Full of Hot Air

I’m not referring to me (this time), but to our house where the air conditioner has been on the blink for the past 7 days. It was leaking water and so we kept the temperature in the house about 5 degrees warmer than normal. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a huge difference, especially upstairs, where both our bedroom and my office are.

The repairman arrived this morning to fix it, and I’ve been happily listening to it hum, hoping for a quick cool-down more conducive to work and sleep. It’s hard for me to imagine on these hot, humid days how people lived without air conditioning.

Or how they still live without it. Or electricity for that matter. Or indoor plumbing. Or clean water. Or adequate food. But they do. By the billions.

Sunday night we heard a minister from Liberia speak about the needs there. It’s been 21 years since civil war broke out in Liberia, destroying most of its infrastructure. Even though the second war ended in 2003, 97% of the people have no access to electricity (so forget the air conditioners). Only 3% of the population has access to piped water; only 44% have the use of toilets or latrines of any type.

When it comes to maintaining their own bodies’ “infrastructure,” things aren’t any better.  Around 90% of the people have only one meal a day.

Things in some other parts of Africa aren’t much better. In today’s paper was an article about the drought in East Africa. Ten million people require emergency assistance to avoid starvation.

So while I am thankful for my air conditioner’s return to whole health, I am thinking about what I can do (or better yet, will do) to help those suffering in Africa meet their basic needs. Have any suggestions of favorite charities doing good work?



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