Thursday, November 15, 2012

First World Problems

There's a brilliant video doing the rounds at the moment, and if you're lucky enough to have the electricity (or battery power) and technology to read this, you should watch it and pass it on.

I'm lucky to have a fairly constant reminder of how well I/we live because I support a school in Ghana, have been there and know exactly what they have and how they live. (And that's not even the poorest part of Africa.)

Don't worry - I'm not going to get all preachy on you, but I thought I'd just add a few of my "problems":

  • I missed the Fed Ex guy yesterday and because the package (a case of wine, no less) requires an adult signature and can't be left on the doorstep, I have to stay in until he comes back. A right pain; good job the heating in my house works really well and I have a TV and internet to keep me occupied.
  • I can't send anything to Ghana because it either mysteriously never makes it out of Tema port or is held ransom until my colleagues there pay more than the required amount of customs, and on occasion, are also required to pay for whoever happens to be sitting next to them in the waiting room. Sometimes this can take ten hours in the blinding heat.

  •  There are three pairs of boots left over from when the Man-Child was 9; unfortunately I stored them in a place where I was bound to forget about them and it appears they're all too small for the Little Guy. Now I have to trail around the shops before the cold weather and snow really hits, and I have to give those boots away.
  • We never really need boots because even in the Ghana winter, it never gets cold and doesn't snow. This is just as well really as some of us don't have anything to put on our feet.

  • We lost power last week for two hours on a school night, which meant that the Man-Child couldn't finish his homework and the Little Guy had to get up in the morning and have a shower. You can imagine how much running around this caused; he's slow enough in the mornings without having to squeeze a shower in on top. It was bedlam.

  • We don't have electricity or fresh running water. 
OK, so you get my drift. Sometimes it's good to stop and think about what we have versus what people on the other side of the world have. And more importantly, to stop whingeing!


  1. I don't agree that just because our basic needs are met in the first world that we have no right to moan.

    I'm not saying that we should forget how lucky we are, we shouldn't, but we have frustrations and stresses that are valid and impact on our lives and health.

    Take bullying at work and school. Our kids are lucky that they have a school to go to, but that doesn't mean that everything is fine and dandy. Same at work.

    So yes, I agree that we should take a step back every now and again, but sorry, that video is just irritating and patronising.

  2. I agree that we can't pretend there's nothing ever wrong in our own lives, but thinking about how others have it from time to time helps keep things in proportion.
    And yes, bullying is always a real problem, which is why it's not included in the video.

  3. I think the problem is that it's very hard to relate. I am going through a tough time at the moment with my health and have to keep reminding myself that there are people in the world that are far, far worse off, but it's very, very hard psychologically to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

  4. NVG - I wouldn't even put your pain in the same class as the FWP issues. It's a real problem and not to be dismissed. I'm sure you've seen however, the people who complain when their perfect lives aren't going quite the way they want. That's what needs to come to a complete and swift stop!

  5. the video reminds me of the whinging my kids do about 'but WHY can't I have an iPhone?' and then I have to trundle out the old stories from my childhood: "we were lucky to have a hot water bottle let alone heating, we had no cell phones and even when I phoned someone my mum would tell me to get off the phone because it was costing money etc etc." It is amazing how unspoilt we were back in ye olden days but I often think I have created spoilt monsters in my own kids even though I by and large don't by they cell phones and useless gadgets most of their pals have! Good for you for giving something back to society.

  6. So true. We spend a lot of time reminding ourselves that although we might whinge (alot) about our kitchen and the smallness of our house - we know Bosnians who would have whole families living in an apartment the size of our front room.

    We are so lucky and it serves us well to remember that occasionally.

  7. It's always good to be reminded that sometimes our problems are minuscule in comparison.

  8. UGH! Hit the publish button before I was finished.... #fwp

    Although some of our problems are pretty big (i.e., extended unemployment) for the most part we are extremely fortunate.

  9. I think you are spot on. The problems we have are still problems but stepping back for a moment and realising how fortunate we are is a good thing. Maybe there is something in human nature which makes this very hard for us. As soon as we have something, we begin to take it for granted...


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