3-13 Media Storms and Tragedy

At this point, no one seems to have a clue about what has happened to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

We genuinely don’t know. This is uncomfortable. In our current era of instant communication, we’ve gotten used to being able to know anything. Even if we don’t have facts memorized we know how to find those facts and how to double check the facts to make sure we have them right. (Granted, this could be done a wee bit more often, but still, we know how it works.) We might not know how to lay a row of bricks or juggle four balls but we can YouTube it and find a helpful video with all the basics. We can look up weather forecasts, stock predictions, and election results around the globe.

So the idea of not knowing what happened to an entire plane? That’s bizarre. Our phones have GPS, our cars come with GPS units, and we use mapping software to get the grocery store. We have made a hobby of using satellites to guide ourselves from our front door to a specific oak tree. We can get directions from Minneapolis to London (it involves swimming). But somehow, all of our radar, satellites and GPS are failing us. We don’t know where the plane is, or even where it was last spotted.

It is our human nature to tell stories. We’ve told ourselves stories about how the world was made, why that man cheated on his wife, where our clothes come from and what motivates the chicken to cross the road. We are good at creating stories. We just aren’t good at creating true stories. As the information available from MH370 becomes less interesting, we’ve started creating stories.

The facts are unclear, and the situations is shaky. Instead of saying simply, “We don’t know,” we are choosing to speculate. The speculations don’t help. They give false hope to the families and further muddy the already muddy waters about what happened. They make a chaotic, difficult situation into something that looks like intentional misdirection.

Much of the news coming out to the public seems to be meant to hit a deadline, not relay reliable, factual information. Often, when the facts aren’t interesting enough, they get jazzed up with crying family members, ringing cell phones and stories about unstable co-pilots or other nefarious plots. This constant news stream has created the need for a team of professionals to monitor the currents of politics instead of the currents in the ocean. There are people devoted to quelling the fires started by public speculation. Imagine if they could spend their hours working on finding the lost plane instead.

This is a tragedy for families who are now missing a mother, a brother, an aunt, a son. The people left behind are grieving, angry and hopeful. They are in emotional turmoil of not knowing what happened and hoping against all odds that their loved ones survived. This is not a circus show, this is not entertainment. This is not to be sensationalized for the nightly news. This is a tragedy.

Let’s stop making hourly updates and instead say honestly, “We don’t know.” Let’s use this as a learning experience in how to improve international cooperation efforts. Let’s reflect on our expectations on the unknown. Let’s take time to grieve with the families.

2-4 The “Real” Deal

I’m tired of hearing people say a given city isn’t the “real” insert-developing-nation-of-your-choice. Stop it. It isn’t true.

If I said, “I only went to New York, but that’s not the realAmerica,” you would laugh at me, right? Because New York is America, its only a piece of it, but its American. If I said I visited the Great Plains, New Orleans, or Portland, you’d say the same thing. You might say, I had an incomplete view of the US, but you wouldn’t say any of those places are not “America.” So, why do people insist on saying that Phenom Penh isn’t the “real” Cambodia, or that Luang Prabang isn’t the “real” Laos, or that Port Vila isn’t the “real” Vanuatu?

I’ve heard this statement over and over, both in living and working in Vanuatu and while traveling. Most recently, I read an article about Luang Prabang (where we are at the moment). The writer said this isn’t the “real” Laos, because it is full of tourists. Here, tourism is an up-and-coming industry. Luang Prabang and Vientiane are the latest cities to make the informal Places To Go list for SE Asia. Saying that this isn’t the “real” Laos, is saying that all of the people who live and work here are not Lao, that their lifestyle is not Lao and that the industry they are working to grow and support is not Lao. Which is fundamentally untrue. They are Lao people, living in Laos, thus they are the “real” Laos. It is a city based on culture, religion and tourism. If I must put labels on it, I would argue that this is the “new” Laos, the Laos that the Lao people are working to build now.

I’ve noticed that when people refer to the “real” country, they mean the places where poverty is most apparent. They mean ripped clothes, manual labor and overcrowding. They mean cultural experiences that aren’t Western. They mean the place that looks like a National Geographic magazine or a save the starving children ad.

