By Lara Khosrovian

Source: Jonathan Cutrer

With some loops more bearable than others, 2020 was a rollercoaster of a year that we can all agree we would not want to ride again. The most prominent challenge of this year, COVID-19, gave us so much to reflect on. It caught us by surprise, tested our abilities to overcome a drastic shift in lifestyle, and oddly presented us with the priceless opportunity for growth and appreciation. It was not until life dramatically changed, that I realized how much I have to be thankful The countries and people that often escape Americans’ daily conversations were dealing with difficult circumstances long before the pandemic began. For them, hardship was not limited to 2020 or COVID-19.

Hardships such as a lack of clean safe water, weather-related disasters, and political unrest have been part of Nigerien life for years. Even before the pandemic, many Nigeriens were constantly struggling to survive with few resources. This disparity is important to remember as many people settle back into a more “normal” year and approach a more familiar lifestyle.

Last year provided me with new gratitude for my own blessings and reminded me of the many ways I can be of help, especially to those for whom a return to normal is anything but ideal. Here are a few small and simple contributions I’m considering:

  1. Recognize – Understand where I stand as an individual, the circumstances I am lucky to live with, and what that can mean with regard to my ability to help others.
  2. Educate myself – There is so much to learn about the countries that struggle to maintain livable conditions; people in wealthy countries have the power to empower those in developing countries to fulfill their potential by helping to ensure that everyone has access to basic human rights like clean drinking water.
  3. Share – Our wealth of resources enables us to provide for those who have less. Whether it be monetary donations, volunteering precious time, or spreading information, each of us has something to contribute.