Shocking Differences

Participating in a youth problem has brought new fulfillment to my life. It offers a peek into the lives of others and sometimes that perspective brings surprises. There are many lifestyles, each with its own pros and cons. I don’t judge the kids I work with, however, since the comparison would be fruitless. I would feel sorry for less privileged youngsters and try to remedy their problems. Parents always object to this kind of interference. Mr. Do-gooder is not always welcome. Take of example that recently had me reeling. I visited the apartment of a boy for whom I volunteer on a weekend so I could take over some DIY projects. He enjoys working with his hands and never seems to have enough to preoccupy him apart from school.

I was a bit appalled at the condition of the space. It was small, crowded, dingy, and forlorn. I knew that the boy’s mother works, so this has to be the prime excuse. It seemed a poor environment for a family of several sons. I must have a talk with the mom. Each child could be assigned different tasks to maintain better home cleanliness. I didn’t want to look too deep. I couldn’t imagine what was rotting in the refrigerator. As a volunteer, in some sense the boy is my concern, but what action could I take to ameliorate this unsavory environment. I felt it would be a betrayal to report it to family services. I had to find an appropriate way to broach the subject.

While in the home, I was offered some iced tea and accepted. I was given a tall glass of some cold liquid that was cloudy and unappealing. The water must have some pollution. It could be from the tap. Contaminated water doesn’t really have to do with home cleanliness; it is your municipal water system. It looked terrible and had a bitter taste, but it must be potable by law. The pipes in the kitchen could be very old and contain lead. Now the situation seemed more serious. The family would need to buy bottle water for drinking and cooking for Home Water Health, if not for washing and bathing. How could I suggest such an expense? It also made me wonder what was in my tap water at home. I imaged all kinds of microscopic creepy-crawly things with furry-looking appendages. Then there might be chlorine and other chemicals. They call these pollutants particulates, which I discovered on Twitter. They are swimming around in my water. When I wash my hair, what happens? Do they burrow down to the roots?

I did a little research and contacted the water company. Their tests, done weekly, did not show anything unusual. They did recommend that a plumber inspect the pipes. Just as I thought! An old apartment is likely to need upgrading, but I knew this wasn’t going to happen. I would have to let things ride and select another area of concern to help the family.

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