This week the latest results on the Millenium Development Goals of the United Nations came out. Only 3% of all households in Madagascar describes itself as ' happy '. The other 97% find their living conditions (very) difficult. Now I wonder: can one be happy in an unhappy country?
I'm happy here. I belong to the 0.2% who are very well off. We kind of live like Hollywood stars, with our spacious home and staff, including a private driver. But as soon as we step outside our yard, we are in the middle of the misery; smelly rubbish dumps, open sewerage, slums, and rows of beggars banging on your car window. What to do? We do what we can. Both my husband and I are working to stimulate the development of Madagascar. In my spare time I help street children, disabled elderly, teens in prison and orphans.
But the rows of blind, legless, armless or otherwise deformed beggars appear to be longer each day. Every day here is a reality check; an opportunity to compare your own expectations and situation to others. And so: I can't complain. I mean that literally. Sometimes I would like to complain (the holes in the road, internet that keep breaking down, I discovered another wrinkle, PMS, ...) but I don't allow myself.
I feel almost obligated to be happy here. Because we have so much, and they so little ...