Thursday, July 17, 2014

No Money- No Problem

“One does not need money in order to be happy.” This is a term that is nonchalantly thrown around
but I haven’t completely embraced, nor understood it until this trip.

Three students were able to do a home visit yesterday, but this was no ordinary home visit. This was for Mr. Kimaro, a computer teacher at LOAMO, who is endlessly living in survival mode.

At school Mr. Kimaro always has a huge smile on his face, makes the children laugh, and is very educated as well. He always looks very nice with a sports jacket and button down shirt every day. So, by judging on the outside, one would think that he is able to go home to a nice house and warm dinner every night.

The visiting group described Mr. Kimaro’s neighborhood as being an area with about ten tin “pods.” At first they thought that all of the ten pods belonged to Mr. Kimaro because each pod is smaller than the average American bedroom. They soon realized that Mr. Kimaro rents two of the pods. One was like a living room with a small stove that is usually not in use because the family cannot afford propane, and the other pod has one small bed to sleep in. Mr. Kimaro has a family of five: a four-month-old baby girl, a 3-year-old girl, and a 7-year-old boy. The mother and children sleep in the bed together while Mr. Kimaro sleeps on a foam mat on the floor.

When Mr. Kimaro is unable to teach because of a school break, he works day-to-day jobs. He will sometimes Sherpa up Mt. Kilimanjaro to carry 70 pounds of things for rich tourists, and he will maybe get paid 5,000 shillings, which is equivalent to three dollars in American money.

This got me thinking: why do I deserve a warm house, a huge bed to myself, and a guaranteed meal three times a day? What have I done in order to earn this wonderful, fortunate life? Why doesn’t Mr. Kimaro deserve the life I was given? It makes me feel guilty about every time I have complained about being too full because I had eaten too much, or the Internet being too slow, or cursing the TV because it isn’t working.

Mr. Kimaro’s story has truly astounded me and has really touched me. Coming from the United States, where most people put themselves before others, it was wonderful to hear how selfless Mr. Kimaro is. All of his hard work is for his family; he would put them before himself any day.

Even though Mr. Kimaro has a much tougher life that most people, he is very grateful for the things that he does have, like a family to love and a place to sleep, even if it is on a thin foam mat. I hope this way of life can someday take over the US, and I will do my best to be more appreciative of the luxuries I have. 

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