Many of us say while socializing, “I’m bad with names. I may have to ask you next time we see each other.”
That’s certainly the case with me. The truth of the matter, though, is that I tell people I’m bad with names because it’s easier for them to understand that than it is for them to comprehend my difficulty with faces.
And all of that is ironic because people are so important to me. The last thing I want to do is make someone feel they don’t matter or that I didn’t care enough to remember them.
I have been thinking about specific individuals, and what they must be named, lately due to my work. One of the newsletters I edit, UN Wire, covers events in the world that are of interest to people who follow the United Nations Foundation.
Every time I work on that newsletter (three times a week), I struggle to get my head around the sheer volume of people who are dying or suffering in our world.
Thirteen MILLION, five hundred twenty-seven thousand, eight hundred thirty-four human beings. The types of issues included being displaced, being food insecure, children who had been raped, women who had been raped, victims of Ebola, births among 10-14 year old girls in Guatemala, UN personnel and implementing partners who had submitted abuse allegations, people injured or killed due to cyclones, people held political prisoner, people displaced/killed in Burundi and Syria, education disrupted and more people living as refugees.
***end of five minutes***
I am preparing to participate in the Ration Challenge, during which I will eat the equivalent food as that eaten by a Syrian refugee for a week. I needed to have a name in my head to picture who this is for. It’s so easy to see the mushrooming numbers of people suffering and forget that every single one of those people is someone’s daughter or son.
I very unscientifically googled “name of a refugee in Syria” and came up with Elhem, a 17-year old who became a mother herself after marrying at the age of 13. She married her older cousin after she began living at a refugee camp. She says her marriage was “not a decision borne out of love or romance.”
I’ve joked around about how hard it will be to live without coffee for a week. I’ve send fundraising emails making fun of the fact that I rushed into this challenge without fully comprehending the “no sugar” and “no alcohol” parts.
But life for Elhem is no joke, and her name will motivate me.
*Note: If you would like to contribute, please visit this link.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.