Friday, August 20, 2010

The Rich List

I was told that I've been given the gift of frustration.  It's a gift because many people don't see it the way I do.  After spending this past year in Africa, I know I've changed. My eyes have been opened to how drastically different third world living truly is.  I'm saddened by the needs of those who don't have enough here in Africa (and elsewhere) and I'm saddened that back home in the US I didn't have a clue.  It becomes so much more real when it's not just a commercial for Save the Children - but when you work and surround yourself with these folks daily.  That gap between the rich and the poor is what frustrates me.  Not only the economical gap, but the gap in knowledge.  So many of the rich just don't know the poor. 

Don't get me wrong - as far as spending goes I'm right there with those back at home.  I've accumulated so much in my short lifetime in the way of material wealth that I don't need.  Packing up my house when I left the states last spring, I donated boxes upon boxes upon boxes to the goodwill.  And that was before I put the rest of my "stuff" into storage and left my house fully furnished.  Here on the ship patients come to us and they don't even have shoes to cover their feet, let alone a solid roof over their head at home.  Or I think of the pastor of a church that I so often attended.  In one of his last talks before the ship left, he spoke of having to relieve himself in front of his fellow church members by the sea, as there were no toilets in the community and this was the designated "relieving spot."  He talked of trying to be intimate with his wife while his five kids slept in their one room shack that he shared with his family.  He spoke of how difficult this life has been for him.  He is just one in the many sea of faces that will be hard to forget.  If I had to summarize this past year in a word, it would be humility.  Each and every experience has served to make me humbled beyond imagine. 

So as I finish this year-long adventure next week, I hope I don't forget it all.  I want to file each memory away into the depths of my experience where I will never forget. I want to remember each person I've encountered and in that reflection, I want to be inspired to fight for the injustice of the poor.  I don't want to return to America and get absorbed into the wealth and the need to have the latest and greatest things.  I don't want to become indifferent toward those that live across the ocean in my memories.  I'll be honest.  I'm scared that is what's going to happen as I go back and relish in my modern comforts of stateside life. So please, reader, hold me accountable to remembering.   

I came across this website recently and wanted to share it for my Friday's favorite:

Check it out.  See where you fall on the rich list.  Then think about what you can do to inspire change for the better.  You definitely don't have to go to Africa for a year.  Although with all that I've been taught, I'm so glad I did.

"We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ " ~Acts 20:35


  1. Right there with ya, friend. Awesome post. Hold me accountable too. Love and miss you SO much! (Can't wait to see you in LESS THAN A MONTH!)

  2. I agree... great post and so well written! It's encouraging to me... everyday I can make a choice of how I choose to live. Thanks Kelly for sharing your heart and what you've learned with others... it makes a difference. Love ya!

  3. the global rich list is extremely eye opening! thanks for sharing. i love reading your posts