Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happiness and Living in Developing Countries

I'm an huge fan of traveling! I was first inspired by one of my seventh grade teachers that traveled around the world and would show his students pictures. Ever since then I have been fascinated with understanding other cultures from its perspective. I'm a linguist at heart, but Spanish led me to a career in Nursing and now public health.
During my first mission trip to Piura, Peru (1999), my whole world that I knew, was turned upside down. The poverty was vast and numbing. When I came home, I cried looking at my car that I had, and thought this car could feed at least two villages. I decided to help my Peruvian friends and have continued to see them almost every year since.
The compassion and giving of a people without anything....literally was unknown to me as an American, where I feel like many people are out for themselves. As I'm aging I see that this statement becomes even more true and not so transparent anymore. I had men and women giving me gifts before I left from Piura in 1999. To my amazement when I got on the plane I opened a hand made box with a ring in it, an older gentleman gave it to me. He said 'Thank you'. For me this was a difficult gift to receive since it was very expensive and I knew or thought I didn't deserve such a gift for just being there and giving a helping hand.
The question that always has lingered with me is; who is more blessed, the Peruvians who have nothing but eachother and faith or North Americans who have every opportunity to have a job, but have a higher incidence of loneliness and depression. That's why I'm creating this blog to see what others think? Many of my South American friends are content and happy more so than my North American friends. Could it be due to cultural stresses? Thanks for reading and I look forward to your thoughts!

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