Nicholas Kristof | June 24, 2014 | The New York Times
READERS often ask: Why do I travel to places like Sudan or Myanmar when we Americans have so many challenges at home to worry about?
As Janessa put it on my Facebook page: “Shouldn’t we take care of the issues within our own borders BEFORE we try and fix everyone else’s?”
It’s a fair question, and it comes up often now. We’re weary with the world, and so many humanitarian problems seem insoluble. We’re ready to turn inward.
Yet perhaps an encounter last month in Myanmar on my annual “win-a-trip” journey, with a college student in tow, can help answer the question.
The winner of my contest this year was Nicole Sganga, a 20-year-old Notre Dame student. One day, we hiked into the remote village of Yae Thay, far from any road, and we met a woman named Sajan, also 20.
We stopped and chatted, meeting her children and talking about her aspirations. Nicole and Sajan are both bright, hard-working and fun-loving, and they got along well. But their lives could not be more different — a reflection of the lottery of birth.