I am forever changed by a place I never dreamed I would go, let alone live. A piece of my heart will always remain in Nigeria, and the images I saw there will forever be etched in my mind.
Each time I flip on my light switch, I remember how fortunate I am to have reliable power and not have to worry about how much fuel we have left in our generator because the power system is so unreliable.
Each time I can run clean water to drink, or for my children to bathe in, I remember how blessed I am to have a clean water supply. There were so many times my daughter’s school did not have water to flush the toilets because the water tank had run out and the water delivery trucks had broken down en route to deliver water from a bore hole.
Each time I make a call on my phone, I remember how lucky I am to have reliable phone service. There were so many times the cell phone towers were down or the internet wasn’t working.
I will always know how blessed my children are to be living in a country where an education is a right and not a privilege for an elite few.
Every time I look at my children run and play, I will remember how fortunate I am to live in a country where vaccines are readily accessible and not a luxury. I will always remember the men I would see sitting on skateboards with flip flops on their feet to navigate the bumpy dirty streets because they had a birth defect. I know how fortunate I am to have access to adequate medical care so my children do not die of preventable diseases.
Every time I sit down to eat with my family, I will remember to be so thankful that I have food to feed my family and my children do not have to beg in the streets for food. Each time I look at my bank account, I will remember how blessed we are to make what we do and remember that there are so many people in the world who are surviving on less than two dollars a day.
When I drive myself to the airport, I will always be thankful for a working police system. Every time we went to the airport in Lagos, we were escorted by a lead and chase vehicle with guards armed with machine guns for our safety. I realize that it is like that in so many other places in the world, not just in Nigeria.
These thoughts came through my mind at the time of the presidential election. There are so many people who are grumbling about the outcome. I know some people are very worried about what the future may hold for them. But, whether you agree with the outcome of the election or not, one thing we can and should all agree on is how fortunate, blessed, and lucky we are to live in a country which gives its citizens so many rights that many people from countries all over the world can only dream of ever having. We are fortunate in the U.S. to have a truly democratic system of electing our leaders.
I think many people do not truly understand how dire life is for so many people in the rest of the world. Many times, what I saw in the streets of Lagos brought tears to my eyes. I have seen the poorest of the poor begging naked in the streets, with their children beside them, asking anyone who will look at them for food or money.
I often wondered what good could possibly come from what I was seeing. I realized that one “good” which could come from what I saw would be me – never forgetting what I saw there. I knew I could be the eyes and the ears of friends and family back home who may never really see and experience what I saw firsthand.
One of the reasons I wrote my blog was so one day my children will be able to look back and see pictures and stories of where they lived. My hope for them is that they will also realize how fortunate they are to live in a truly democratic society.
I read a quote somewhere the other day and I cannot remember where it was or who wrote it, but it went something like this, “Those people who have so much will never be satisfied and will always want more, but those who have little remember to count their blessings every day.” Isn’t that so true? It really is not about what we don’t have but ,what we do have…and if we take stock and realize what we do have in the U.S., we can thank our lucky stars.
Have you had an experience that has made you look at some aspect of your life in a different way? Have you come to any realizations or made any changes as a result?
This is an original post by Meredith for World Mom’s Blog. You can check out Meredith’s life in Nigeria on her blog We Found Happiness.
Photo credit to the author.
Love this, Meredith! You really have put things in perspective this holiday season. I will reflect on this! What a beautiful experience you have had in Nigeria. Never forget!
I feel similar after just visiting Uganda. I’m motivated to do more!
Thanks, Jen.:) It is hard to always remember how blessed we are each day. The three years we spent in Nigeria will always be with me:) Sometimes it was heart breaking and sometimes it was exhilarating. But, every day was definitely interesting and I will never forget living there!:)
You really brought home the things we take for granted – basic safety, food and water. You are absolutely right about how fortuante so many of us are.
Such a powerful post! I appreiate your perspective, and Ii am always thinking on how to keep my kids aware of the larger word when we live in a pretty rural, homogenous, well off area. And I so echo your point regarding the election!
Oops….sorry about the typos 🙂
Very powerful. I remember the poor in the Caribbean when I lived there – such a disparity that you never see here…
Great post… You reminded me of how I felt the first time I returned to the states when living in Ghana.
what a wonderful experience you had. I think all of use should experience life without all the goods of modern world, and which we have not learned to appreciate.