Hope and Healing

Heat Alert in Toronto!

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Occasionally I am challenged as to why Hope and Healing does not do more work in Canada. Usually people that do challenge me have a disability, or they are parents of children with a disability.

I know that there is poverty in Canada. I know that people with disabilities are often left out of community and forgotten in Canada. I know that even in Canada there is the double bind of poverty and disability – one causes the other and vice versa.

However, there is so much more available in Canada. One of the difficult tasks I have is to spend our trusted resources to impact the world’s most vulnerable. This is often a difficult task.

Today, driving into work and listening to the radio I got just another small example of extra care Canadians get compared with the developing world. Examples like this influence my task of priority setting. Let me explain.  

Toronto has declared a “heat alert” for today. It is going to get to 29 degrees. Yesterday the city of Toronto began heat foot patrols. These are public health workers walking through parks and along city streets making sure people are properly hydrated and not over-heating.  This is good care for the people of Toronto.

Let’s put this in perspective. I just got back from Kinshasa, a city much larger than Toronto. The day time temperature in Kinshasa when we were there was over 42 degrees with the humidity very high – around 85%. At night it “cooled off” to 35 degrees. There were no “heat alerts”.

People in Kinshasa would not believe that at 29 degrees the Toronto city patrols the streets and parks to see if vulnerable people are too hot or not getting enough water. In fact, most of the homes in Kinshasa we visited did not have their own water source at all. They would not imagine free and clean water being handed out because of the temperature.

This is not to besmirch Toronto or Canada. Again, I think it commendable that Canadians take care of their citizens as well as they do. I think this is just another example of why our resources in Hope and Healing have to be primarily focused on the developing world.

Things are just a few degrees sharper in Kinshasa over Toronto.