In Vanuatu, people said the “real” Vanuatu is land diving, or kastomdance. They pointed to men wearing penis sheaths to work in the garden or women in grass skirts weaving mats as being “real.” And all of those are Vanuatu. They are a piece of the culture and that cultural history is something that Vanuatu is grappling with today. But Vanuatu is not just that. It is a nation where 50% of the population is under the age of 25 and where the generation in school is predicted to be educated for almost twice as many years as their parents. It is a nation discovering cell phones and 3G internet and using both to expand their tourism opportunities.

When someone says, “This is the real place,” it reflects more on their expectations of what they wanted to see. For myself, I am not interested in my own expectations. I can examine my own expectations in the privacy of my head. I am traveling to experience the country, to see the tourist sights and the workers in the fields. I want to see what was before and what it is becoming through the eyes of the people who live and work in the country. To me, the real Laos is as much the coconut madeleines I ate at the night market as the noodle soup I had for dinner.

Countries and cultures are not static, they are not simple things to be summed up in a few photos or a weekend experience. People are complex. People can both follow tradition and adapt to change. Countries are made up of people, and are every bit as complex as those people. The “real” country is what you see before you, not what you’ve made up in your mind that it should be.

5-11 On Aging

Beautiful oldfala at the Blacksands Market

So, I have like 6 back blogs to write. And a bunch of photo things to do. But instead, I’m going to write a non-cultural, non-event related blog because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming in the near future.

There are so many products that offer to remove wrinkles, save your skin, blah blah blah. I’m not interested. Maybe I’m saying this because I’ll probably go gray in 2 years, (My mom’s hair did. She’s had white hair more or less my entire life.) but I like to think I’m saying this from some deep seated wisdom and compassion for the aging masses.
I am proud to wear the impact of my life on my face, my hands, my skin, my hair. I am proud of the things I’ve done with my life, so I am proud of how it shows on my body. If smiling is going to give me crow’s feet, I welcome them. If sunlight is going age my skin, turn me into a mummy.
Youth is beautiful in the way that a blank page is beautiful. It is full of potential and possibility. It hasn’t been marred or scarred by a mistake. It is simple and beautiful in that simplicity. But staring at a blank page for hours looks a whole lot like writers block, not like literary analysis.
I hit my hand with a bush knife in February of 2011. I went to Brisbane and had surgery on that hand. It was kind of traumatic. Now I have a scar under my left thumb that will forever remind me of Vanuatu. I am proud of that scar because it is more than just a slip with a bush knife. It means I have a story about joining the Peace Corps and my life in Vanuatu. Wrinkles are the same thing, just written over a lifetime of smiles and worries.
The way our lives mark our bodies are the outward signs of the changes we’ve gone through. They are the loss of youth but the process of gaining wisdom. We may not be free of mistakes, but the lines in our faces show what we’ve learned.

I will add as a caveat that I am much less fond of the ache in my torn rotator cuff, how slowly my bruises heal and a my new found inability to recover from hangovers.  Those are not signs of mistakes I’ve learned from.  If I’m still getting hangovers, I’m really not learning my lesson fast enough.

PS – I passed the 300 blogs mark!  Whoop!  That’s gotta be worth at least a cookie!

6-19 Teenagers are Dumb

It has been an eventful week, which more or less boils down to, “Teenagers are dumb.” Especially boys. Let me explain.

Jason’s host family consists of Mama Marie-Jospeh, Papa Ronald, Sisters Colette and Tari, and Brothers Kevin and Etienne. (Don’t ask me why Tari goes by her kastom name and no one else does. That is in the great mystery of naming around here.) The oldest is Colette who is in 11th grade, the next is Kevin who is about 14, then Tari who is 11 and Etienne who is 9. They are fairly well spaced and their parents made the choice for Ronald to have a vasectomy afterwards, which I think is awesome. Hurray, family planning!

Back in January, Kevin and I had a conversation about condoms. Due to the imprecise nature of Bislama – all of the pronouns are covered up in the word “lo” and all the possessives are covered in the word “blo” — we had a bit of a misunderstanding. Rather, I misunderstood how inappropriate he was being. What I heard as, “May I use your condoms?” and interpreted as a request to go get condoms from the Aid Post, was actually, “May I use condoms with you?” That is a very different question, to which the answer was a very firm “No” and a discussion of appropriate behavior.

