The aftershocks of the earthquake in Nepal continue. Now there are at least 5,000 people dead. Many many more are injured and millions are impacted. Among the suffering and wounded are Canadians, desperately trying to get home and facing more hurdles as the airport is small, devastated by the quake, and operating sub-optimally. Hikers are stuck high up the mountains. Death and grief are all around.
For one of the first days in a long time, this news really hit home for me. I thought deeply about the lives of the people. I wondered how it would feel to be a mother living in a place where the school was no more, many kids had died, and teachers were gone. What would it be like to be sleeping outside in inclement weather?
This morning, while driving my teens to school, we listened to one more story of devastation in the wake of the recent earthquake. We were all silent as we heard about carnage and bravery. Many people were called to be their best selves, helping in heroic ways. I dropped the boys off with my usual “Mommy loves you” and realized that, yet again, I had willingly left two of the people most precious to me at a school that is at high risk for completely collapsing in case of an earthquake.
We live in a country of plenty. Our provincial government has just declared a surplus. And yet, seismic upgrading for schools of our youngest citizens, our future, has been sickly slow. We have the technology, the people power, and the potential funding to make our schools safe. Do our governments lack the political will? Have we, the citizenry, not spoken loud enough about the gravity of this situation?
As a parent, I feel sad and frightened that we are knowingly putting our children’s and youths’ lives at risk by the very act of sending them to gain an education. Why should we have to make that choice—between a good education and safety from the deathly threat of an earthquake?