was under a great amount of physical and emotional stress as well as recently being informed of his family's threatened eviction from their home. This is where CRP comes in. While there are an infinite number of needs each family would like us to fill, it is Sasha's ad CRP's job to come to these families' homes and perform the general assessment I mentioned in my first home visit in order to prioritize all of these necessities. After spending several hours with the family and learning about their situation both past and present, CRP decided to give this man enough money to pay his past due rent. While this financial assistance served more as a band-aid rather than an actual treatment, it was a problem that required solving before any of this family's other issues could be addressed.

As I spent most of my life testing and learning that giving people money to solve their problems tends never to reach the actual cause but only to aid in solving a person's most short-term needs, I now understand the other side of the coin. As one of my teachers has said to me several times, "money doesn't make you happy, but it will buy you all the things that do". Not only am I beginning to see that this saying holds true in many situations, but that it is actually refreshing and helpful to think and assist those around you when viewing a problem or set of circumstances from this perspective. While many of us would like to think that money is not what solves our discomforts and lessens our struggles, there is no way around it. Happiness, however, is a very indirect and relative concept. It is indirect in the sense that it money does not immediately lead to happiness but that it makes possible a stable situation in which one often finds happiness. It is a relative concept suggesting that while happiness for you and I may be having the financial capability to buy the newest iPod or a two story house, happiness for others is often merely the security that comes with having a roof over your family's head and enough food and water to keep that family alive.

Understanding that happiness is both indirect and relative, it is the simple quote mentioned earlier that put my mind at ease when CRP decided to hand over a large amount of money only to solve one man's immediate needs.

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