If it’s yellow-let it mellow, if it’s brown-flush it down

This was one of the rules where I stayed, near the Haitian tent camp last week. Although I was sleeping in a tent, I had access to toilets and to conserve precious water this sign was posted over the toilets. I admit it, I broke the rule a couple of times. I don’t mind peeing in a toilet already full of urine. But, I don’t want to sit and do #2 with any chance that a big one might make a splash–and the thought of all that urine in the water, hitting my butt…..OMG. So, I flushed  before and after #2. Didn’t feel too guilty about the one.

Kidding aside, what do you get by spending a week in Haiti? Of course there is some satisfaction in helping others. But more importantly I think that it makes you look at yourself: your situation, your goals, your needs in life, your ego. Things we take for granted, are re-evaluated for a while, and maybe forever if we are lucky. I can take a shower here, open my mouth and not worry if I swallow the water. I flush the toilet, every time, and I can put the toilet paper in the toilet, not in a trash can. I have all my belongings, in a home. I don’t have intestinal worms, scabies, and ringworm because I don’t have to live in a tent with a dirt floor.

Another blogger has talked about the pyramid of human needs. Many of us are very fortunate that we can work on ourselves at the top of the pyramid, our more basic needs are taken care of. And after talking to a friend, there was another perspective. It is somewhat relative, in that everyone can re-evaluate their situation and be thankful, even the Haitians I was seeing. Maybe some of them say to themselves, thank God I at least have this tent, that I had free medical care today, that I even survived the earthquake when my friends or family did not. We may assume that we are better off, but don’t we complain about our situation too? We complain about are jobs, the costs of food, the cost of gas, falling home prices, the price of an airplane ticket. I get that it’s different, but in a way, it’s the same. It’s relative.

Life is full of positive and negative. Always the polarity, one can not exist without the other. There is always a silver lining to the cloud, but sometimes it is difficult to see it in the midst of the storm. Maybe being a volunteer is sort of like handing someone an umbrella. It can help shift a perspective, and give hope-on both sides.

About Dr. Greg Meyer

I'm a homeopathic physician, an urgent care physician, camper, hiker, traveler, and photographer. After Microbiology & Epidemiology, I studied medicine and more recently have become fascinated on how homeopathy can actually cure disease, or better said-how it allows the body to actually heal itself. I'm available for consultations in classical homeopathy. Check my website for more information.
This entry was posted in Haiti, Medicine, the human story, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to If it’s yellow-let it mellow, if it’s brown-flush it down

  1. Melania Thompson says:

    Greg…I just want to tell you that I enjoy your blogs very much. You often give me something to think about! This one struck me because I really do believe that so many of us take everything we have for granted. I don’t claim to be ALWAYS mindful of how great I have it, but have to say that I am most of the time. Maybe because of the way I grew up. Maybe because I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to a lot of different places and see what it’s like for others in other situations. Maybe because I seem to have been gifted with a very large capacity for empathy. But, I often try to point out to people–in a nice way–that we really have it very good compared to many, many other nations. When someone complains about the cost of gas, I say “yeah, no one likes to pay that much, but at least we’re not paying the prices in Canada or England, and that we have nearly unlimited access to gas whenever we want/need it.” I think to myself (nearly EVERY time I take a shower) “Oh, I LOVE a hot shower and how lucky that I have one every single time I take one.”
    Our oldest, Corrie, is very involved with Engineers Without Borders, and has been working to get a safe/clean water source to a remote village in Panama for the last couple of years. She was telling me how difficult it was to explain to the villagers that what they were going to do for them was going to allow them to use the water and not get sick from it. She said they simply could NOT comprehend what they were being told because there was no one–not ONE person–living there that had NOT been sick with vomiting & diarrhea every single day of their lives. So, they could not understand something they had never known. To try to imagine not knowing that it was possible to be free of that blew my mind!!
    Sorry…feel like I’m writing my own blog here. lol But today’s entry really touched a chord in me. Just want to tell you I think it’s wonderful all you do. Thanks!!!

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