Let me sidetrack for a moment. The word tawi means ___-in-law. Calling someone by their title is more respectful than using their name and, if you follow strict kastom, your direct tawi of the opposite sex should never use your name. So, Tari can call me Lala or Tawi but the boys can only call me Tawi. The same goes for me speaking to them. Furthermore, a man or boy is not allowed in the house of his sister-in-law without her express permission, they are not to look directly at each other and really shouldn’t speak to each other outside of a large group.

So, aside from the utter ridiculousness of being asked to have sex by a 14 or 15-year-old-boy, Jason’s brother was also breaking a huge cultural taboo. He and I agreed that if he didn’t say anything inappropriate again, I would let it go. I believe in second chances and he’s just a kid. Since then, he’s come by to get help fixing his bike tire and things have been fine, I just make a point not to be alone with him. I don’t need to invite the awkward, I have plenty of awkward as it is.

Last week, we had visitors. Nancy, another PCV from my intake group, and her friend came to visit and watch landdiving. The first night they came, she and I were sitting on my front porch chatting. Kevin went running up to the nakamal and five minutes later running back down to come story. No surprise there, visitors are a huge draw.

He hung around while we cooked and he and Jason had a conversation about Nancy. Kevin was “romantically interested.” Jason said that it wasn’t going to happen and that his approach was not appropriate. He asked point blank if he could have sex with Nancy. He continued to hang around as we ate, took turns bathing, brought in the laundry, did the dishes from dinner and were getting ready for bed. Finally, it got to the point where we couldn’t ignore him anymore. Jason and I agreed that I would go deal with him, this time.
He and I sit on the veranda and chat. The conversation started like this,
“Is Nancy married?”
“No, she has a boyfriend.”
“Can I have sex with her.”
“Because she has a boyfriend?”
“Yes and No. That is an inappropriate question and you can’t have sex with her.”
“So, can I have sex with her?”
“Because she has a boyfriend.”
“No, because I said no.”
“So, can I have sex with her?”

It kept on like that even after I asked him if he was deaf, I pointed out that his continuing to ask this was shaming me and him and Jason and finally I said that I was going to get mad if he asked one more time. We got onto the subject of how to ask appropriately. My mistake. I tried to explain that sex is not the first thing that happens in a relationship. First, you should story and get to know each other, then you start to fool around and finally when you are very serious about the person, you start having sex. (Personally, I’m all for pre-marital sex, but for a 15-year-old in a country with a 60-80% STI rate, I’ll tell him sex before commitment is bad.)

He then twisted my words around on me. He said we were storying now, to which I agreed. Then he asked if he could “hold my breast.” To which I said No. And lectured him about inappropriate questions. I went inside and told Jason, who quite rightly got mad at him. Looking back on it, if I were trying less hard to be a good teacher and educator, I would have told him off and probably should have. As it was, Jason yelled at him and kicked him out of the house with the injunction to not come back until he is invited.

Five minutes later, he was at the fence singing out to Jason. Teenagers are dumb. He asked Jason to not tell their papa because he would, “slit his throat.” Beating as a common form of discipline here, but I don’t think their papa would go as far as slitting his throat. Still, the point was made to Jason and I that he would probably get beaten, which puts us in a really uncomfortable position. Do we tell people and know that Kevin will get beaten for it, or do we let Kevin get away with completely inappropriate behavior?

When all else fails, ask someone you trust. Jason went to Lalbateis to get our friend Wata at 6 am the next morning. He explained the situation and asked for advice. Wata said they needed to go to the chief, who was one of their papas. They went. They explained the situation again. The chief said they would fix it in the nakamal that night.

We went about our day and in the afternoon found out that Jason’s papa’s boat had broken on a stone in the night. The seas were rough and the drive shaft snapped when the motor came off the boat. He got the motor working again but still has to buy a new drive shaft. He was not in a good mood. They decided he should drink a shell of kava before they told him.

