The first lesson I learned in 5 years in Africa is that I am wealthy & arrogant. The average African makes $600 a YEAR! Most Americans make that in a week. Some make it in a day. I know people who make that in an HOUR! Regardless, Tricia and I usually have more than $600 in our checking account. This means we sit on an ANNUAL salary like it’s couch change. Regardless of how “poor” we feel in our western culture (and believe me, we do), we are wealthy when we look at the world. It changes something in how you think and talk and what you value.
I’ve also learned that I am arrogant…or at least walk in subtle (but harmful) superiority. And I would like to think (in such humility) that I am less arrogant than the average American showing up in Africa. But I (we) know everything about everything. If we did not learn it in our 20+ years of formal education, we can google it on our smartphone. Expert on every topic. EXCEPT the ones that matter most: God and Family. I have learned so much from Africans when it comes to desperation for the things of God and commitment and dedication to their family. They know about these things. I know about airplanes or Apple or Starbucks….ya know, the things that matter and last.
If I am honest, I must admit that I am wealthy and arrogant and not proud of it.