From Luxury To Need

Across from the entrance of the old MGM, now Sony Studios, in Culver City, CA there’s a gourmet tea and coffee shop. The Assam tea sells for several dollars an ounce and the coffee, which is not any cheaper, is roasted on the premises and sold no later than 10 days later. Most of it is sold much sooner. On the day I was there a batch was almost gone and had been roasted only four hours prior. The aroma was of course beguiling and in many ways symbolic of the luxury inherent in high quality teas and coffees.
When I came home I did my usual reading of this and that paper and periodicals. A newsletter written by the World Bank caught my attention. Amnesty International issued an emergency alert for Sierra Leone where one in eight women risks dying during pregnancy or childbirth. It is a country where there are 78 doctors for 5.8 million people.
How unreal luxuries must seem when basic necessities aren’t within reach. We live with the world’s inequalities, often forgetting or taking them for granted. Still they exist and it remains our task to lessen them.