Before we even got to the evening, three young men and two women had come to ask us what happened. We were stubbornly sticking to the line that we would fix it in the nakamal in the evening. They were disappointed that we wouldn’t gossip.
In the nakamal, everyone was waiting for things to happen. Jason’s papa was late but finally had a shell. Then he came over to tell Jason about the boat. Then he told me about the boat. Then he had a moment in which it was only he and I on the bench and he immediately asked me who did what at my house last night. He tried extremely hard to get me to tell him, going so far as to say that if I didn’t say who it was, then next time no one would listen. I think its like the “boy who cried wolf” thing. They wanted to know who to shame to keep it from happening again.
Finally, Wata and the chief took him to the side and explained the situation. By that point, I was done with kava and back at the house but Jason stayed in the nakamal. Once the whole thing was explained to him, he came and talked with Jason and Kevin for a long time. Jason talked him out of beating Kevin over it, but Kevin get yelled at for about an hour by his papa and yelled at for awhile by two of his other papas. He also has the tawi rules fulled invoked for me. He isn’t allowed even inside the fence without my express permission and he isn’t to speak to me. I’m ok with that.
Really, my community came down hard on him, given that all he did was talk. I think that is good and sends a very clear message. I wouldn’t want to see him beaten for being a stupid boy, I don’t think that’s fair, but he also can’t get away with things like asking over and over and over or being inappropriate to me. In my mind, the greater issue was not respecting the initial “no” about Nancy, not his asking to grope me.
Boys are dumb. I’m becoming only more convinced there is only enough blood to power one head at a time.

10-14 Further Evidence that Homosexuality is Universal

There are no gays in Vanuatu. That is the official line from the church and from the general populace, at least in public. The reality is slightly different. There are some out gay and lesbian couples in Vila, though they are few and far between. In fact, the only ones I know of are ex-pats. There is no access to “gay culture” here, the movies they watch are things like Jet Lee and Terminator, which rather lack in gay characters and they don’t have the internet on the island.
There is a boy near me who would be FLAMING in the States. He falls directly into every stereotype of flaming teenage boy you can find, even ones that don’t fit the culture here. For instance, here, talking to someone of the opposite gender is grounds for mockery and marriage. He hangs out with all the girls. He has a soft, high pitched voice and is totally limp wristed. During sport time, he plays volleyball with the girls instead of soccer with the boys. He runs like a duck. (Jason and I help teach sport.)
Let me relate a few stories from the other Western teachers. They were marking papers in class and as a treat for good behavior, the teacher told the students that they could mark with any color pen (normally, they are limited to red, blue and black ink). He immediately whips out a hot pink pen and starts waving it around the classroom.
They are working on persuasive essays in English class at the moment. This is both a challenge to their English and to their ability to think outside the box. One of the topics given was, “Students shouldn’t have to wear uniforms.” His opening to his essay went something like this, “The question is not whether or not students should wear uniforms, it is what color the uniforms should be.” (I cleaned up the English.) The color he wants the uniforms? Violet.
On a less happy note, he also wrote an essay about how England is better than Vanuatu because you can be who you really are and not have to hide anything. We knew what he was talking about, but I’m not sure about the other English teacher. He is the nephew of a nun, the kind of nun that asked a Jew what her religion forbids her from doing. She would not take kindly to being told he is gay.
I am more convinced than ever that not only is being gay or straight not something we as individuals have control over, we don’t even have control over the cultural expression of our sexual orientation. Where else would this kid come from? He is just so flamboyant, I can’t believe they think he’s not gay.

8-23 Entitlement is a Dirty Word…Or is it?

In my pre-Peace Corps vocabulary, “entitlement” was a dirty word. It was used to describe a mother who thought her child deserved good grades by virtue of being her child or the man that thought his son’s skinned knee required an ambulance. I used it to mean talk about feeling justified into deserving something, when that something hasn’t been worked for. My relationship to this word is changing. Entitlement and empowerment are two very powerful concepts and I’m grappling with how to teach them in a healthy way here.

By virtue of being conscious beings on this earth, we are entitled to basic human rights: food, clothing, shelter, education, pursuit of happiness and health care. By virtue of being citizens of a country, we are entitled to government services including: postal service, health care, education, the ability to pursue business, and responsible governmental oversight of the country.

These entitlements are not happening here. There is a gap between the rights and the reality.

For instance, there is a pressing need for effective education, not just rote learning and memorization but critical thinking skills and student-centered education. It is not being met, partially due to the lack of facilities to train new teachers, so people with no teaching background or experience are being pressed into those roles. When I’ve asked people here about it, the response is lukewarm. Sort of a, “Well, I can’t change it, so why bother.” We didn’t have medicine in the Aid Post for three months and I got the same reaction. I’ve heard the same reaction in regards to the corrupt government. They aren’t even willing to pressure the postal worker to stay at the post office for the entire work day. This, to me, speaks to a disempowered and disenfranchised population.

