Thoughts on suffering and other stuff.
I hear and read that over here, in the UK, as in many parts of the “developed world”, people are suffering due to the rise in the price of crude oil.
Suffering? Who are they kidding?
Do we really know what the word suffering means?
To my mind, suffering is having an acute pain, physical or mental, distress.
Finding that a litre of fuel has risen another penny is annoying, inconvenient.
Watching a loved one die of a disease or starvation, that is suffering.
A vast majority of the UK population has no idea what it is like to live in Africa, Asia or South America, and I count myself amongst them.
I have witnessed poverty in South Africa and more recently in Kenya. For most, it is a way of life, with no hope of escape.
Most people in the UK own or have the use of a car. Most people in the UK live in a weatherproof, warm house with electricity and clean hot and cold water on tap, literally.
Most Kenyans and South Africans I know don’t have either electricity or water. They don’t have cars. They are fit because they walk!
I have lived in these conditions in Kenya, and surprisingly, I think I adapted quite well. I enjoyed my stay, but then, I was with people I like, people I would be happy to have as family.
This got me thinking that in the materialist world I live in, we (or at least, I) have lost touch with what is important. Cars, fully equipped houses, tap water, electricity, these are not important.
People are important. The people we live with are important. The people who surround us are important.
This does not mean that I will give up my car, electricity and clean drinking water. Not in the UK, ayway. It does not mean that, in Kenya, I do not aspire to owning a car, or living in a house with all the conveniences I am used to. But I think I would rather live in Kenya without all the trappings than in the UK with them.