KATHMANDU, Nov 8: Coming from a country with hours of power cuts, water issues, food hazards and countless other problems of a developing nation, the material delights of the United States certainly fascinate every youth. And so was the case for me, too. Not to have to worry about the daily necessities of life was indeed a relief.
But it also brought into light the fact how the States misuses power it has that the people of the nation like ours only dream of.
Coming back to Nepal for my summer break after nine months in a typical college in the States gives me the chance to give an unbiased criticism on things I observed, things that didn’t seem fair to me, and things that I could hardly do anything about.
My Mom still doesn’t let me leave my seat at the dining table unless I clear my plate, and I bet it’s the same for many families. Growing up in a culture where leaving food on the plate is considered a sin, we all developed a habit of not wasting food.
On the other hand, seeing almost every single student in a college in the States leave a whole plate of food that looks untouched is definitely heartrending. Seeing a pile of food being thrown away near the dishwasher in the cafeteria always makes me feel only if there was something I could do about it.
Unfortunately, there’s little one can do when it comes to intervene in a whole system of donors, the college’s obligations to the food company, and many other unseen limitations.
There are countless other instances that show how the society they grew up in made them so reckless and things that they take for granted. A place that can afford to have motion-censored lights at every single place still has many places (buildings in colleges) where the lights were never switched off, be it night or day.
I’m tired of turning off the taps and showers all the way round in the girls’ room everyday! Sometimes I feel like, seriously, why do you need to leave the tap open the whole time you brush your teeth?
Working on campus also made me realize how much paper the administration uses and wastes. Isn’t Reduce and Reuse the primary steps before Recycle? Why show your fake concern by advertising that your school recycles when you’re just wasting more resources to recycle things that you necessarily didn’t have to use in the first place?
It’s not an individual’s fault but it’s the society that has molded people. Does abundance naturally incline one to devalue and disrespect things that they already have?
It escapes me what gives people the liberty to act as if the world is generating infinite amount of resources just for them to use or waste regardless of bitter conditions in several other parts of the world. Is it better to live in a society like ours where we learn to meet our needs with the little that’s provided, or have everything you need but not understand how blessed you are? I really don’t know, but it would be great to find out the right balance between meeting one’s basic needs and appreciating them at the same time. But it may be naive of me to expect such a perfect balance keeping in mind the monopoly of the “so called first world nations.”
The writer is currently an undergraduate student at Providence College in the United States.