Part of my work here is to empower people. By empower, I mean to ask for these things in an effective and respectful manner. Teaching people to campaign and petition their government is important. Learning how to address these issues is important to the future of this country. These are services that people are entitled to on every island, in every country. They are mostly services that they aren’t getting here, or are getting in name only.

On the flip side, there are things people are not entitled to but believe they are. There is no entitlement inherent in voting for a candidate. That candidate is not required to give you a new saucepan for your vote. In most countries, that would be illegal. No foreign government is required to give aid to any other government, the aid that is given is an attempt to better the world (or buy political capital). That does not mean that a village is entitled to a water tank or that any individual household is entitled to a water tank. The school is not entitled to new computers because they have a Peace Corps Volunteer. No one here is entitled to my money, so stop asking.

This seems to be related to the culture of handouts. When foreign aid agencies come in and give out free things, it creates the expectation that the next whiteman to come through will do the same. This turns into the ugly side of entitlement. The idea that “I deserve more because I have less than you.” A person can always view themselves as having “less than” some one else, which means they always “deserve” more. This is not healthy, it is not good for the community and it doesn’t assist people in empowering themselves to improve their own lives and the lives of their children. It doesn’t teach people how to plan for future change or work towards a long-term goal.

I would like to see foreign aid focus on grassroots projects meant to help empower people at the village level and through that empowerment to think on the larger scale. I would like to see foreign aid that assists people in organizing their communities towards a common goal. I would like to see aid agencies looking for local individuals to build up into leaders within their communities who can provide the pool from which to choose governmental leaders. I would like to see aid organizations working towards finding sustainable options to solve human rights issues which are based in the resources available to the community.

I guess this is why I’m in the Peace Corps.

8-1 Religion

As many of you know, I have tended to have some very strong views on (generally against) religion.  This makes being in a very strongly Catholic area of a very strongly Christian country interesting to say the least.  My views on religion and those who practice it are evolving.  In summation, my view of mysticism is continuing to grow more negative while my view of spirituality is becoming way more positive.  I am also separating those two aspects, even where they overlap.  Something like “love the sinner, hate the sin”.  I would phrase it as “embrace the believer, reject the belief.”
When it comes to mysticism, there is not only the Christianity here but also the Kastom belief.  The former not having driven out the latter much at all.  Both are, in fact, very strong here.  There are two major problems I have with the mysticism as its practiced here.
My first problem is magical thinking.  Gaea and many of the other health volunteers are working very hard on hygiene and sanitation.  Primary among the problems are diarrheal diseases.  These are not terribly difficult to reduce in impact by fixing water supplies, improving toilets, and increasing sanitary practices.  However, when sickness is blamed on “walking in the footsteps of devils,” “black magic sent by a jealous person,” or “God being angry at someone for changing denominations of Christianity,” these changes just do not seem as important to people.  Believing that there are devils out there to cause sickness means that steps aren’t taken to prevent the real causes.  Church leaders supporting the notion that peoples’ lives suck because they don’t go to church or pray enough exacerbates the problem.  Every time there is a negative outcome for someone, I can guarantee that I will hear at least once that the people involved don’t pray or go to church enough as a primary cause. We know that a specific set of symptoms is consistent with, for example, Hepatitis A or Typhoid.  We know that these are caused by germs and transmitted by oral-fecal contamination.  Whether this is guided by mystical forces or not is somewhat irrelevant.  Let’s prevent things that we know how to prevent and be open to the possibility that we can actually prevent them.
The second problem I see is that of dependence.  As I see it practiced, the Christianity here perpetuates a sense that they need outside help to accomplish anything.  Every meeting is begun with a prayer phrased as, “Papa God, please give us good thoughts in this meeting and give us good outcomes as a result of it.”  My problem is the word ‘give’ and its implications.  What I am focusing on here is a very small bit of semantics that I feel could make a HUGE difference.  Using ‘help’ instead changes the whole meaning by giving a sense of empowerment.  ‘Give’ means that the asker is incapable of acquiring the result themselves.  ‘Help’ or ‘guide’ means that the asker can get things accomplished themselves but can get more and better things accomplished with assistance.  The former keeps people in a subjugated role and feeling powerless to help themselves.  The latter empowers people and enables them to take an active role in lifting themselves up.  The former is very much the tone of the belief as I see it practiced here.  I don’t even think it is inherent in the teachings themselves.  I don’t know the bible well enough to quote it, nor do I have the internet available to research quotes.  Having read much of it and talked with Christian PCVs, I know that there is plenty in there that shows God helping those who help themselves.  At best, this is the church neglecting to help people empower themselves with the teachings they have.  At worst, its ignoring parts of the teachings (whether intentionally or not) and keeping people needing them.
Spirituality, however, is becoming more and more important and positive in my life.  I can even describe myself as a spiritual person these days (a phrase I used to have a knee-jerk rejection to.)  Part of this is that I don’t see “spirituality” as inherently mystical and think the phrase needs to be either replaced or reclaimed from those connotations (a separate rant for another place).
Part of this is my deepening study of Buddhism and my attempts to apply it to my own life.  Part of it is taking the experiences on my path and realizing how others are dealing with the same issues.  I’ve always attempted this and keep these ideas in mind however, the problem was that they stayed in my mind.  As with many things, gaining more time for introspection and living in a very different culture is (I hope) moving me past intellectual understanding and onto a more visceral level. 
What I learn over and over again is that everyone is doing their best to live a good life and create a good world.  There are many disagreements about how to do this and many ways to get to a good world.  Sometimes we start out with the best intentions and get deluded into bad actions but we all want the world to be better.
It is always much easier to rail against the “wrongs” of the world than to find a “right” everyone can agree on.  I find myself very drawn to a metaphor Ajan Chah used about the right path being a foggy road*.  We can, at best, outline a path down the middle and give warnings when one is veering too far to one side or the other.  The negatives are useful at times to prevent us from straying too far.  They also drive us apart too easily.  Better are positive statements of solutions which we can come together over.
I continue to point out wrongs as I see them.  At the same time, I am working very hard on developing my ability to come up with suggestions for a better way.  More building up than tearing down.  I am continuing to develop my sense of compassion.  Even with all of the faults we have, humans are amazing creatures.  Our capacities for love and joy are amazing when they shine through.  There is nothing more touching and inspiring than an open heart.  I can only hope that the openness I am finding here will help me to do the same.
*From Jack Kornfield’s A Path With Heart.  HIGHLY recommended, lots of thought provoking material.

