April 18, 2007


Filed under: — sbj @ 12:40 pm

I have a personal and business cell phone in my pocket, my 13 year old son has a cell phone as well, so does his mother. You would have to fill a room in Burma with over 1000 people to find the same number of cell phones (in Nepal you could do it with about 400 people and in Sierra Leone only around 200). My work cell phone is used so that I can be found no matter where I am within the building where I work.

I have (wireless) internet in my home. When I log in and search for wireless signals at my house I pick up 6 different networks (including my own and the school in my back yard). In India there are six (6) broadband connections (any broadband, not necessarily wireless) for every ten-thousand (10,000) people.

Right now I have two laptops (one is mine) and one desktop computer in my house. That kind of computing power would require 1 million people in the Central African Republic, more in Cambodia and 250,000 people in Indonesia or Vietnam.

I have a Landrover Discovery and a small pickup truck. It would take 100 people in Rwanda to produce the same number of motor vehicles, over 200 in Ethiopia or Nigeria.

I have a $65/mo. storage unit full of stuff I look at a couple of times a year.

I have a 1600 sq. ft. four bedroom house, for four people, but I am the only full time resident. In forced relocation camps in Uganda it is typical for 6-10 people to live in a 100 sq. ft. hut with no running water and no power of any kind. (You can make a difference on this one, if you want, check out www.invisiblechildren.com).

I have a full time job that pays me around $50,000/yr (right on the national average for per capita income) and other income that increases that figure. There are 2.4 Billion people in the world that make less than $1,000 a year, and only 500 million who make over 11,500 a year. The average per capita income in Vietnam, 2,600. The income from my full time job alone equals the annual income of 200 households in The Democratic Republic of Congo, 100 each in Liberia and Zimbabwe (more if you take into account my annual income from all sources).

In the past 2 months (winter months with no sprinklers running) I used approximately 6,000 gallons of water at my house. Last summer I used 22,000 a month. Over half of the households in the world do not have a toilet that flushes. One third of Thailand’s population lives in a region where less than 40% of the households have running water.

Oh, yeah… and I’m a tall white male. I have never lived in a culture that considered me inferior, inhuman or chattel. I have had nothing but expectations of success since I was born, and I live in a society created and maintained to bring these advantages to fruition.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I am an privileged person living in a privileged country and I am wasteful with and unappreciative of what I have.

I try to be appreciative, and I try to do good things with what I have. I donate water every two months on my water bill (if you use United Water they make this very easy to do, just take a look at the back of your bill). I do volunteer work in my community. I give a considerable amount of my time and money to charity work. With my writing, I try to represent those who cannot represent themselves (or I feel have been forced, by despair, futility and nihilism to stop trying). But at the end of the day… I am who I am… a privileged person, living in a privileged country, who is wasteful with and unappreciative of what I have.

This blog is part of my continuing effort to acknowledge and break free of the trappings that come with who I am.

When I see an opportunity to “do good”, I will take it. When I see an opportunity to fight against oppression I take it. When I see an opportunity to advance myself, I take it.

I will take those opportunities in that order, always taking the opportunity to fight oppression over the opportunity to advance myself, and the opportunity to “do good” before either of the other options.

This is my goal, and how I intend to earn the privilege that birth and chance have provided for me.

I am Soren Bech Jacobsen, and it is a pleasure to meet you.


About me… addendum

Filed under: Observations, Just life — sbj @ 7:46 pm Edit This

It has been brought to my attention that at times my writing could imply that I walk on water or am some sort of fantastic larger than life person. I assure you, I do not (except when it rains… but… then we all do, right?) and am not. I am a flawed person and I am very familiar with this…

Right now, as you read this, there is a very good chance that there are dirty dishes that need to be done in my kitchen (and they might not be from today!!!), laundry that needs to be washed in my laundry room and dusting that needs to do throughout the house.

Right now, as you read this, there is a pretty good chance that I’m behind on a bill that I somehow missed when I was paying bills.

I am in debt.

I procrastinate, fiercely… as though it was an advocation. Although, more often than not its a function of my horrible memory, but, it could be opined that if it were more important I would remember it… right?

I have been unfaithful.

I have lied (about the bout with infidelity, as well as other things).

I have tuned out my children because I was busy working, or emailing… or the game was at a critical juncture (this is probably my biggest sin, in my opinion).

I have interfered in the lives of people who did not ask for that interference, sometimes to their detriment.

I believe in leaving things better than you found them… for all of you who have left me better than you found me… thank you. For anyone I have failed to leave better than I found them, I promise to try to do better by you in the future.

I am an imperfect work in progress, but, hopefully, I am making “progress” the operative word in that statement. In the end, I hope knowing me, warts and all, will have been worth it.

a few other thoughts…

I am a full time tech support/IT staffer for the Idaho State Legislature and a part time business owner (online travel reporting for travel agencies; managementreporting.com) but what I really enjoy is writing. Hence this blog.

It is worth noting that I do not proof or edit my entires, they appear exactly as they roll off my fingers, so there may be spelling (although I do watch for red squiggly lines and fix them when I notice them. someday I will probably start another blog with carefully crafted and proofed entries, but right now I really enjoy the freedom of dumping my thoughts and hitting submit.

I hope you enjoy by blathering’s :)

Oh… this is me… on an Outward Bound trip a few years ago…

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