What Tragedy Teaches Us

Some of you may not have heard of the terrible fire that killed thirteen children and six adults in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. I won't rewrite the details here, because they are too tragic and heartbreaking for me to get into, but if you didn't read about it, you can find more information in this blog post from an expat living in Qatar.

One of the things that struck me as I read about the tragedy is how easy it is to take for granted the differences between living in the United States and living in a foreign country. Obviously bad things happen here, too, but it's easy not to think about safety in this country. Fire escape plans are posted everywhere. Preschools are inspected on a regular basis. Every single item in Jack's lunch box has to be labeled with the date just in case I get lazy and try to slip him Tuesday's leftovers on Thursday. Seriously. Safety is just something we expect living in America. And for the next twenty-odd years, I'm going to have to be constantly aware of the fact that not everyone has the same standards.

We aren't planning on putting Jack in daycare in Russia, since we have the nanny lined up, but will he be in public places, like malls? Of course. Will the building we live in have a clear, accessible emergency evacuation plan to follow? I have no idea. Will there be anything I can do about it if not? I doubt it. But at least these things are on my radar now. To the families of everyone who perished on Monday, including four teachers, two rescue workers, and children from Spain, New Zealand (a set of two-year-old triplets; there are no words), France, and South Africa (the other countries haven't been confirmed yet) - my heart goes out to you.


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