2-20 Setting the Healthcare Bar or Am I a Rich American?

Part of my struggle with this experience of being medevaced has been the ridiculousness of it. The cut is superficial. The damage is to a very small part of my nervous system, and it isn’t even a really necessary part. The back of the thumb is not nearly as important as the front.

I do understand that the risk of serious damage from infection is there and that Pentecost is not the place to avoid infection. I understand that nerve damage is not to be scoffed at and it could get worse without treatment. I didn’t say it was useless, just that I feel dumb.

Part of that feeling of dumb comes from a sort of shame or guilt about receiving this level of care. What have I done to deserve this? The only reason I have this is because I was lucky enough to be born to middle-class American parents.

I know that no Ni-Van would get this kind of care. No one on Pentecost would be flown out to Vila on a chartered flight and then sent to Australia for surgery. These are the people I live with, this is my community, yet they would never expect the kind of treatment I’ve been receiving here. When one of the men in the next village over broke his leg on New Year’s Day, he was left at the Health Center until the next flight came and then sent to Vila where he is staying with friends until he can walk again. This is not the same caliber of care.

My struggle here is multi-faceted. Part of it is guilt about having access to high-quality care. Part of it is frustration that I have pulled myself out of my community and proved that I am not one of them when I have been trying so hard to be one of them. Part of it is shame that I did this, that I called, that I asked for help even if it was appropriate. Part of it is shame that it is so minor a thing that is having such an explosion of expense and activity. Part of it is shame that I am taking Peace Corps funds away from more useful things and spending them on something I shouldn’t have done in the first place.

Behind all of that mess, is a building rage, too. Yes, I am receiving top of the line care. But shouldn’t this be the standard across the world? Not the first world, not the lucky few who can pay for it, but rather shouldn’t this be an option for anyone any time this sort of thing happens? Isn’t this “appropriate care” that we talk about as being the lowest level of what everyone is entitled to?

I don’t think I should feel shame for having access. I think this level of access should be every baby’s birthright.